Sunday, December 13, 2015


Very chuffed to be doing a book with Groundwood. 

It's got monsters.

It's out in April.

To help celebrate, we've made up a series of Monster trading cards.

The viewer is clearly still in Beta testing.

Monday, November 30, 2015


Simon and Schuster is running a giveaway on Goodreads.
Two copies of MINRs for Canada.
Two for readers in the US.


A space-themed holiday card, hand drawn and signed (by me)!
One per winner.
Here they are.

Want a chance to win?


Saturday, November 7, 2015

SOTS 2015 print

It's that time of the year again... CBC Radio Toronto is greeting up for SOUNDS OF THE SEASON!

The annual CBC open house with great guests, amazing music, silent auctions -  all to raise money for Ontario food banks.

One of my favourite days of the year.

Each SOTS I make a limited edition lino-print - given as a thank you to people who donate $100+ (and then email me to tell me they've done this). All the details are on the website.

I was inspired both by the leaves that are still amazing and visible outside my studio window - as well as a recent rush of Canadian pride and hopefulness....

The print is about 5x6 inches and each one is hand-printed and signed by me.

I'll also be doing a live drawing (all day long) that reflects the day of programming. I sit in the foyer outside Glenn Gould Studio and doodle.

Here's last year's....

Drop by and say hello!

Friday December 4 - starting at 5:30 am~

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Cat doodle

When I visit schools I always draw cats as part of my cartooning class.
Then I tell the students to check out my blog to see an example - but I haven't put up a new one in a while.

So here's a cat I doodled on the bag that our dinner arrived in (delicious Indian food from a restaurant named Banjara)!

I kind of like the cat's detached attitude and throw-back preppie outfit.

Just a doodle, but a good example of the importance of doodling all the time. Practice, practice, practice.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Hallowe'en Treat!

One of my fans - Duncan - sent me these pics of his costume this year... Neil Flambé!

He even did the Neil proboscis! And he made the wig himself!
(he did have some sketches I made for him to go by.)

What's even more wonderful is that Duncan used his night to get food for the Hallowe'en for Hunger campaign. Wow.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Neil #6 preview

As I await the edits on MINRs2 I'm also wrapping up the artwork for Neil Flambé #6 - Neil Flambé and the Duel in the Desert.

(Available for pre-order now!)

Here's a sketch from the book - Neil has to cross the border with his goofball cousin Larry.

Larry, of course, almost gets them detained and Neil has to hurriedly hand over the passports.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

What's this?

I do dozens of schools visits each year and I always give a drawing lesson at the end of my presentation.

I ask the kids if they can draw a circle, even a bad one. Then I show them how they can turn it into almost anything - a planet, a pig, a cat, a bunny.

So... what do you think this is? Send me you best pic (tweet me at @kevinarts #circledoodle) and I might even give away some stuff.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

For Reese

I just had a great chat about MINRs with Reese from WXGM in Norfolk, VA.

Promised I'd post the pic of me and Gordon Ramsay!

Yes, the dorkiest picture of me ever.
I look like Gordon is going to eat me!
Or maybe I'm his ventriloquist dummy.
Or possibly Frodo meeting Gandalf.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


I had a great time visiting the South with Kevin Sands and Lisa McMann on our #advenTOUR for MINRS, Blackthorn Key and Unwanteds.

Lisa is on her way to Toronto! And look who else is joining our little reunion! Ken Oppel and Evan Munday!

The only sad part is that the amazing Margaret Peterson Haddix will be unable to join us. Maybe we can Skype her in?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


MINRS is released today!

A while back the amazing people at Simon and Schuster sent me this bottle of champagne.

I've been saving it for a special occasion, and today is definitely the day. (My family also got me this amazing Peanuts and Space t-shirt! In a special twist, it's also my dad's birthday.)

Thanks to everyone who's enjoyed the book in PRE-release (I'm looking at you US SouthEast).

I'll be on the road in Canada for the next few weeks, so please say hello if you are in Calgary October 13-15, Vancouver on the 16th and then Kelowna.

I'm proud of this book and I hope you like it too.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

One week to go!

MINRs will be released a week from today!

I'm already on my US tour along with Kevin SandsLisa McMann and Margaret Peterson Haddix!

MINRs is out on the 22nd. (go to for more info)

To celebrate, one final preview of the Great Mission.

Families are welcome (but are they safe?)

