HNA 2017: cartoonist-in-residence video


In case you missed my cartoonist-in-residence presentation at Haiku North America 2017 (September 17, 2017), here’s a short edited version featuring comics only.

It includes:

0’00 A short introduction to Old Pond Comics

3’31 HNA 2017 conference comics

6’15: Kaleidoscope haiku-cartoons featuring haiku by Jim Kacian, Alexis Rotella, Tanya McDonald, Terry Ann Carter, Kala Ramesh, Brad Bennett.

Thanks to the wonderful audience at Haiku North America.


Haiku Canada (Whitehorse, Yukon)



I look forward to being cartoonist-in-residence at the next Haiku Canada conference. The conference will take place May 20-22 2016 in a town with a rich history : Whitehorse, Yukon.

I’ve been reading a lot of the history of the Yukon and the Gold Rush. I just finished Jack London’s The Call of the Wild and I’m currently reading a biography of poet Robert Service (nicknamed the “Canadian Kipling”).  I read tons of guidebooks to learn about the geography and history of the Yukon Territory. I’m really excited about the trip and the conference.

The title of the conference is A celebration of haiku – north of 60 – with frogs!  And I also have the immense honor of giving the keynote speech. I hope you can be there.

Night Ginko at the Seabeck Haiku Getaway 2014


From October 16-19,2014, I was cartoonist-in-residence at the Seabeck Haiku Getaway. I drew comics during the event and presented them on the last day of the conference.

The highlight of the conference was a night ginko with paper lanterns. A truly magical evening.Johnny_Baranski_lanterns_IMG_3199

Making the paper lanterns:

photo photo

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Night ginko with paper lanterns:

photo photo photo photo


Interview with Seabeck’s Cartoonist-in-residence


Interview with Jessica Tremblay, author of Old Pond Comics and cartoonist-in-residence at the Seabeck Haiku Getaway (Oct 10-13 2013)

What does a cartoonist-in-residence do?

A cartoonist-in-residence will go to your haiku conference, attend as many conference sessions as possible and create comics that will summarize each sessions in only three panels. Being cartoonist-in-residence involves staying up all night and producing as many comics as possible.

How did you find the time to make the comics?!

The majority of the Seabeck comics were produced in two nights: on Friday Oct. 11 (10pm to 4am) and Sat. Oct. 12 (11pm-4am). Then, after only 3 hours of sleep, I would get up at 7am to make more comics. I had to skip two communal breakfasts, on Sat and Sunday (missing the best breafkast of the week, I was told: cheese-filled crepes!). In the morning, I sustained myself with cinnamon scones I had brought from home so I could make as many comics as possible. Skipping some sessions and social activities was sometimes necessary in order to make more comics.

Being a cartoonist-in-residence puts you in a strange situation: you have to attend all the sessions to know what they’re about (so you make comics about them), but while you are attending sessions, you are not making comics. It’s quite a connundrum. Basically, the only solution is to attend as many sessions as possible during the day (drafting comics in my notebook) and then creating the comics at night while everybody is sleeping. I use Adobe Illustrator to make the comics.

But doing the comics is the easy part… I also have to present them. Creating a Powerpoint presentation at 4 am is quite a challenge. Then, you have to present them – remaining coherent (difficult), funny (I suppose) and charming (you tell me!) – even though you’ve had only 3 hours of sleep that night.

How long does it take you to make the comics?

One comic takes approximatively 1 hour to make. I’m estimating I’ve spent around 15 hours making comics, and 2 hours to prepare the powerpoint presentation. And I’m not counting the time I spent drafting, attending sessions, taking pictures to use as reference for the comics, etc. Cartoonist-in-residence is a full time job.

How did you start?

I’ve been attending haiku conferences since 2006. I used to summarize the sessions on my blog for people who did not have the chance to attend. My summaries were long blocks of text, without any pictures. It was quite long and boring to read, not to mention time consuming to write, so when I attended Haiku Canada 2009 in Vancouver, I decided to use comics to summarize, in three panels, the sessions. I produced seven comics that I posted on my blog and they became a huge success.

In Haiku North America 2011 in Seattle, I brough my laptop with me and created comics that I posted on my blog and Facebook page every night, recapping the events of the day.

For Haiku North America 2013 on the Queen Mary (Long Beach, CA), I sent a proposal and became an official cartoonist-in-residence for the first time. My comics were featured in the printed program, on the HNA blog, and their Facebook page, and the comics created during the conference were presented at the closing session. Seabeck Haiku Getaway 2013 was my second experience as an official cartoonist-in-residence.

Did you invent this concept of cartoonist-in-residence?

I’m not sure. Perhaps there are other cartoonists-in-residence out there. I haven’t checked. All I know is that I was always intrigued by the concept of “writer-in-residence” and, knowing that, when attending haiku conferences, I was going to make comics to summarize sessions anyway, I decided to send a proposal to the conference organizers to see if they’d be interested in having me as official cartoonist-in-residence. They loved the idea!

Do you have another residency coming up?

Yes. I will be cartoonist-in-residence at Haiku Hot Springs (Arkansas) on November 1-2, 2013. Attendees can send me their bio, photo (optional) and 5 haiku at tessinthewest AT hotmail DOT com to receive a surprise at the conference.

Where do I contact you if I want to hire a cartoonist-in-residence for my next haiku event?

