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Adrian Raeside tells tails

Veteran cartoonist releases a collection of dog cartoons from his long-running comic strip



For Adrian Raeside, out of sight is out of mind — at least when it comes to his cartoons.

You can't blame him when he says he almost immediately forgets about a piece after he sends it off to his editors; after all he's spent 32 years as the editorial cartoonist for the Victoria Times Columnist and over a decade producing his syndicated cartoon strip The Other Coast, with his work appearing in over 400 newspapers and magazines around the world (including this one).

As a result, putting together his latest book Tails Don't Lie: A Decade of Dog Cartoons (Harbour Publishing), made up of 10 years of dog cartoons from his Other Coast series, was a stroll down memory lane for the Whistler resident. "It was almost like reading the strips again for the first time," Raeside says over a pint at Dusty's on a recent afternoon. "This was the first time I'd seen from beginning to end in colour how the characters progressed. The dogs (Koko and Sakura, based on his late, real-life dogs) slowly took the strip over. I sort of knew that was going to happen with dogs because they have such strong personalities. For me to see the progression was quite fascinating."

Cracking rapidfire jokes, Raeside chatted with Pique about creating the book, the state of the cartoon business and why we love our pups.

Pique: At this point you have more than 12 books out. Does a new book feel like a big deal anymore?

Adrian Raeside: I'm hyperventilating, as you can tell. The thing about it is because each book is different each one has its own appeal to me. For Tails Don't Lie, it's a collection of cartoons. Normally when I look at the strip it's in a newspaper with other strips around it — which are all very good, of course. To see it in the book in colour instead of black and white in newspaper, all lined up chronologically, you can see how they progress and how the characters progress.

Pique: Do you submit the cartoons in black and white? Did you have to go back and colour them?

Raeside: I (add) colour after. I'm one of the few people, I think, that still draws by hand. A lot of guys draw with tablets. I tried that, but it's the hand-eye coordination thing — actually it's because I'm really stupid when it comes to computers — it's the hand-eye coordination thing, you know? For me I know there are less and less people drawing by hand because when it comes to buying drawing boards and ink and pen, it's becoming harder and harder to find. They just don't make it anymore with the market.