1. Popped down to Toronto last week to see the 2014 Sheridan illustration grad show. Congrats to all the new grads!

    It was nice to see all the work up on display in a large gallery setting. The last show I went to was on Queen and Bathurst, and it was in a rather cramped space on the 5th floor, and everyone had to either walk up or wait forever for the sole elevator.

    Anyway, here are my favorites from the show. I hope they do well in their new illustration careers! Scroll down to see all of them, or Click the image to go to their websites.

    emengel_intimate_500 E.M Engel

    Rachel Zavarella Rachel Zavarella

    Chelsea Watt Chelsea Watt

    Justin Yu Justin Yu

    Evan Do Evan Do

    Amanda Mackay Amanda Mackay

    James Sharp James Sharp

    Nick Perrotta Nick Perrotta

    And finally, my show favorite,  Regina Ying. Beautiful work, someone please hire her already:

    Regina Ying Regina Ying

    Regina Ying Regina Ying

  2. Went life drawing the other day, first time in mannnyyy years. There is a new series of life drawing sessions in Hamilton at the El Camino gallery, if anyone is interested.Please excuse the crappy pictures, I took them with my camera because they are too big to easily scan.





    Tagged #Sketches
  3. I have a box which is an awesome hat. It’s a bit hard to explain, though this short comic is an attempt at that.

    Click the pictures to see a bigger version with (hopefully) clearer handwriting.

    box hat comic box hat comic box hat comic box hat comic

  4. Random pages from the sketchbook. I am so trying to finish this sketchbook because I don’t like the paper.

    But – I discovered that that is actually a great strategy for keeping me drawing. It also lets me feel far less pressure as to whether the sketch looks good or not. I really don’t care if I am ruining the paper or not. Expensive papers and nice sketchbooks have always been hard for me to complete because I really really hate to waste good paper. Like good watercolor paper. That stuff is hand made from cotton rag. Somewhere out there I imagine a medieval peasant ripping up old cotton rags and adding them to a vat while another couple of them strain out the pulp to make the paper, while some Gregorian chant music plays in the background.

    (I’m sure there are actually some fine faculties where they make the stuff with professionals… but the medieval imagery seems more dramatic in my head).

    Anyway, so, yeah, random sketchiness.

    img062 img067

    Tagged #Sketches
  5. Quick doodle. Was wondering if it was possible to create a Disney Princess that wasn’t thin and limp in body. Also, I like my Amazon in Diablo 3. Don’t you guys get funny ideas about asking me to draw the Dragon’s Crown Amazon now..

    disney barbarian princess

    I even stuck in a cute sidekick! Well. Cuteish. It’s a flying baby deer. If that’s not cute I don’t know what is…


    Tagged #Sketches
  6. Short comic about a pigeon who finds a hat. I did this comic without planning; just drew it in bed. I quite liked the story, it surprised me. Have been toying with the idea of adapting it into a picture book, although, I toy with a lot of ideas.




    pi4Apologies for the crappy scans. The paper is thin and the pencil is light. I had to bump up the darkness so the panels could be seen. You can even see the drawing on the next page for the last picture.

  7. So, finally got round to finishing the Wonder(ful) Woman sketch / test demo piece. Made some small tweaks from the sketch to final. Tried keeping things simpler in the last part; trying to concentrate detail in the face so that the eye gets led there. Most of the color was done in Illustrator, with final editing and tweaks for lighting in Photoshop. Still experimenting with combining Illustrator artwork with Photoshop after-painting (did I just invent a new word?).

    The obvious question is – ‘why don’t you just paint the whole thing to begin with?’

    The fact is, I have been using Illustrator (or Freehand) as my main illustration tool for a decade now. While most people learned digital art by painting in Photoshop (or some other painting software), I did not. As such, there is a learning curve. Picking up a new art software is not particularly hard, but becoming good at it and producing consistent results is another thing. When I work in Illustrator, I have a general idea of how long something will take, in most cases. In Photoshop, I have no idea if something will take a couple of hours, half a day, a day, or more.

    I think that, for me anyway, one of the biggest hurdles is to get over the general mistrust of a new program or look. You get used to the way you do things, to the way your art looks. When you make something in a new medium (or with a new tool), that brings a new result. It may look exciting and cool to you, because it is something new and novel. But it may not actually be good. Repeated attempts are needed to compare results and refine your eye, to see the good and the bad within the new scope.

    I’ll stop the with the boring words now. Behold, the pretty pictures:

    wonder woman

    Original pencil sketch on paper.
    wonder woman

    Scanned sketch with touchup in Photoshop.

    wonder woman

    Work in progress art, Illustrator (maybe with some Photoshop tweaking for testing colors)wonder woman Final art, Illustrator & Photoshop.

  8. Portrait of L’Wren Scott, fashion designer and former model.

    I did this portrait of the recently passed Ms Scott, because her (assumed) suicide and people’s reaction to it compel me to say something. 

    (Disclaimer: This article reflects my personal views on the matter. I apologize if they offend; I certainly mean to disrespect to the deceased. I am not a medical or mental health professional. I am not associated with Ms Scott. As of writing, most outlets are calling her passing a suicide, though that has not yet been confirmed. There are no confirmed medical reports stating she was suffering from depression, or that she decided to end her life because of her business.)

