Friday, 30 January 2015

An interview with my favourite artist — James Grasdal

Tomorrow is Inspire Your Heart with Art Day, and to celebrate, our teacher asked us to write about an artist that inspires us. For me, that’s James Grasdal, the illustrator of the Chase Superman Duffy comics.

Right now, he’s working on CLOUD 9, the 10th book in the series, but yesterday he was nice enough to answer a few questions for me about how he got started as an artist, and some of the people that inspire his work.

When did you start drawing?
I can’t remember when—from my earliest memories, I’ve always been drawing. I was in Grade 8 or 9 when I realized I could make a career out of it, and I’ve never looked back.

What artists inspire you?
There are so many—that would be a very long list. But I’d have to say: Charles Schultz, Mo Williams, and Ed Gory.

What is your favourite artistic medium?
I like drawing cartoons more than anything. I love pens and brushes—but I like to experiment. I’ll try anything new.

Who is your favourite character to draw?
Chase, of course.

What is one thing you can’t draw?
I can draw anything. That’s what I tell everyone starting out. As long as you can break it up into shapes, you can draw anything.

What is your favourite thing to draw?
Monsters and dinosaurs. (P.S. In TRANSPIRATION, the latest Chase book, James has drawn some AWESOME dinosaurs!)

What was your first paid gig as an artist?
When I was in Grade 3, kids paid me to draw tattoos on their arms with markers.

What advice would you give to aspiring young artists?
Don’t ever stop drawing—and have fun!

Wow. Pretty cool, right? Do you have questions for James Grasdal? Send them to my email at or post a question in the comments below. I KNOW James will be happy to answer.

Gotta jet!

— Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 23 January 2015

7 a.m. chicken noodle? No way, José!

I love a great soup as much as the next kid—especially chicken noodle when I’m feeling kind of sick—but soup for breakfast? * shudder * Not a chance.

It’s National Soup Month, and so my Mom’s been whipping up all kinds of recipes—from Minestrone and Italian Wedding Soup, to Clam Chowder and beyond. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all delicious (well, not that moss green mess called Split Pea soup. It may have been healthy but was generally gross.) And soup is perfect when it’s cold outside.

But this morning, my Mom tried serving me soup for BREAKFAST.

Are you kidding me?!

I know that in some countries—like Vietnam and Turkey, for instance—soup is a common morning treat. There may even be some good reasons for serving it. They can be easy to make, I guess; and may be loaded with delicious, nutritious ingredients. And maybe it’s good to shake things up so you don’t get bored of the usual breakfast foods but…

I can’t see it. At least, not for me.

I don’t know who first decided WHAT foods should be designated for “breakfast,” and maybe I’m a chicken for not trying new things, but in mind, SOUP is NOT for BREAKFAST.

Even if it’s that delicious Corn Chowder my Mom made last week.

Gotta jet—or I'll be late for school! (Ah-ha! Maybe it’s because soups are not grab-and-go foods—what do you think?)

— Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 16 January 2015

Finding the right words

I have a tendency to use the same words over and over again when I write. My Language Arts teacher, Mrs. Kratky, calls them echoes—and she says we should try and get rid of/eliminate as many of them as possible.

But sometimes, it’s hard/difficult/challenging to come up with the right words. Am I right?

Of course I am! Unless, of course, you have a secret weapon:


Sunday is National Thesaurus Day (for real!) and in honour, I’ve challenged my family to a game of words, words, words. Ha! What do you think of THAT echo?

Want to play along? Here’s how:

  1. On a piece of paper, write 10 adjectives that describe your personality or physical appearance. Eg: Tall.
  2. Using a thesaurus, find a synonym (word that is different but means the same thing) for each of the 10 adjectives.
  3. If the synonym is a word you don’t know, look it up in the dictionary!
  4. Now, switch lists with someone else in your group, and using the new words, write a paragraph about that person.

Working alone? That’s okay! Follow the same steps as above, but instead of switching lists, write the paragraph about yourself using the words you’ve come up with. Challenge yourself to use adjectives that are new to you, as well—vocabulary is super important for good writing!

And, you don’t have to stick to one subject. Use the same rules to write paragraphs about pets, friends, sports…whatever you want! Imagine all of the new words you could learn!?

Gotta jet!

—Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 9 January 2015

Time for Transpiration!

Did you know that January 8 was National Bubble Bath Day, and tomorrow is Splash Around in a Puddle Day?

I’m not much of a bath kid, and it’s going to be way too cold for puddle hopping tomorrow (the puddles will all be skating rinks!), but all of this talk about water has me thinking about the latest book in the Chase Superman Duffy adventure comic series—TRANSPIRATION.

I don’t know about you, but we’re learning about water cycles in Science, so I know all about the stuff in this story. (Not to mention that I’m IN the story.) Of course, the author took some, er, creative liberties, and introduced a few super secret fantastical characters…like DINOSAURS! * cough, cough *

Want a copy of this book? There’s a couple ways to get it! Send me a message on Facebook (Chase Superman Duffy), email me at, contact the Alberta Canola Producers Commission at, OR, if you’re REALLY ambitious, check out this week’s STORY STARTER, write a few paragraphs, and you could WIN a copy of the book. Cool, right?

Gotta jet!

— Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 2 January 2015

My year in review

Did you make New Years resolutions yesterday?

I decided to only focus on one this year: READING.

Why that one? Well, taking a look at my year in review, I’m embarrassed at the number of books I read in 2014. I promised myself I’d read 25, AND blog about them. How many did I actually read? 10. Epic. Fail.

I managed to pay more attention in Science, and that helped my marks, of course. I’m still doing better in Math (even though I don’t really like it), and I DID train really hard. Maybe the hardest I’ve ever trained, even shaving a few seconds off my personal running best. I wrote more, and submitted a comic book to a contest ON TIME, and even though I didn’t win, I’m proud of the idea. I even remembered my locker combination ALL YEAR. That’s HUGE for me.

But my reading? Ugh. I didn’t make enough time for it—and that’s not good. Because everyone knows that if you want to be a good writer, you have to be a GREAT reader.

So. Even though there are SO MANY things I could resolve to do this year, my New Years resolution is this: I resolve to read 25 books in 2015 and blog about them.

Gotta jet—I’m cracking open my first novel of the year today. Time to get reading.

— Chase Superman Duffy