Friday, September 11, 2015


My book tour for MINRs (details below) is just days away.

Heading to places such as Miami, Nashville, Memphis - along with Kevin Sands, Lisa McMann and Margaret Peterson Haddix!

MINRs is out on the 22nd. (go to for more info)

I'm doing one more "travel poster" for the Great Mission and will try to post it next week... from the road. (Fingers crossed as I criss-cross the US southeast)

But here's one more character sketch - Alek. A kid who takes a long time to recover from the horrors he witnesses during the attacks.

BTW - tour dates are...

Monday, September 14
Nashville – Parnassus Books

Tuesday, September 15
Memphis – The Booksellers at Laurelwood

Wednesday, September 16
Atlanta – Little Shop of Stories

Thursday, September 17
Miami – Books & Books
Friday, September 18
Jackson – Lemuria Books

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Getting ready to head out on a book tour for MINRs.

Heading to places such as Miami, Nashville, Memphis - along with Kevins Sands, Lisa McMann and Margaret Haddix!

The book is out on the 22nd. (go to for more info)

I handed in the second book manuscript yesterday.

And to celebrate all that, here's one more sketch - Therese, one of the grinders from book one.

BTW - tour dates are...

Monday, September 14
Nashville – Parnassus Books

Tuesday, September 15
Memphis – The Booksellers at Laurelwood

Wednesday, September 16
Atlanta – Little Shop of Stories

Thursday, September 17
Miami – Books & Books
Friday, September 18
Jackson – Lemuria Books

Friday, September 4, 2015


The launch date for MINRs is closing in fast! September 22nd!

I'm posting some bonus stuff here, sketches I've done, and a series of posters for the Great Mission to Perses (the planetoid in the book).

Here is a sketch of Maria, one of the miner children who survive the attacks.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Be a hero!

The launch date for MINRs is closing in fast!

I'll be posting some bonus stuff here, sketches I've done, and a series of posters for the Great Mission to Perses (the planetoid in the book).

Here's a recruitment poster that Melming Mining used to get miners interested in moving to space.

Monday, August 24, 2015


Thanks to everyone who entered the MINRs ARC giveaway on GoodsReads.

(check out the great website for the book - HERE)

I'll be mailing out the prizes to the winners this week.

And, as a special bonus to my Canadian readers - I'll be posting something similar here on the blog in the next few days.


Friday, August 21, 2015


Some MINRs news to pass along.

First of all, Simon and Schuster has designed a kick-butt page for the book.

Check it out HERE!!

There are even some space "tourism" posters for Perses - such as this one. (I made this poster, btw, and will have a few more ready to go between now and official book launch in September).

And, if you are reading this on Friday, THERE IS ONLY ONE DAY LEFT TO ENTER MY GOODREADS GIVEAWAY FOR 3 SIGNED ARCS OF MINRs (+ some original art)


Friday, August 14, 2015

My MINRs author pic

Me in a retro space suit!

We're getting ready to launch a new MINRs website... and I wanted to do an author pic that looked like one of those old sic-fi comics.

If you live in the US - don't forget to enter to win a signed ARC and some original concept sketches for the book.

Goodreads is hosting the contest. Draw is August 22nd.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Art Giveaway #3!

Here's the final piece of artwork for the GoodReads giveaway of my ARC of MINRS.

THREE COPIES (US only) will be given away on August 22nd.

I'm also giving away some of my original concept artwork for the books.

You can enter here... ENTER

Feel free to share the link.

This was the first idea I had for the cover of the books.

I'll tuck that into one of the books. Signed. You can scroll down my blog to see the other two sketches that I'm giving away.

BTW - MINRs will be released on September 22nd from Simon and Schuster (Canada and US)

I'll be touring the US and Canada a lot this September and October, so stay tuned for details on that.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Art reveal #2

There are just a few weeks left to enter my MINRs book giveaway on GoodReads.

The draw is US only and will take place August 22nd.  (ENTER HERE).

What am I giving away? Three signed ARCS (Advance Reader's Copies) AND some original artwork. These are sketches that I prepared to help me set the scene while I was writing the book.

To make it more fun I'm also going to add some of my original artwork to the giveaway. These are sketches that I made to help me when I was writing the book.

Artwork #2 - Digger.

MINRs is a sci-fi adventure story, set on an extraterrestrial mining colony. Diggers are the super-drills that allow the mining company to quickly explore underground for minerals. They also come in handy when the kids are on the run from space pirates.