    Until the news broke, I didn’t know anything about her. From what I read, she was a former model turned fashion designer. She was successful with her clothes (or so it seemed). She was dating Mick Jagger. Her friends were supposed to be the rich and the beautiful. After her death, reports surfaced that her business had not been doing so well, and was making a loss. I don’t know if more reports are coming out, but this seems to be the main justification for her suicide.

    Now, I don’t think it is as cut and dry as that. Ms Scott’s passing is a very sad thing, and I feel it is demeaning to her to simply boil it down to bad business.

    What the press and public seem to fail to understand is this: Ms Scott was a successful, high profile creative professional who was probably suffering from major depression. She may have hid it well, and with good reason:

    Our society has more tolerance and forgiveness and someone with alcohol or drug issues than it does for someone suffering from depression.

    Consider it for a moment. How many stories have you read where someone goes to alcohol or drug rehab and champions their demons? Media has made such stories heroic. We congratulate survivors, celebrate their victories. Conversely, how many stories are there about people battling depression? Of those, how many do we celebrate as victories? More often than not the stories linked to depression end in tragedy, and we are quick to speak about it in hushed tones, afraid or embarrassed to face it.

    As a creative professional, I do think that our industry is particularly judgemental about how we handle depression and other mental health issues. Depression is not seen as a health issue; it is seen as a weakness, a flaw, a possibly contagious miasma that is bad for business. Creatives are allowed to be moody and a little crazy. Maybe they even expected to be that way. But creatives dealing with major depression have to keep it quiet and hidden, because showing too much means you’re done. A washout. Uncool. Too dangerous to be associated with.

    I do think creative professionals are particularly susceptible to mental illness. We tend to invest a lot in our work, and in doing so, we come to define ourselves with our work. When we can’t do good work, or when our work is not well received or rewarded, we are affected, because it is by extension as aspect of ourselves.  Unfortunately, instead of recognizing this a manageable problem,  society romanticizes depression within the creative community (just think Van Gogh), and by doing so trivializes the real pain artists who suffer depression have to live with.

    People think depression is about being sad. I think depression is more like watching all your hopes wash away. It leaves you with this emptiness and exhaustion (if you are interested, writer/cartoonist Allie Brosh has a great (and morbidly funny) blog post where she describes her depression in great detail). Eventually it makes you question why you aren’t already dead.  I don’t think people commit suicide on a whim; I do think a lot of suicides happen because a person has come to the conclusion that all other options are closed, and that is the only choice left. In most cases this isn’t true, and that’s the worst part about depression. Jenny Lawson said it best (although I learned it through Wil Wheton) - depression lies. The problem is that if you don’t have the tools to manage the problem, it is very difficult to sort the lies from the truth. 

    Ms Scott may have hid her problems well, though I find it hard to believe that none of the people around her would have suspected anything amiss. For the people that do notice, it can difficult to figure out how to offer help, especially if the person hides away his or her problems from others. We aren’t conditioned, by school or by the media, about how to reach out and help those who suffer from depression.

    I am sure many people will come to the same wrong conclusions about Ms Scott’s suicide: that she was weak, selfish, stupid, unreligious, disrespectful to herself. They won’t see her as a strong, creative and capable woman who also might have been mentally unwell, who might have needed help.

    Any suicide is sad and tragic. But I hope, that through this sad event, more people will open up about discussing depression as a real illness, especially in the creative industries. It shouldn’t be this stigma that sufferers must hide in order to get by. It should not be this unspoken bad habit. It especially should not be an ‘artist thing’ that happens almost by virtue of creativity. Depression is real, and depression is an illness. We in the creative industries need to learn to accept it and figure out how to better deal with it, so that are can protect ourselves, our friends and family from its harmful effects.


  9. Here’s the promised follow up to my other post about artistic change.

    As I said in the previous post, I have been trying out various different things in trying to develop my art and style.

    One of the things I have been enjoying of late is sketching filmsters and models from yesteryear. Suzie Parker is currently my favorite subject; she was a model and actress in the 50s and 60s. I first saw her when my husband happened to watch a bit of Kiss Them for Me on Netflix. I actually was interested in drawing the more famous Jayne Mansfield at first; I was watching and pausing for a good angle to draw. Watching the film in that way, I realized that Parker had a more appealing face structure, and gorgeous cheekbones and eyebrows.

    I began looking her up on Google and found pictures from her modelling days. She was a great model, with a lot of character and flair that you don’t see in contemporary models. It’s been fun drawing her, and using her photos as a reference to help me better understand the construction of the face and how light and shadow shape things.

    These were done in graphite pencil, between 20-60min.

    suzie parker sketches

    Tagged #Sketches
  10. I’m doing a livestream test on Google Hangout/Youtube. Will be rendering Wonder Woman (or not really Wonder Woman, so that YouTube doesn’t complain. Wondering Woman, yeah that’s it).

    EDIT: Sorry issue with first test TRY THIS ONE

    wonder woman