An elementary school-age cartoonist from Vancouver got the thrill of a lifetime recently when For Better or For Worse creator Lynn Johnston offered him private cartooning lessons at her studio.

The North Shore News attended the session along with Evan Panton, a fifth-grader at North Vancouver's Cleveland Elementary. Johnston shared several tricks of the trade with Panton, who aspires to be a cartoonist when he grows up. One key to writing a daily cartoon, Johnston advised him: start with the writing first, even though it's not as much fun as drawing.

“Divide it up in your head into four statements, and that way you’ll have a beginning, middle and an end," Johnston said. "By drawing the cartoon first, you tend to get ahead of yourself and you have to try and fit the writing in.”

Johnston had some parting words for Panton, whom she wants to work with again.

“I think you’ve got what it takes to keep on going with this,” she says. “There’s no magic to doing what we do – it’s just lots of hard work and practice.”