Thursday, January 27, 2011


"Paprika" is one of those trippy, dreamy, imaginative and stunning movies. Director Satoshi Kon died last year, which made me very sad. I loved his movies "Millennium Actress" and "Tokyo Godfathers"and I was looking forward to many more years of his work. "Paranoia Agent" is on my must-see list.

Lately a lot of movies have not touched me emotionally whatsoever, and it sometimes makes me think my brain is broken or something, or that I'm old and jaded. But then all I have to do is think about certain scenes in Kon's work or Miyazaki's and it makes me realize that most movies just kind of suck.

This decorative piece I did reminds me a little of the joyfully anarchic jumble of imagery Kon gave us in "Paprika". It's not wriggling, marching, or playing a tune, but I thought I'd put it out there.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A million little legs

The first time I saw a house centipede I was totally appalled and horrified. I immediately thought "I must move." And by move I didn't mean move into another room so I wouldn't have to look at this disturbing insect, I mean move as in pack up my things and leave.

House centipedes are too big to live in Toronto. We're not living in a tropical paradise, the trade-off is that we don't have to deal with insects the size of zeppelins. I thought that was the deal! But house centipedes (*shudder*) wiggle their disgusting legs in the face of such an absurd notion. They go wherever they please. Including up walls, which I will never, ever be okay with. Worms and snakes do just fine with no legs. If you are going to be a revolting tube of undulating flesh, be decent enough to leave it at that. Forget the legs. You are grossing enough people out as it is.

I call this colour palette "Cappuccino Dream".

" Wriggling Silhouettes"

"Raspberry Inverted Silhouettes"

"Electric Pink Uneasiness"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Don't Dream of this Jeannie

Julia Minamata site/blog

Here's an illo I did for the Weekly Alibi for Tom Nayder. It's about New Mexico's governor Susana Martinez and some controversy that got kicked up after she halted some environmental reforms that were already passed. The New Mexico Environmental Law Center is suing the newly minted gov because they say her actions were illegal.

According to the article Tom sent me, Gov. Martinez doesn't believe in a link between human activity and global warming. She got hundreds of thousands of dollars from the oil and gas industries during her campaign, which may have something to do with this, yes? Maybe?

On a happier note, anyone else remember that wacky 1960s sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie"? Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman? How much fun was that show? I can still hear the theme music in my head. For this piece I thought it might be fun to draw the governor as a genie (Jeannie?) because POOF! She became governor and then POOF! She puts those new environmental rules on ice. Genies work fast, and in mysterious ways.

She is also coming out of a smokestack to indicate her supposed ties with big oil and gas, with a big, scary, lightning-filled cloud coming out of the other smokestacks to represent how environmentalists may feel about her time in office.

On a stylistic note, I decided to try an illustration where I don't use my usual dark lines to separate the shapes. I like the effect, I may try it more in the future!

Ooh, and I almost forgot -- I use Photoshop to decide what the colours are going to be for a piece, but then I get my inks out and try to recreate those colours on paper. Then, I scan the piece in and that's the final illustration. About 95% of the time I do not alter my colours in Photoshop after I've made my silkscreen print, beyond corrections to ensure it'll show up well in a magazine. Occasionally I'll have such an epic colour fail and a looming deadline that I have to perform some Photoshop magic to make the piece look good.

This is one of those pieces. I'm usually pleased with my colour choices, but this illustration just wasn't cooperating. It was defeating me! Here is what the printed colours were (*wince):

Okay, not so bad. But Jeannie should be pink. It's like a law of nature.

More colour ideas:

And here's the sketch!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Gnome Rogue T

I made this t-shirt for a gnome rogue our guild met online and then in real life! We totally did a guild meet-up with the five of us at an Indian buffet and it was so much fun.

I mailed this to him later for xmas (along with some xmas cookies) to thank him for meeting us and although he doesn't play Warcraft any more, we still keep in touch. In fact, I've met FOUR guildies who we initially met online in real life and they all turned out to be super-cool individuals. And we still do fun email chains and share life news. I never thought I'd enjoy the social aspect of WoW so much :).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Penguins project complete!

Here's an overview of the card game I did for a friend's xmas gift. We've got a painted metal box, some tokens, and double-sided cards with original art. Not quite my usual stuff, but thought I'd share it! To see the art up-close, click here. Sometimes it's fun to do something completely different!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Psychic Predictions

Started 2011 off right, with a cover from Tom Nayder at the Weekly Alibi. I love doing these because they are large (about 10"x10") and in full, bold colour. This is for their "Psychic Predictions" issue. The type goes across the top in the middle and off to the left. I always try to consciously leave space for Tom to stick type. It's one of those challenges that I love about editorial illustration. And I also love how Tom picks up on the reddish orange in the piece for the text.

My boyfriend's family has a New Year's eve tradition where they order Chinese take-out. Judging from how busy the place gets on that day, I imagine they're not the only ones that do this. I suppose the Chinese take-out container and fortune cookie concept in this cover is a bit of a tip of that hat to that tradition.

Originally I had a concept where the psychic was using a Magic 8 ball as a crystal ball -- Unfortunately, I found out they'd already done that as the cover before! So I stuck a Magic 8 ball in the bottom left corner anyway because I'm not about to let a good idea go to waste. Even if it wasn't mine!

Julia Minamata site/blog