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Tuesday
Aug162016

Summer Sketchbook, Part 1

I've had some time this summer to work on projects around the house, ride my bike, relax at the cottage and go swimming. But anyone in this business knows that the wheels don't stop turning, the flow of creativity doesn't shut off. Here's a piece that I created reflecting my creative wandering this summer.

This summer has been hot and dry, and trying at times, and the news cycle doesn't lift your spirits. I tried as best I could to ignore the election cycle in the U.S., but it never stops pounding away. So here's a series of images influenced by politics and power.

I drew this portrait during the Republican Convention. I wish I could say it was cathartic to complete this, but I just felt like washing my hands afterwards.

Polling Fatigue

Systems Rigged

Coping Mechanism

___________________________

We suffered through an extremely long drought for our area, with leaves on the trees turning brown and dropping off. It's unnerving to see record temperatures across the board this summer. Here's another response, called Heatwave.

I will be putting together a number of screenprints for an upcoming show, but for now I will be heading for the beach. Get outside and stay cool and don't forget the sunscreen. Summer is almost over!

Here's a parting shot from the cottage dock. Wish I could have stayed longer.

Tuesday
Jul122016

The world we live in

I get to work on a lot of scientific and research-based illustrations, which I love. We live in a beautiful, complex, and troubling world. Everyday, in a way, is a miraculous thing. If we want to continue to enjoy the things we have, the things we take for granted, we have to have our eyes open to what is happening locally and globally and be willing to adapt, make changes, and preserve what we can.

The first illustration was for Science magazine, a new client, for an article on an Environmental Film Festival, covering human, local and global topics. There were a lot of interesting and intriguing subjects like biodynamic food and farming, urban gardeners in L.A., wild bird egg poaching, women and water, as well as larger global and climate change concerns. Art director Michele Chu invited me to do an overview, taking in some of the broad-ranging topics and weave them together in the illustration. I adopted a clear and simple vector style to allow a balance and flow in the spread.

 

Here are the sketches:

I also got a call to work on a Cap and Trade proposal for the Province of Ontario, aimed at reducing carbon emissions. I wanted to convey the idea of change and transition over a period of time. Areas of focus included industry, transportation and energy. It all comes down to individual choices and the way in which we approach the economy. Finding the right balance between jobs, progress and sustainability.

Here's a shot of the cover, produced by Hambly and Woolley.

Saturday
May282016

Off the top of my head

It's been a spring with a lot of energy and momentum. This year has been a blur of covers, features and compelling projects from a lot of great clients. It's hard to know where to start, so I will kick it off with Abe Lincoln's brain cavity. I have received some strange assignments over the years from the incredible Irene Gallo at Tor Books. I seem to be the go-to guy for exploding heads, midnight cthulhu encounters, and now time travel. The upshot of of this story is a time traveller who sets up a one-bedroom apartment inside Abraham Lincoln's head moments before he is assassinated. It's a twisted tale that's skillfully spun out by author Douglas F. Warrick.

You can read the entire story here.

It's interesting how a theme or concept can manifest itself in different ways from completely different sources. I had another time travel assignment land on my desk, from Bill Hunter at Canadian Lawyer. This was a trip in terms of the complexity and depth of the image. The cover image tied future past and present concepts involving intellectual property issues from a legal standpoint. No problem.

The inside feature was based on three different articles about legacy and genetic heritage issues, educational copyrights and the frontiers of IP in areas like 3D printing and big data. These spots were used as lead-ins.

Monday
Feb292016

Life, the Universe, and Everything

I had the honour of working on this cover image for Queen's Alumni Magazine. Dr. Arthur McDonald was awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize for his research and discoveries in physics. This assignment combined my love of science with a challenging cover assignment, to explain the unseen, the subatomic, the Neutrino Breakthrough.

I am not a particle theorist, but I know this. Dr. McDonald and his team of researchers built an observatory 2 km deep in a mine shaft in Sudbury. What they discovered enhanced our understanding of physics and what we are made of, energy and the universe around us. The name of the observatory was SNOLAB, filled with heavy water and removed from man-made electric energy fields and interference.

Every second millions of neutrinos pass through us, unhindered and non-reactive, generated from deep within the sun. So then, how can they be observed and quantified?

Here's a very brief synopsis.

1.      Neutrinos are sub-atomic particles coming from the sun.
2.      There are three “flavours” of neutrinos: electrons, muon, and tau.
3.       Neutrinos switch flavours during their oscillation.
4.      Their oscillations prove that neutrinos have mass.

The SNOLAB observatory was able to record the oscillation of neutrinos. During oscillation, energy is released in the form of a photon. Observing this phenomenon established the mass of neutrinos, and enhanced our understanding of the universe in terms of it's overall mass, which affects how we understand where we came from and where we are heading.

The final illustration depicts a logorhythmic chain of images, from the sun to the earth to the SNOLAB sphere to the inner workings of an atom. A window into what we are made of.

Thanks to Andrea Gunn, Dr. Arthur McDonald, and the people at Queen's. Keep up the good work!

 

 

Wednesday
Feb242016

Home Brew

I've been known to relax with a pint or two after I get the work done. So I am raising a glass to Zymurgy magazine, who hired me for their January edition, an annual best directory of home brewing inventions and innovation. If you are wondering, Zymurgy is defined as the the study or practice of fermentation in brewing, winemaking, or distilling.

Last winter my family bought me a home-brew kit, which required a lot of sterilizing and boiling wort. It was an intense experience and I now can appreciate the guys who do it right. My beer ended up flat and watered down, with the exception of the one bottle I let sit for an extra couple of months. That last pour was tasty and lively, and was encouraging. I have to try it again and do it better next time.

Reading over the content of the article, I was inspired by all the creative thinking, observation, and home-spun solutions to complicated problems, like refrigeration coils, carbonation and dispensers. The brewers involved were concerned with getting the perfect pour, the right chill and obsessing over flavour, hops, alcohol content and colour. Getting the right balance is always important and nice to see others so dedicated to their craft.

Beer and illustration is a natural fit for me. I have done labels in the past, and have another project in the works. I always like doing covers, and the art director Jason Smith was great to work with. I worked with a beautifully photographed glass of beer, something that was a change, but also fit into the final artwork seemlessly.

 

The colour was adjusted and the title placed over the glass on the final edit of the cover.