Contact me at tessinthewest AT hotmail DOT com

Seabeck Haiku Getaway


I was the official Cartoonist-in-residence during the Seabeck Haiku Getaway (organized by the Haiku North West haiku group) at the Seabeck Conference Centre from October 10-13, 2013.

During the event, I created thirteen comics that were presented Sunday Oct 13, on the last day of the conference. One Old Pond vignette (featuring Kaeru playing in autumn leaves) was included in the printed program.

Read an interview about my experience of cartoonist-in-residence at Seabeck.

Watch a digital story about the ginko walk to the Historic Seabeck Cemetery.

Feel free to share these comics on your blogs, websites, Facebook pages and Twitter. Simply right-click and choose Save picture as (JPEG). Please include a link to in your blog post or website.

Create your nametag

Before you go at Seabeck Haiku Getaway, you have to create your own nametag . People used lots of creativity to create a nametag that would represent them.

Making your own ID badge at Seabeck Haiku Getaway


At Seabeck Conference Centre, the rooms are in these giant houses. It’s like living in a frat house! It’s fantastic. You share your room with someone and a house with a dozen people. I was in the newer buidling, Huckleberry. I expected moldy cabin smell and instead it was the wonderful smell of new carpet that greeted me. Our room H5 was gigantic with a writing desk (where I spent all night doing comics until 4am) and a private bathroom. I heard two frogs were not as lucky and had to stay in a stinky mushroom…


The Bouncing Bridge

The Bouncing Bridge is a recent addition to the Seabeck Conference Centre and is quite an attraction in itself. It takes suspension bridge to a all new [sismic] level. Crossing alone, you can manage. Go with a friend, you’ll fight for your life. Cross the bridge with fifty people, right after the Seabeck Group photo, and fun is guaranteed. Seabeck boucing bridge

Drinking from a fire hydrant

At the beginning of the conference, Michael Dylan Welch warned participants to pace themselves. Going to a haiku conference, and attending session after session, can feel a bit like “drinking from a fire hydrant”, he said.


Freebie table

At every conference, you can bring a leaflet or something to give to the attendees so they remember you.



The food at the Seabeck Haiku Conference was excellent. Breakfast was from 8.00-8.45, lunch from 12.00-12.45 and dinner from 6.00-6.45 As you got in the dinning, you could smell the aroma of the food. As soon as you sat down, they would serve you hot meal in a plate big enough for the 8 people around the table, a hot sidedish and a cold sidedish. Dessert was already on the table. I’ve never eaten so well in my life!

The salad bar was self-served and was hugely popular. There were long lineups, but it went pretty fast… faster than if the waiter took your salad order, forgot about it and ate it himself…

The snack table

Not only were we fed very well at the Seabeck Conference Centre, but attendees were encouraged to bring snacks to share. The snack table was jammed pack full of goodies. You could have eaten a full meal there!


Marco Fraticelli (guest speaker)

I was really happy to have the chance to spend some time with Marco Fraticelli, a poet from Haiku Canada that I only get to see when I attend Haiku Canada weekend (it’s an annual conference, but I only get to go every two years or so). Marco Fraticelli was the first hadjin I met, totally by chance, while I was studying haiku at the National Library of Canada, in Ottawa.

Just like Marco, Kaeru the frog loves bringing his kids to the beach.

comic inspired by the great wave off kagawara by oldpondcomics

The Wordless Poem

The Wordless Poem (written by Eric Amann) is one of Marco Fraticelli’s favorite book about haiku. However, it is not a book for beginners and should not be used to teach haiku to young children…

comic about the Wordless Poem by Eric Amann (by Old Pond Comics)

The flock of crows

The guest speaker Marco Fraticelli told the story of a painter in ancient China or Japan who was commissioned to paint four panels representing a flock of crows. Instead of painting numerous crows, like you would expect, he left three panels blanck and, on the fourth one, he painted half a crow in flight, as if a flock of crow was just there and had just flown away.

Marco made the analogy with haiku: it’s often what’s not there that counts, what people imagine. Readers fill the gap in their imagination and complete the image. That was a great lesson.



One of our favorite activities at Seabeck was creating a labyrinth. Following instructions from the leader Margaret McGee, participants split into two teams. Each team had “builders” who built the labyrith, and “decorators” who decorated the labyrinth with leaves, feathers, branches, shells, and haiku.

The labyrinth stayed there during the whole conference and people were able to enter the labyrinth and do a walking meditation. As you entered the labyrinth, it’s good to recite a mantra, such as “I am a pilgrim seeking.”


A leaf falls loneliness (paper by Michael Dylan Welch)

E. E. Froggins ( E.E. Cummings’s cousin) is also a poet; he wrote this happier version of the leaf falls poem.

E. E. Froggins new poem inspired by EE Cummings leaf poem

The Sputnik

At Seabeck, a suspended card holder called “The Sputnik” hangs from the ceiling and holds haiku written on index cards. This year, the Sputnik held a dozen haiku written by the guest of honor Marco Fraticelli.


Seabeck Historic Cemetery

A digital story about a walk to the Historic Seabeck Cemetery and my encounter with an unknown mushroom that caused me to write a death haiku during the Seabeck haiku Getaway.

If you know the name of the last mushroom (wrapped in an orange leaf) at the end of this video, let me know. That’s the one that caused me such a fright.