Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everyone! Hope it's spooky and fun and full of seasonally small candy bars :D

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Band Lottery for the Weekly Alibi

Rock band lottery illustration for the Weekly Alibi
Here's one for the Weekly Alibi, for a band lottery (link to the article) in Albuquerque, in which bands are randomly constructed from individual musicians and play in a concert together. Sounds like a blast!

Aside from a brief stint as a flautist (flutist, flute player, etc.) in elementary and middle school and some choir stuff in high school I'm not very musical at all. Even when I'm working or working out, I prefer podcasts over music. 

I listen to many hours of podcasts during the week, including: The Indoor Kids, Stuff You Should Know, Stuff You Missed in History Class, WoW Insider, WTF with Marc Maron, The Joe Rogan Experience, Talkin' Toons with Rob Paulsen, and Mike and Tom Eat Snacks. There was a time when I'd listen to the old XFM Podcasts with Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and Karl Pilkington repeatedly, pretty much all the series and seasons. Those are golden!

Any podcast recommendations?

-- Julia

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My nail polish collection

nail polish collection
More make-up sketch stuff! (Here's the rest of it). I thought it'd be handy for me to have all of this in one place so I can see what I've got at a glance. Conclusion? A lot of these look very similar :P. Although the scan can't really show the different shimmery bits and such, and certainly didn't do justice to the fluorescent polishes of the "Outrageous Neons" mini collection I picked up recently. 

I'm still working on that gelatin-themed personal piece -- just thought it might be fun to whip up something quick this week! 

-- Julia

Monday, October 22, 2012

New Macleans illustration on newsstands

Macleans back page illustration
My latest back page illustration for Macleans! The subject is Gloria Taylor, the first Canadian to win the legal right to doctor-assisted suicide. In the end she didn't need to exercise that right (Taylor died of an infection) but having that choice whether she needed it or not was the vital thing. 

When I'm working on these illustrations I often draw from where the person came from and what they did. In this case, Gloria lived in West Kelowna (I found a mountain that is in that area and drew it at the top right). She managed a trailer park (top centre). She loved motorcycles and would visit South Dakota often while riding her Harley (side left). Gloria was known for her beautiful handwriting (bottom left). The origami bird in the bottom right is the logo for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, which she worked with to mount the case for doctor-assisted suicide. And on the right side is a representation of Hardy Falls, one of her favourite places -- It was her wish to have her ashes dispersed there. 

And here's the spot illustration for Macleans' iPad app:

And sketch. I ended up flipping it because I had the B.C. Civil Liberties Association logo reversed. 

-- Julia

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

God of Gelatin: Giant glorious aspic and industrial uses

Gelatin God: Pagan and Regency and delish!
Click to enlarge -- The pics below, too!

 Nearly done the pencils for this illustration! I've tightened it up in some places and added some of the industrial uses for gelatin: Photographic film, a substrate for cell cultures, and ballistic gelatin. Not to mention the monstrous aspic containing eggs, shrimp, olives, brussel sprouts, and cubes of ham. 

It's been nice to be able to take a leisurely approach to this piece, working in fits and starts and having fun with the little details!

-- Julia

Thursday, October 4, 2012

God of Gelatin -- Work in Progress

God of Gelatin, Regency era and primal. Delicious treats!
(Click images to enlarge.)
Added some gelatin-containing foods to the sketch (counter-clockwise from the far left): Trifle, animal hide glue in a pot, licorice allsorts, gumdrops, jelly beans, and marshmallows. I'm hoping to stick a glorious giant aspic in the back, full of hard boiled eggs and bits of meat. 

And I still have to work in the nymph/fairy/pixie Isinglass. Isinglass is the swim bladders of fish, also used to make gelatin. I kinda think Isinglass is a lovely name for a mystical creature!

Here's my initial post on this sketch, with more details.

-- Julia

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, for Macleans magazine

The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling for Macleans magazine
Click to enlarge
"The Casual Vacancy" is J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults. Needless to say, it's pretty big news! I did this illustration for Maclean's magazine to accompany an article about the book. The issue should be on newsstands now.

This is my first colour illustration for Macleans, so I was super excited to do it! Here are some of the other pieces I've done for them. 

The challenge for this piece was that the contents of the book were a closely guarded secret. All I had to work with was the same blurb that was making the rounds all around the internet:

"When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.
Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?
A big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other."

-- taken from Little, Brown Book Group's site, the UK publisher of the book. 

There's definitely some stuff to work from there, but key details such as time period aren't mentioned. Nothing is known about the characters, particularly their physical appearances. Luckily I was able to dig up a Guardian article on the book that gave me some more info: Barry's death deeply affects a young girl who'd befriended him. The book is set in the present day and class struggle is central to the book. 

The art director and I knew that the figures couldn't be too prominent and that the town ought to take centre stage, considering it's the bit in the blurb that is described the most. But there is no actual Pagford! I found this article by the Independent about a town called Kelso that has all the elements required to qualify as a representation of the fictional setting: cobbled market square, ancient abbey nearby, and about the right population. So I found photos of Kelso's old abbey, town hall, and town square and used them to inspire me!

I wanted the whole thing to look foreboding and mysterious, with conflict boiling under the surface. Looks like a storm is coming to Pagford! Better batten the hatches :). 

A Casual Vacancy inked sketch
Inked, pre-colouring. At this stage I was a little concerned because without the grey tones knocking the town into the distance the whole thing looks jumbly. 

Tonal sketch. 

A Casual Vacancy, work in progress
Transition stage between the pencil sketch and the tonal sketch. I tightened up the pencils using my Wacom tablet and added a lot of detail.

A Casual Vacancy, pencil sketch
Initial pencil sketch. The basic idea is there, but I fiddled a lot with the scale of the buildings in subsequent sketches. And where's the girl!?

-- Julia