Sunday July 13, 2014

Daughter's story and dad's art combine in book

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Justin Shauf, and Daughter Abigail teamed up to write and illustrate ‘The Purple Bean’.

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Stories can be told by anyone.

And the good stories once told, get shared with others.

That is how the children's book 'The Purple Bean' came to be.

The story of the bean is one its author, seven-year-old Abigail Shauf said was one "the wind told me."

It was a day like many others for the young author when inspiration struck.

"Me and my brothers got called in for lunch," she said.

"I wanted to sit by Dad and tell him a story and he said 'sure'."

And so she sat by her Dad and told him a story, one she said "the wind told me," adding it was something that came to her "right when I came inside."

The story she told her father Justin was one of a lonely purple bean and a friendly fairy who helped the bean find love.

For Justin, the story was the inspiration he needed to re-ignite his love of drawing. Long an artist who had even taken animation classes in the past, he admitted he had been contemplating "stopping and no longer drawing.

"I was always too tired, with young kids and work."

The Purple Bean had Justin seeing visuals though.

"This story revitalized me a bit," he said. "… There was just something about the story that brought a lot of images to my mind."

The images stuck in his head, and Justin knew he had to sit down and draw his daughter's story.

The first step for Justin was to capture Abigail's story correctly.

"I wrote the story down, word-for-word what she told me," he said.

And then he started to draw.

"I was seeing full pages in my head," said Justin.

Justin said when the drawing slowed, his daughter was quick to encourage him to get back at it.

"She motivated me to draw and be creative," he said. "… We collaborated a lot."

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Justin said a full page would take about 15-hours to draw, with the art then handed over to Donovan Yaciuk from Winnipeg, who did the colours.

The book has sold well since it was released in March, "especially locally they've really supported it," said Justin, adding he also attended comic conventions in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary in support of the book which he sees as a crossover between a children's book and a graphic novel.

For those wanting 'The Purple Bean' it can be accessed at, or through

And there may be more 'purple bean' adventures one day, the wind willing.

"I want to make a Christmas story," said Abigail.

As Justin awaits his daughter telling him another story, he is back actively drawing the Purple Bean book being just what he needed to rejuvenate his art, something he said has long been his passion.

"I've always enjoyed drawing pictures," he said, adding he was one of those young students who looked forward to Remembrance Day so he could draw a poster "and get first prize and the $10 …

"Lots of time in school I should have been studying and I'd be drawing."

The love of drawing made him a fan of comic books, his earliest memories being books such as the West Coast Avengers, in particular issue #37, where the cover showed the villain ripping the book in half.

"It blew my mind when I was eight-years-old," said Justin.

Today he remains a fan, and an avid reader of graphic novels.

As an artist and fan of the genre he has ideas too.

"I do have my own character that I want to develop," he said, adding his vision is for a more kid-friendly book, noting "comics have gotten too adult."

Justin said he wants to one day create a comic younger readers can read, love and enjoy.

As he works on finally putting his character on paper, Justin draws for others, working on comic projects such as Axiom Man and Spacepig Hamadeus, both from Manitoba creators.

Of Spacepig Justin said, "it's as fun as it sounds, kind of Flash Gordon and Indiana Jones together in a pig's body."

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