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Chickadee caught up with Jay Odjick, a super talented illustrator, writer, television producer and comic creator. We asked him a few questions about illustrating Robert Munsch’s latest children’s book, Bear For Breakfast.
Congrats on Bear for Breakfast! What does having this book published in both English and Algonquin mean to you?
For me it is a dream come true. As a kid, I couldn’t have imagined seeing a book like that. I’m proud that Bear for Breakfast is an entryway for people both on-and off-reserves to learn the language. At the end of the day, this book is about a kid having an adventure, and it doesn’t matter where you’re from or what race you are, you can read the book and have a good time.
What is it like to collaborate with Robert Munsch? Why does your collaboration work so well?
What I appreciated most is that Robert really trusted me to tell the visual part of the story. I think that comes from him being very comfortable and confident in his abilities as a storyteller. He understands that the best way is to be collaborative, and that to me is invaluable.
What kind of technology do you use to draw?
I did Bear for Breakfast 100 percent on the iPad Pro and did the colouring on an iMac computer. I also use an app called Tayasui Sketches School, an app called Procreate and one called Clip Studio Paint for Manga. I think the coolest thing is to be able to show kids and say, “Look, you can draw on the exact programs that I do, use the exact same hardware, and use the same apps.” It’s really cool.
What do you love about illustrating for kids?
I think it’s getting back to the things I loved as a kid and trying to think in that mindset. It’s fun to think, “What can I do here that would really capture my imagination?” If I can say I spend half of my day trying to think like a kid—that’s a good job to have at the end of the day.
What did you love to draw as a kid?
Superheroes. When I was a little kid, I learned how to read through comic books. The over-the-top and in-your-face bright colours were comic book hallmarks I really dug as a kid, and I try and bring in that same level of dynamic action into my illustrations.
Do you have any art advice for kids?
Try to find balance between working on what you need to improve while still having fun. Be your toughest critic but also recognize and celebrate your improvements. There are many ways to do things and try to find what works for you—be bold and embrace technology. Try what I use, the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, which is great gear and environmentally friendly! Practice, practice, practice, and remember, the only thing you can control is how hard you work!
Have you ever eaten bear for breakfast?
I’ve had bear, but not for breakfast. Growing up on the reserve, we ate a lot of wild game, but bear meat is a little less common. But at one point as a kid, I did have bear… but it was for lunch!
Thanks, Jay. It was great chatting with you!
Readers, what is your favourite breakfast food? Comment below!
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Just because it’s Monday and just because it’s cold outside, we thought we’d share this adorable puppy video.
Pomeranian pups are pretty darn cute, but this happy little guy is just the cutest.
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To celebrate all of the amazing women and girls in science, we’re posting a throwback video! Check it out below to learn how to transform a robot into a rocket.
This special day promotes gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in science fields.
If you love science as much as we do, don’t forget to send us photos of Chickadee magazine experiments!
You can send them to email@example.com.
Have a great day!
At the Owlkids office, we love anything Fred Penner, including his new song, “Somebody Believes.”
This uplifting tune has been released during International Development week (Feb. 3-9) to celebrate how Canadian aid is making a difference around the world.
The legendary children’s entertainer and World Vision Ambassador was inspired to write “Somebody Believes” after meeting Edgar, a former sponsored child, and hearing his story of resilience.
With its sweet harmonies and moving lyrics, we think you’re going to love this new song, too!