Category Archives: We Asked Lynn

Facebook Fans Interviewing Lynn (Part 2)

We recently asked the fans on our Facebook page to pose some interview questions for Lynn. Here’s the second set of questions and answers. (Read the first series here):

Matt Dodge: Was there a particular character or location you found more difficult to draw than others?

Lynn: Anything that was an establishing shot: what a school looked like, how a road curved, what friends’ houses looked like, workplaces…anything on which I would have to base a series of illustrations was tricky to do.

Zane Andres: How can you have boldly stood your ground against ignorance with stuff like your storyline about Lawrence coming out only for your staff to now censor your work because of the false notion that “people might be offended”?

Lynn: You defend the things you believe in. You do it with confidence and courtesy. In the end most editors were comfortable with the story line, but they had to deal with readers who were not. I was proud of that story.

Nicole Greening: Do you miss the Pattersons?

Lynn: No, I don’t miss the Pattersons. I told their story to the best of my ability and then I had to let them go.

Pamela Scott VerLander: How is Lynn doing?

Lynn: I’ve never been happier. Thanks for asking.

Terri Kimble Fullerton: How did you encourage your own kids to explore their creative sides? Any recommended art supplies, activities or resources?

Lynn: When I saw what interested my kids I did encourage them, as all parents do. The best resource for them, as it was for me, was school. Their teachers did for them more than I could ever do, and they did the rest on their own. Art supply stores like “Michaels” give you incentive, just by walking into them! If you have the gift, you find what you need and you play with it. Guidance comes from outside, but creativity comes from you.

Jim Inman Jr: You’ve been very honest in your writing and creations about the ups and downs of life. Has FBoFW ever been used in some type of psychology experiment or study?

Lynn: Sure. FBorFW has been used to teach ESL [English as a Second Language] – comic art is a great help to new Canadians. It’s a glimpse into North American society and our every day use of the language. The Lawrence story was the catalyst for discussion in schools and churches as were other story lines. For a cartoonist, this is always a real compliment.

Jim Inman Jr: What was the best compliment you ever received from a strip reader? What about from one of your peers?

Lynn: The best compliments are when people tell you that you’re saying what others feel, and that you lightened someone’s day. My peers never had to say anything. We all knew what we were capable of; we knew we had a gift. Like musicians, we worked as a whole, each understanding the other, connected through a kinship that’s rare. Their genuine friendship was and is compliment enough!

P Shane McAfee: I wrote about you on my blog several years ago and you sent a very kind email in response. First of all, thank you for taking the time to do so. Secondly, I referred to you as a Canadian Erma Bombeck. Having said that, who influences your work (aside from your family)?

Lynn: Thank you. I met Erma Bombeck once. We sat side by side at a cocktail party. There was a large book on the coffee table in front of us and a photo of mother Theresa was on the cover. Erma looked at the photo and said: “She needs moisturizer”. I’m still laughing. Many people have influenced my work in that they have kept me confident, knowing I was not alone in my need to be the “class clown”.

Erma Bombeck was one, Phyllis Diller was another and so was Robin Williams. I had the great pleasure of meeting all three. From cartoonists to writers to comedians, I have met most of my comedy heroes. How lucky is that! All of them have influenced me in one way or another.

Facebook Fans Interviewing Lynn (Part 1)

We recently asked the fans on our Facebook page to pose some interview questions for Lynn. Here’s the first round of questions and answers:

Andy Sable: Does she still miss Farley?

Lynn: I don’t miss Farley…I can bring him back to life with the stroke of a pen!

Éric Irizarry García: I was introduced to her work thanks to the specials crafted by Lacewood Productions in the early 90s when they aired here in Spain. So my question is simple: which of the—I believe six—did she find particularly enjoyable, as the author of the work on which it was based? Ah, Lacewood gave me so many treasured memories. I wonder where most of their works have gone..

Lee Williams Commented: As Co-Director of #6 with her…hope she says A Storm in April ?

Lynn: I think The Last Camping Trip was my favourite because it was based on an actual camping trip we took as a family when I was a child.

Lee! Great to hear from you. A Storm in April was a good one, thanks to the crew who worked on the show. You are certainly my favourite Co-Director!

[Ed.: you can get our Lacewood specials online here!]

The Christmas Angel was also a story that appeared in the comic strip and I think it worked best as a strip. What I regret is my insistence on having a tune in every show…I think the Christmas Angel song (Elizabeth dancing with the woman in the woods) could have been better.

I think Lacewood lives on under a different name. These companies tend to change hands or become absorbed into other companies. Lee…can you answer this one?

Shanna Smith: How do you overcome story block? Since it’s a full story that continues over the years, versus one-offs, were story ideas written way ahead or were there moments of writer’s/artist block that you had to overcome? How did you do it?

