London

How London geese inspired this cartoonist whose work landed in The New Yorker

Geese in London, Ont., may be annoying, sometimes hard to manoeuvre around, while dodging their defying eyes and hisses, but for former Londoner Gabrielle Drolet, they've become a source of inspiration. 

Gabrielle Drolet's cartoon depicts a Canadian goose speaking to her goslings

Gabrielle Drolet, 24, was overjoyed when she saw the latest copy of The New Yorker magazine featuring her first in-print cartoon. (Submitted by Gabrielle Drolet)

London geese can be annoying, their beady eyes following you and their hisses marking their territory as you try to manoeuvre around them, but for one former resident of the Ontario city, they're also a source of inspiration. 

Gabrielle Drolet, a 24-year-old writer and cartoon artist, was overjoyed when she saw the latest copy of The New Yorker magazine in her mailbox. In it was her first-ever in-print cartoon displaying some London pride. 

"It was definitely inspired by my four years at Western [University] where the geese were, uh, terrifying oftentimes," she told CBC News between chuckles. 

Her cartoon, which the prominent magazine bought from her a year ago, depicts a Canada goose speaking to her goslings and telling them 'Today, we learn how to terrorize the park.'

"I was never attacked ... but you know you're walking up, [University College] hill or near the Thames River and you're just very aware. You get too close and they start chasing you or they're blocking your path and you're like, 'Okay, how am I gonna get around these guys?'" she recalled.

Drolet says the inspiration behind the cartoon was found during her four years studying at Western University, where geese encounters are part of every day life. (Submitted by Gabrielle Drolet)

"I think the geese specifically on Western's campus are bolder. You know, they're used to seeing foot traffic all of the time and they're not afraid of you whatsoever," she said.

Encounters with geese in Burlington and Montreal are much less frightening events, she said. 

The Western University creative writing grad said she was overjoyed to see her cartoon in the magazine. While she's had her illustrated work published digitally by the CBC and the Globe and Mail, she said being able to hold a physical copy of her work makes it even more special.

"I've been teary all week since finding out that it was coming out. It's just been really exciting and I'm extremely grateful that they've given me this space to draw my goose cartoon.

"I hadn't seen it in a while and it made me feel a twinge of, not sadness, but I guess I just miss London and I don't think I realised that until I saw the cartoon and was reminiscing a little bit."

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