Unapologetically Canadian: West Kelowna woman and son bring Canuck comic adventure to life - InfoNews

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Unapologetically Canadian: West Kelowna woman and son bring Canuck comic adventure to life

Sherrie Cannell has a look at an issue of her comic book series "Jacks and Jillian".
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Jacks & Jillian - Comic
April 29, 2019 - 6:30 PM

WEST KELOWNA - Sherrie Cannell starts every comic illustration with a hand-drawn sketch. She begins with the bare-bones, gradually adding inks and colours. When she's happy with the finished project, she scans the drawing onto her computer and puts it into the comic book layout, occasionally tweaking the art with editing tools.

It's a long process. Cannell, a trained illustrator from West Kelowna who's created children's books and other illustrated materials over the decades, took six months to create 40 pages filled with more than 130 unique illustrations. She's poured all her creative energy and talent into the project and her hard work is about to pay off. Cannell, along with her son Tyler Storla, is set to unveil her first comic book later this week.

"It's a labour of love," she said. "We're at the beginning of an adventure."

Jax and Jillian is a planned 13-issue comic series created by Cannell and Storla. It follows the adventures of Jax and Jillian, a pair of bloggers who travel across Canada meeting interesting people against the background of political intrigue as America (referred to as 'Merica) threatens to annex the country's economic freedom. Cannell describes the story as a "what if" tale, a topic she feels comic books tackle very well.

A collage of the many
A collage of the many "Jax and Jillian" illustrations.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Jax & Jillian - Comic

Cannell and Storla will debut the first issue, which takes place in British Columbia, on May 4 at Tazmanian Comics in Vancouver. The comic is currently being made by a printer, which costs the pair $10 per edition.

"We're really pumped," Cannell said.

It's appropriate Cannell and Storla will exhibit their comic in Vancouver, since they came up for these characters in that city last year. Cannell and Storla attended the Vancouver Fan Expo in October 2018 and they started talking about the lack of comics that present real Canadian experiences and customs. They also discussed their perception of growing political distance between Canada and the United States in recent years. As they talked, Jax and Jillian began to take form.

Cannell and Storla devised the comic as an exploration of Canadian people. Each issue puts Jax and Jillian in a different province or territory; as they move forward with the main plot, they, along with the reader, will also be exposed to the history and culture of the land, often meeting famous historical figures.

"Each province gets to tell their story," Cannell said. "We can only touch on what each province has to offer."

Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Jax & Jillian - Comic

Cannell said history books can provide facts and dates for Canada's past, but to really know about this country, you have to talk with people. In researching her comic, Cannell attended several conventions and spoke with people from all parts of Canada. She always asked them to tell a story they felt summed up their province. These tales painted a vivid story for her comic.

"Everyone wants to talk," she said. "We're a very diverse country."

Cannell, who's semi-retired, is glad she had the free time to create the comic book, since it's been such a large undertaking. She'd never illustrated a comic book before, so the entire process has been a rewarding learning experience.

"Building a comic is something you do because you love it," she said.

Cannell and Storla plan to set up a website and Facebook page where people will be able to directly purchase the comic book's first issue. At the moment, the best way to stay up-to-date on the book's progress is to follow the Jax and Jillian Facebook page.

You can also support their Kickstarter here.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Sean Mott or call (250) 864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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