Comics: Camping with Kids

When my daughter was younger I wrote, illustrated and shared an online web comic about fatherhood. It documented some of the quirky things we did and used some of the funny things she said as the heartbeat of the humour.

Whatever humour I managed to inject into these little stories usually came from a blend of “kids say funny stuff” mashed against those parental expecations falling short. I usually salted in a generous helping of dad jokes, to flavour.

I dabbled in a lot of formats (single panel, four-panel full colour, black and white, and other various dimensions) and a diverse range of topics. One of my very early black and white three-panel series was brought to life from a camping trip we had then recently taken.

So, for example the first strip blossomed from my frustration at being the one who always needed to spend half my first afternoon setting up camp (tho let’s be honest… I love that part too!) while the Kid ran off to play with her friends. When she was that age, setting up to her was about getting her treats out of the car, never mind eventually needing a place to sleep. I guess that’s what dads are for.

A second memory was locked in as she remarked at all the effort it took to cook while we roughed it in our campsite. To be fair, when I was a teenager camping out alone with my friends we scarfed bags of chips and ate hot dogs for three meals a day. You’d think I would have learned something in scouts for twelve years and made us all a nice bit of tuck. There’s something to be said about simplicity, I guess, and when you’re young who actually has time for meal prep, anyways… not to mention the cleanup?

The final strip reflected this odd mix of hesitancy and urgency of the Kid exerting her own independence. She always wanted to do everything herself but with dad standing by as a safety net. Out camping is a good place to dabble in this because away from the routine of home there are lots of new experiences to be had, particularly around things as simple as sticking your food into a fire. Obviously, accepting the consequences for your independence is a whole other lesson and dads tend to eat a lot of burnt marshmallows.

Side Note: I’m thinking of digging some of these characters out of retirement and putting together some new strips for this blog. There won’t be any regularity to those posts, but let me know if you’re interested in that. Encouragement and interest are like kindling for creative fire you know.

These original comics and a couple hundred more are still (mostly) online at www.piday.ca.

Comics: Backpacking with Kids

When my daughter was younger I wrote, illustrated and shared an online web comic about fatherhood. It documented some of the quirky things we did and used some of the funny things she said as the heartbeat of the jokes.

The comics are mostly still (mostly) online at www.piday.ca but to save readers from trotting over there to hunt through the relevant ones, here is a short triple-strip series I made shortly after one of our backpacking trips.

Of course there is a much longer story behind this brief comic trilogy.

It involves a kid who was a little worried about being eaten by a bear on top of a mountain and parents who (were just following the rules and) added to that fear by locking our food in a hard, steel bear locker while we slept a hundred meters away in a soft-fabric tent.

As it turned out, on one of our short day hikes we chanced upon not just the ranger station but the ranger himself who (being a great example of being an above & beyond public servant) gave us a tour of the ranger shack, told the kid about how they tracked bear movement for safety, and handed her a BC Parks pin for her jacket.

And she left pretty certain that if the ranger would be out there watching her back for bears, though informed me that if the ranger fell through that Dad would be on the hook to wrestle the bear.

Thankfully, it was a bear-free trip and my honour was spared for another day.