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Vernon teen expresses himself with first-rate cartoons

Hunter Caulien-Matheson is walking in the footsteps of American cartoonist Jim Davis

A Vernon teen has a career in animation ahead of him, judging from his hand-drawn comic strips.

Hunter Caulien-Matheson, 14, is a big fan of Jim Davis’ Garfield comic strips, so much so that he’s emulating the American cartoonist.

“I made this comic just like Garfield,” Caulien-Matheson said, holding up his creation, a comic featuring Silly Nosey, a character he invented.

Caulien-Matheson was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age three. His mother, Holly Caulien, says that while he’s not as verbal as other kids, he’s found a means to express himself in his passion for creating comics.

“Being autistic, he struggles with communication, so this is his form of communicating,” Caulien said. “This is how he can express himself and how he can show certain feelings or emotions.”

The colourful comics appear expertly done, and they’re full of Caulien-Matheson’s sense of humour.

He’s been busy with drawing and art for the last eight years or so, and his creations are stacking up.

“There’s certain characters that he really likes to draw from different artists and different comics or TV shows, but we have stacks upon stacks of drawings,” his mother said.

One of his comic books can be found in the library of Silver Star Elementary, where he used to go to school. Caulien-Matheson based the comic on one of his favourite TV shows, Battle for Dream Island, and brought it into the school. There, the librarian got hold of it and copied, laminated and bound it and put a bar code on it.

“Kids are still taking it out,” Caulien said.

Caulien-Matheson already has big plans for where his hobby will take him.

“He knew by the age of 12 that he wanted to go to the Vancouver Film School, because they teach animation and drawing and storyboard-writing,” Caulien said.

After college, Caulien-Matheson hopes to one day work for Cartoon Network or Disney.

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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