Lynn: Writer’s block affects everyone who writes for a living. If writing was easy then everyone would do it! Having faith in your own ability helps. Being well ahead of your deadlines makes the blank days work in your favour by allowing you to sit and contemplate the characters, what they are doing, how a “real” situation might pan out…A professional writer uses these times to research and reflect. Then, the ideas might come at 2:00am!

Ken Gabora: After so many years, would we be able to get a “What are they doing now?” Of the Patterson family? Like a limited run?

Lynn: I did a fast overview of the Pattersons’ future plans when I ended the strip. I confess, I haven’t looked at them to see what they are doing now. I think I just needed to let them go. What I enjoy most is looking at my old stuff. There were some good ideas flowing and at the time, I was so busy doing the work, running a home and playing “Lynn Johnston” that I didn’t really appreciate my own ideas! I look back now and wonder how I came up with some of them.

David Pearce: Are there any characters you wish you had concentrated on more outside of the Patterson family? What would you have done with these characters if you had had the time and space?

Lynn: I wish I’d had more time to develop the character “Candace”. I think she had real potential!

We Asked Lynn: 3 Interview Questions

As part of our ongoing “We Asked Lynn” series of blog entries, we asked Lynn a few questions — the topics of travel, imagination, and animation are always safe bets, because we know we’ll get interesting responses!

We asked Lynn 3 interview questions 1. What have you learned from all your travels around the world? Is
there anyplace you still really want to go, where you haven’t yet visited?

I’ve learned from my travels that people are all the same, no matter where you go. We all want to be safe and happy; to provide for our families; to have meaningful work; to laugh and play music; to belong and to love. We are all the same.

The barrier for me has always been language. When you talk to someone, a relationship happens.  Learning Spanish has been life-changing for me. I no longer go to Mexico, Cuba and Peru as a tourist — I can get to know people; really connect with them. In my opinion, our inability to understand each other is what separates us, not our clothing or our colour or our beliefs. It’s easier to think the worst of someone if you can’t understand them!

Where do I want to go next? Australia beckons, but first, my partner and I are going to England, to celebrate our 70th birthdays. In October, we’ll be attending a comic art festival in the town of Kendal [the Lakes International Comic Art Festival], before going on to see friends and relatives here and there.

2. Do you still spend a lot of time “living in your imagination”?

Yes, I still spend a lot of time in my imagination. I can go anywhere I want to go and it’s free! Not having to write and draw the strip makes my mental forays less focused and less productive, but I still go drifting off into my own thoughts. Really…isn’t this something we all do?

3. Have you seen any really good animated films lately? What are some of
your favourites?

Yes, I’ve seen some amazing animated films. The new CGI techniques blow me away. The one show that stays in my mind, however is Pixar’s “Inside Out” — directed by Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen. It has a wonderful premise, great story arc, was ingeniously storyboarded and beautifully animated. It’s both entertaining and ingenious, so in order to appreciate the truly important content you should see it twice!

Making Gift Bows: Lynn’s Video Tutorial

Lynn’s parents, Mervyn and Ursula, owned a jewelry store in Vancouver when Lynn was a kid. Lynn’s mom used to do gift-wrapping in the back of the shop, and she would make her own custom gift bows from scratch, using ribbons.

Lynn’s friends and family appreciate her carrying on the family tradition — you can tell when a present is something Lynn (or her daughter, Katie) have wrapped. Katie’s special talent is gift baskets, but Lynn is the queen of the pom-pom bow. Watch this video tutorial to see how she does it!

We Asked Lynn: Which Cartoon Kid Was Most Like You?

We’ve been asking Lynn a series of questions about the strip, so we could share her answers with you. Recently we wanted to know which one of the Patterson kids was most like her. Here’s what she said:

Which of the cartoon children is most like me? Well, they are ALL me! The characters are all me.

Patterson Family GroupEach kid character had elements of my kids, because I had Aaron and Kate to guide me through their life changes. But, in essence, the characters’ thoughts and words came from somewhere inside my head–or out in the ether, with my head as a conduit–so they are (were) all me.

Sparky [Charles Schulz] said, "If you want to know me, read my work". It sounded flippant, but really, what we wrote was what we thought, how we processed ideas, how we used our language, what made us laugh, and how we dealt with conflict.

Writers often comment on the strange way characters come to life in their novels–and often twist the plot away from the intended path. Like "spirit writing", if such a thing exists. This was true of the comic strip. Sometimes the characters took me into different spaces than I intended, but in the end, their journey was always piloted by myself.

There is no clear, precise answer to this question. A good thing, I think! It makes this creative process mysterious and exciting for all of us.