REMINDER! The draw is August 22.

(The book birthday is September 22 from Simon and Schuster.)

Friday, July 31, 2015

Artwork giveaway

My book MINRs is coming out September 22 from Simon and Schuster

To celebrate, I'm running a giveaway on GoodReads (ENTER HERE).

There are three signed ARCS (Advance Reader's Copies) up for grabs -  for US readers only. The draw is August 22.

To make it more fun I'm also going to add some of my original artwork. These are sketches that I made to help me when I was writing the book.

Artwork #1 - Finn (one of the kids) underground after the attack.

This image sat on my desk as I wrote some of the sad scenes. It's a watercolour with pen - postcard sized - and could be yours!

I'll reveal the other sketches in the next two weeks. The draw is August 22.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

I'm giving away some ARCS! (US only)

The widget seems to keep dissappearing, but you can find the link to the giveaway here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Two months until Perses arrives!

My new book MiNRs is released two months from today!

To get you ready I'm going to be posting some behind the scenes bits every week until the book birthday- usually sketches I've made to help my writing process.

The kids have to survive in a maze of mining tunnels, but they also learn how to make their own, using a handy machine called a digger.

It had a drill bit at the front along with a "disrupter" - a bit that looks like a pineapple but that can cut through rock like a knife through butter.

I want one.

You can't buy a digger... yet. But you can pre-order the book.

Details here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

MiNRs and images

My book MiNRs is out in September, and I'm already well underway on writing the sequel.

Before there was even a first draft there were images in my mind that I had to put on paper first. 

These helped me shape the mood and feel of the story. 

(My amazing editor Ruta Rimas was even more important of course!)

This was one of the first images I finished. I even included it in the original pitch proposal to Simon and Schuster. It's not any character in particular, but shows some of the bleakness and remoteness of life on another planet, one that's been attacked. I had it pinned to my studio wall for inspiration.

I'm often asked if I draw the pictures or write the words first when I'm doing a book. They happen at the same time and each feeds into the other. I'll always have paper and pens next to my keyboard to do a quick sketch of a character or scene.

Having said that, MiNRs isn't an illustrated novel (the way my Neil Flambé books are) but there are hundreds of sketches of the world of Perses in my drawing books and on my computer. I'll be posting some of them here from time to time once the book has it's official birthday. Which is....?

September 22, 2015

Mark your calendars.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Cats and Space (two loves)

I'm well into writing the sequel to my upcoming sci-fi book MiNRS (release date is September 22nd, from Simon and Schuster) I thought I'd post something silly, but spacey too.

I always tell kids during my school visits to "check out my blog for cat cartoons".

Voila, an oldie but a goodie...

Now.. back to work.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Off the Eaten Path - Montreal!

I recently visited Montreal for the Montréal en Lumière Festival, and was treated to some AMAZING hidden gem meals.

In case you missed the Wheels section of the Toronto Star this weekend, here is my Off the Eaten Path column about that trip.

The restaurants:

(didn't make the column but had great food - Restaurant Vertige)

And the store Fou D'ICI! 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Art Works

Any artist can tell you that there's always hard work, pain, and lots of stress, behind every success.

That's the subject of the new book, Art Works.  It's part of the Well Aware series from  Pearson publishing - designed to get kids in schools to talk about mental health.

Laura Carlin and I got to interview some amazing artists (with links to their websites).

Measha Brueggergosman 
Guillaume Côté
Nina Matsumoto
Marty Chan
and the folks from Famous PEOPLE Players


Monday, March 30, 2015

VAN GOGH Grafitti Artist?

What if Vincent Van Gogh had used spray paint instead of oils? Here's my take (on Vincent's birthday).

And that's Paul Gauguin in the window ruining Van Gogh's confidence.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Book launch!

The Toronto Public Library and Small Print Toronto (two of my favourite organizations) are hosting a Neil Flambé #5 book launch tomorrow (Saturday, March 28) in Toronto!

The "mystery" part is sold out, but the book launch at 3 is open to everyone... and I'll be giving some stuff away. If you are in town and near College and Spading, drop in and say hello!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Friday, February 6, 2015

Arizona Eatin'

In case you missed the piece I had in the Toronto Star Travel section yesterday, here it is in glorious colour!

(My 6th Neil Flambé book will be set in Arizona, so look for some of these places to appear in the Duel in the Desert in January, 2016.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Neil Flambé #5 IS LIVE!

