Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Clayton Hanmer (aka CTON)

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Clayton

April 28, 2009 -

OBT:

What was your first publication and where was it published?

CH:

Chubby Bitch #1: A Sketchbook Adventure. A collection of comic-y sketches from my sketchbook created while at Pen Club, a bi-monthly meeting of artists, illustrators, animators and all-around sketchers.

Self published using Blurb.com (online digital printer).

OBT:

It seems like you have dozens of projects on the go. Are we right? Tell us about your 2009 thus far and what are you working on right now?

CH:

Well, it’s been a busy one. Presently gearing up to start on my second children's comic/activity book with Owlkids Books. The first was CTON's A-Maze-ing Year of Crazy Comics which launched fall of last year in Canada, and this spring in the U.S. of A. There is talk at the moment of creating a television series based on that book and its characters, CTON & Blob. Illustration work has been steady despite the “recession” ... I do a lot of kids related illustration and comic work, and have been/am working on multiple month-to-month projects with clients such as National Geographic Kids, Owl Magazine and Nickelodeon. I'm also working on a painting for the Joe Shuster Awards’ ‘Wolverine Show,’ and just completed a 3D Poster for Keep Six Gallery's show, ‘The Deep Inside: An Exhibition of 3D Art’ (Bloor Cinema May 11-31). Besides that, there has been a number of non-comic related projects that have come in and out the door ranging from illustrations for The Globe and Mail, to architectural drawings for large-scale commercial developments. On top of all of this, I'm presently expanding my studio into the adjacent sunroom for the summer season which should allow me to work on some larger personal painted projects! Yippee!

OBT:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?

CH:

1. Souvenir of Canada by Douglas Coupland.
2. Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography by Chester Brown.
3. David Collier's Hamilton Sketchbook by David Collier.

OBT:

Describe your ideal illustrating/writing environment.

CH:

A studio in an old hunting cabin/cottage on a secluded lake somewhere north of Toronto about 2-3 hours ... or an old stone mill in Eastern Ontario.

OBT:

William Faulkner was once asked what book he wished he had written; he chose Moby Dick (with Winnie the Pooh as a close second). Is there a book that you wish you had illustrated/written?

CH:

Cars and Trucks and Things That Go by Richard Scarry.

OBT:

Is there a book that you think you should have read by now but haven’t?

CH:

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, amongst most other famous contemporary novels.

As for comics, I really should have picked up these two books by now: Dash Shaw's Bodyworld and Kramer’s Ergot #7 by Buenaventura Press.

OBT:

What are you reading right now?

CH:

The latest issue of This Old House.... seriously. (I'm currently reno-ing my 90 year old house.)

OBT:

What is it you like most about making comics for kids?

CH:

The unlimited potential for creativity, and the idea that I am shaping kids’ minds (scary!). That and I love to make silly, goofy things... which kids tend to be the biggest & best audience for!

OBT:

What excites you right now about the comic/graphic novel scene?

CH:

Toronto is starting to produce more weird & wonderful comic creators these days ... it’s like a renaissance. It is humbling to see so many AMAZING new artists popping up every day! I think this huge rise of visual thinkers is what is helping the comic/graphic novel scene emerge from underground to mainstream. It’s great for anyone working in the industry because it will bring more and more publishers into the game, therefore allowing more and more writers/creators to publish their work. Lately I've been seeing a TON of awesome free comics around the city as well ... it is a great time for comics and I hope it only gets better. Someday it would be nice to have the respect of regular folk here in Canada as comic creators do in France and Japan. At the moment, telling one you are a comic creator still gets some weird looks...

OBT:

Do you have any advice for illustrators/writers who are trying to get published?

CH:

Work hard and keep trying until you find a publisher who likes your work. Make sure to NEVER get discouraged and always believe in your stuff. If it is good, and especially if it is different, it will get published eventually. Pretty common-sense advice, I suppose!

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