Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Escape from Quintland

A draft of an old story that never sold. It was a story of five identical sisters, taken from their parents at birth, to be kept at a hospital and exhibited for tourists. One day they escape to explore the snowy countryside in search of their mother. I still like the idea, and think the pictures of the five girls together could have been cute, but the story was a bit scraggly. Think I spent too many pages having the girls chased by the doctor and his nurses. Instead I should have concentrated on their discovery of the outside world and the reconciliation with their mother.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Issy Archer

An old character design. "The last 9-year-old girl to play Big League baseball was Issy Archer of the 1923 New York Yankees." Needed a girl both athletic and artsy, confident and mature, who looked like she'd fit her time period. The bottom illustration (cropped here) is my favourite in the book, mostly because I resisted my usual urge to shove everyone and their giant heads tight against the foreground.


Early explorations for a new character. Five or six year old girl, outgoing, curious, a bit dreamy.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Scarborough Town Centre Sketches

This mall recently finished its major renovations, and the result is plenty of new comfy seating for people to loiter upon. I can situate myself under the escalator and look out at a changing sea of faces and poses. Still feeling tentative. Towards the end of my session I was working on scribbling down impressions fast and loose, then going in and picking out details and expression. With that approach I was beginning to feel more comfortable.

The one girl was about 4'5", wearing a puffy blouse that made her even rounder than she naturally was. What first caught my attention was how huge the Starbucks cup looked the way she was holding it beside her face. I didn't really catch that right. She was standing too close to me to observe her without it being an overt stare.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Spirit of Canada

Here are some illustrations I painted for a children's collection of stories about Canada. Several illustrators were used for the project. I was assigned the sports stories, because, I guess, my previous project was a sports story. The bonus here was that I had the opportunity to illustrate The Hockey Sweater, one of the most famous and popular children's stories in Canada.

The Hockey Sweater

For a poem called Face-Off

Spot illustrations for a story called The Day Everything Changed, about girls taking over the diamond in 1940s Nova Scotia

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My oldest existing illustrations

Found these tearsheets in an old portfolio, from a time when I picked up some illustration work from a regional newspaper. I enjoyed it back then, reading the story, coming up with an idea in an hour or two, getting right to work and having the painting on the way to the newspaper in a day or two. Hard to imagine myself turning anything around that quickly now - guess I'm out of practice. I was glad that they assigned me the most serious of stories, despite my wonky, big-headed cartoon style. Back then I worked with thin acrylic washes and coloured pencils.

My mistake was that I didn't take this bit of experience and returning to Toronto with my portfolio to seek a greater variety of work. Instead I just hung around waiting for the newspaper in London to call me. But then the paper went on strike for a couple months. When they reopened, the Saturday supplement where they published these stories had been discontinued. I let my illustration career return to dormant. Don't know what I was thinking, but it's been my pattern over the years.

A story exploring the best ways to aid the poor

Still single after 30

I would have been 28 when I did these, but I could sense my impending bachelorhood. I identified with this story.

The death of a child

How to teach AIDS prevention in schools. I was trying to do something with the birds and the bees, benign on one side, threatening on the other. I don't know if that worked - too literal. Since it was 1990, the sexually active teenage male of course wore a mullet.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Faces you won't recognize

These are caricatures not of famous people, but of other caricaturists who frequent a message board. These were early attempts to do some caricature again and to try painting using Photoshop and a tablet.