Today is the release day for the 5th Neil Flambé caper, Neil Flambé and the Bard's Banquet.

Every book you read has an acknowledgments section, usually thanking agents, family, friends, etc. I wanted to do something a little different this time, so I made my acknowledgments a kind of mini-essay on how a book is actually put together. It's a bit long, but here it is (or you can read it at the back of the book!)


All right savvy readers. I know that no one ever reads these Acknowledgements  (except for relatives who want to make sure they are included. Hi Mom!) but this particular back page thank-you list is going to contain some worthwhile advice. I promise.

A lot of people think writers work alone, that a book is the end-product of one person’s effort and creativity, a story born from the crucible of the tortured artist’s brain, sweat and pain.

This is total baloney.

A book is a team effort and these acknowledgments are going to serve as a roadmap (of sorts) for how a book goes from an idea in my brain to the book you are holding in your hands.

So yes, it starts with me having some idea of where Neil and his gang of friends are headed to and what enemies they will face. But then I start to do research so that I know what the world will look like. In this case, the world is London.

So I buy guidebooks. I visit London (if I can) and take pics, write notes, etc. I rely on the amazing research done by Shakespeare scholars, mapmakers, dictionary writers and (yes) Wikipedia.

BIT OF ADVICE #1 – Do research! Even a fiction book needs to be real.

Only then do I start writing a first draft. I should take a moment here to thank everyone who makes fair trade coffee available at my neighborhood supermarket as well as the musicians who’s music inspires me while I’m sitting in my attic. For this book there was a lot of Gogol Bordello, Justin Rutledge and choral music from the Tallis Scholars.

I finally get through the first draft, which then gets reviewed and ripped to shreds by my first team of editors – my wife Laura and my incredibly smart daughters Erin and Emily.  This might be BIT OF ADVICE #2 – always get someone to read your work who will rip it to shreds. The most useless advice you will ever get is “I liked it.” Ugh.

Then I do spend a lot of time BACK in my attic working and reworking the plot and characters until I think they are ready to submit to my amazing editor Julia Maguire.

BIT OF ADVICE #3 – Your first few drafts stink. They do. Everyone’s do. Writing is about carefully rewriting over and over.

Julia then goes through and points out the big stuff – the plot points that don’t actually make any sense. Round one of the editing process doesn’t even touch the (many) smaller mistakes in speliling, grammmer and uther stuf.

I go back and rewrite the book again and sometimes againandagain until we get the large issues worked out, and make sure the book works with the rest of the series, and then we do a final edit.

BIT OF ADVICE #4 – See #3, rinse, repeat. But also don’t lose heart. And don’t get angry (hard to do). Each person at each stage makes the book better.

Then the book gets sent to a copyeditor who goes over everything we’ve gone over with a proverbial fine-toothed comb. They always find dozens of mistakes. Some in spelling, some bigger. For this book, Kaitlin Sevrini did one of the best edits ever, and I am thankful.

Many institutions are cutting copy-editors from their budgets. That’s because they are idiots.

Of course, I also do the images for my books. So the biggest shoutout goes to Laurent Linn, who is simply fantastic at taking a rough idea from me, and pushing me to rework and rework it until it’s worth putting on the cover or inside the book.

Then there are the people who lay out the book, make the paper, the glue, the ink, bind the book, package the book, transports the book and on and on.

(There are so many more, my agent Michael Levine who talks to the big guns and Simon and Schuster, people such as Jon Anderson and Justin Chanda, to arrange contracts, marketing and so much more.)

Then there are the librarians and booksellers who get my book in the hands of readers who will get a kick out of the goofy adventures of a cocky chef who solves crimes and occasionally does his homework.

So, yes, in the end it’s all about you, the reader.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015


I love winter, but am feeling a desire to watch some baseball. In honour of that "catchers and pitchers report in a few weeks!" mania, I'm posting this picture of the great Jackie Mitchell for your edification. As the story goes, she struck out Ruth and Gehrig in 1931.

This is from my upcoming book Baseballogy - available from Annick Press on Feb 3rd! Whether Mitchell did or didn't K the Bambino and the Iron Horse isn't the point. She was an awesome baseball player and features big in my chapter on women in baseball.

(NOTE: I also did all the pics for this book on my tablet, instead of transferring pen and ink sketches. It was fun!)