Monday, November 28, 2011

Sad Dippy Birds

Albuquerque, New Mexico is hot and dry. Consequently, water conservation is a hot topic down there. I did this for Alibi magazine for an article about how their underperforming surface water treatment plant (see the Colorado River and the actual treatment plant in the background) means they are pumping their aquifer for more water than planned.

So I naturally went with dippy birds. Conceptually it has to do with how dippy birds consume water at a regular pace and the water treatment plant can't keep up with that pace, much like how the water treatment plant in the news article can't produce enough water to provide for Albuquerque's rate of consumption. I also used dippy birds because they are adorable.


My other idea was using an hourglass image, where the water treatment plant is at the top and the water is very slowly dripping down into the bottom bulb. I liked it because hourglasses are usually filled with sand and the water treatment plant is filtering out that sand, but I didn't think it made an interesting visual and it didn't work well for the square dimensions for the job. The water drop that's falling has the water treatment plant logo in it! But the sketch just didn't do it for me :P.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Circus Mind: "David Bowie"

Who doesn't love a dash of Ziggy Stardust? I created this image for Ryan Cox's book "A Circus Mind". Ryan has created a Kickstarter Project for his book, click here and check out the fun stuff you can earn by donating!

I love the opportunity to play with a new way of working. I don't usually do a lot of decorative stuff or general weirdness. What better time to get a little weird than with a glam rock Bowie?

"A Circus Mind" is a collaboration between me, Zela Lobb, Dushan Milic, and Andy Potts. And author Ryan Cox, of course! One of the fun ideas we had to make the images work together was to use a fixed colour palette. The more of these illustrations I post, the more you'll notice that the same colours are being used in different ways. I'm such a big palette junkie that having that part of the job taken out of the equation frees me up from labouring over minute colour adjustments. It's liberating!


Monday, November 14, 2011

New image for sale on Society6

I haven't added any images to my Society6 store in ages, so it's about time! This was a cover I did three years ago for the Weekly Alibi and I've always been fond of it. It was for a feature article about fast food culture in America -- Considering how much Americans (and Canadians!) love fast food I figured having a mischievous cherub taking aim at the hearts of consumers with a ketchup-tipped arrow would be appropriate.

When I was in college the Harvey's value burger was a nice treat. At $1.70 (or was that $1.20?) it was considerably and suspiciously cheaper than the regular burgers. I don't think they serve it any more and I don't want to think too hard about why that might be. Cutting the beef with sawdust? Serving old patties? All I can say is that they were delicious and economical and never sickened me.

McDonald's fries are the classic choice, but I find myself gravitating towards the Swiss Chalet version. The bits of skin on the Swiss Chalet ones indicate to me that I'm eating real potatoes -- so wholesome! New York Fries serves Butter Chicken Poutine and it is terrifying. The large has 970 calories and 47g of fat.


Monday, November 7, 2011

SXSW for Alibi

Hello, Austin! The Weekly Alibi asked me to do an illustration for their article about South by Southwest. The author recounts what SXSW is like from a musician's point of view -- the road trip, the concerts, the meetings, the hanging out.

After having worked for the Weekly Alibi for years, I almost feel like I'm developing a particular style for their magazine. Kinda whimsical, bouncy, and fun. And a predominantly warm colour palette. Because New Mexico is probably warm a lot of the time. I wish my artistic decision was based on more than that, but there you go!

One more thing: the author of the article wrote that their Toyota van smelled bad. Those are bad smell fumes. Not any other kind :P.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New Macleans illustration on newsstands next week

My latest illustration for Macleans. Look for this one to come out next week, subscribers will already have it. Nothing beats having an illustration published and mailed to my door three days after I've emailed it to the art director!

I got this job the same day another job was due (one I'm really excited to share, that'll be an epic December post!). I was exhausted but I don't turn down work. Well, in about five years I've turned down two jobs and that's it. In fact, this other job came in during the same aforementioned epic project -- I can't say no!

The subject of the illustration had one of those iconic green turtle sandboxes, where he first showed his love of construction sites and building things. I knew I wanted to use the sandbox as the framing device. It's fun to do a non-rectangular frame to mix it up from time to time. I've noticed that I use water in a lot of my frames, so this time I wanted to include it in a different way. The subject lived on a lake and enjoyed fishing in the summers and hockey in the winters. Sometimes I depict things too literally, it's tough for me to make stuff even a little abstract. I think I managed to do it a little in this one. Baby steps!

Back to the tiredness. You know those times when you're so exhausted you have to shake yourself awake every five seconds, like you're a teen in a Freddy Krueger movie? That was me on this job. I'd been pulling sixteen hour days for eleven days straight and I was coming off of an all-nighter leading up to this. My definition of all-nighter = awake for twenty-four hours straight. I realize that some people define it merely as staying up all night and going to bed the next morning or afternoon. That's sad. Anyway, by the end of this job I'd been up for about thirty-four hours. I felt a little rough. I think you can tell by the following sketch (which was for my purposes only, I don't submit sketches in this state to art directors!):

And here's the sketch after I attacked it with my Wacom tablet:

Inking something with a brush becomes really challenging if you are nodding off every five seconds. The brush started diving into the paper of its own accord. Tryin' to screw with me! But I totally won. I beat that double-zero sable brush by technical knock-out. It was close, though...