Entries in studio (4)


A Season of Change

I've had some time to settle in, to establish new routines. Change is good - we lived 16 years and established strong ties to our previous community. But we also felt restless - new opportunities and living in a larger community were a big draw. My family is changing quickly - my oldest son is getting ready to go to University and my youngest is always looking for new sports to get involved with. They have been thriving, going to a good school and getting involved, volunteering and making new friends. 

I also gave up my studio, which I designed and built myself. It was a beautiful space, but over the years was burdened by clutter. Putting things into their right place is a good process to go through, even if it means filling a dumpster or two. I now feel motivated to make new things and explore new directions.

I've had an incredibly busy fall, with two book projects on the go and some fantastic editorial work (more on this later). 

Here's an inside view of the studio. North and South facing windows. Nice, bright and open space to work. I have a lot of art to frame and hang, but the essentials are there - the light table, computer desk and flat files.

Here's a view of my cluttered desk.

And a few knicknacks and books from my well-curated collection.

 Time to get to work!


Work, life & my studio

I have made a lot of changes in my work and life this fall. I began teaching at Sheridan, a huge leap for me in terms of lifetime goals and also a big commute. It's a major adjustment to make, but the experience has been very positive, so far. It is also a reason why I haven't posted much work lately. I have been super busy, assignment wise, so look for some upcoming posts about what's on my desk and what I have been doing this fall.

I was happy to have my work included in the latest Work/Life annual, published by Uppercase. They are based in Calgary and put out some fantastic and inspirational collections of designers, artists, and illustrators, and Uppercase magazine.

I was asked to create an illustration of my studio space, something that I designed and built myself. Since I spend most of my time in the studio, it is something that holds a central focus in my life.  Having the right place to work, to be creative is critical to my success as an artist. Everything has to fit together.

Lots of great talent in this collection, like James Gulliver Hancock, Carey Sookocheff, Michael Byers, Jessica Brilli & more.

You can see more images of my studio here. You can also find out about why I need a compass.




Bright Lights

Last month I had a television crew at the studio. Interview and filming for an upcoming series about art and artists who work on the boundaries of art. I was nervous going into this, but the crew from Whistlestop put me at ease and made the whole process enjoyable.

I was working on a tight deadline during the filming, turning around sketches for an assignment for the New York Times that day. Trying to get the right expressions on a pair of privileged tots was not going according to plan. That's just how things go, and having to concentrate on getting things right gave me a focus beyond the camera pointed in my direction.



Sometimes getting things right takes a few tries. I think this took 9 rounds in total. I was struggling with baby-like faces and expressions, but in the end, I'm glad that we could work this out, get things right.



You can see the article here. Always great to work with Minh Uong. The starts off with a hoax about genetic testing for preschoolers, that people actually bought into. Competition between parents getting their children into the right preschool is getting more and more intense. How far will things go? This may just be the next step.


Studio Tour

I grew up working in construction. Learning how to build is an important asset for me. I use it when I put an illustration together, and it really helped when I built my studio space.

When we bought our house I looked at the out building, an old corrugated metal and wood barn, as a potential knock-down. My brother pointed out the concrete foundation and the relative squareness of the structure, still solid. I rented a studio space for a short while and spent the summer planning and framing the studio on the upper floor, converting the space from an old hayloft. That was fourteen years ago.

Here are some interior shots: 

I worked with my friend Mark Guildenhaar, a talented furniture designer, to design and build a computer desk over 15 years ago. That desk has followed me around through a couple of moves and I sit at it every day.


The view from the stairwell. The computer desk sits behind the bookcase.





 I know this is cheesy, but I painted a compass on floor. When I first moved here, my sense of direction was a bit off-kilter. I've sorted things out since then, but I like to think it keeps me pointed in the right direction.









It's great to have a space away from the house and kids, and the commute is a breeze. Pants must be put on, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.












I asked my dad, the pro, to build a winding staircase. It's a real space saver and it's a beautiful stairwell. I must go up and down this thing about 100 times a day.











The old barn, with the studio on the upper floor. Drop by any time, but remember - first you'll have to get past 'killer