Many of you may know Brandon Mitchell from his time working at Alaqsite’w Gitpu School as the art and technology teacher, since then he has gone on to be a very successful creative writer and illustrator.
At a young age, Mitchell always had a passion for drawing and art.
Mitchell said, “I was into comic books, cartoons, movies, and video games but instead of re-drawing my favourite characters, I would try and make my own. It was only in grade 11 when I had an opportunity to flesh out my ideas in writing. We had an open assignment to write on any topic we wanted, and I asked if I could write about these characters I created. From there, I was hooked on seeing where my characters took me.”
Mitchell then enrolled and obtained a diploma from an Animation and Design program at NBCC in Miramichi. “I learned not just HOW to draw, but HOW to tell a story with images,” Mitchell said. Mitchell went on to earn a Bachelor of Integrated Science and a Master of Adult Education from UNB. Mitchell began working at AGS, and with inspiration from his students, he eventually founded Birch Bark Comics, and from here, a comic book story called Sacred Circles was created. This story was based on local legends with a contemporary twist.
“One of the things I didn’t grow up with was Native characters being the main characters in the stories I read. That’s what inspired me the most in creating these stories,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell also had the opportunity to write six Indigenous-themed stories focusing on health-related issues with Indigenous Story Studio, with stories such as River Run – which focuses on smoking prevention, and Tomorrow’s Hope about First Nation suicide prevention. He has been a part of numerous creative writing and art projects such as, the National Best-selling graphic novel anthology series This Place: 150 Years Retold, Migwite’tmeg: We Remember It – a story of the 1981 salmon raids in Listuguj, and the traditional Mi’gmaq story, Adventures of the Pugulatmu’j: Giju’s Gift.
Mitchell and his wife Natasha Martin now live in Fredericton, but there are a lot of things to miss about Listuguj. “I miss my family, the river, and the beautiful mountains,” said Mitchell.
As of right now, Mitchell is currently working on the second adventure of the Pugulatmu’j, and he’s also illustrating a picture book for Ksalsuti Wellness Resources Inc. You can find his books and work on Amazon, Chapters, Portage and Main Press, and at a Pow Wow near you.
By Ann Marie Jacques