Happy Year of the Pig!

In celebration of the Lunar New Year, I created this illustration using my traditional linocut technique and the app, ProCreate, on my ipad.
Wishing everyone a year of peace, joy and prosperity!

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Fun and Game!

I was commissioned by Spin Master Games to create 41 faux tarot cards for the game, “Trust Me, I’m Psychic.” I had a great time being “weirdly symbolic” and was fortunate to have all the references I needed close at hand. I’m a huge fan of tarot art and have a collection of decks that provided inspiration for the game cards. The deadline was tight so I had to keep things moving. Once the roughs were approved, I carved each card at about 9″ x 12,” then printed, scanned and colored them in Photoshop. I couldn’t think of a more perfect assignment for me!

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“Trust Me, I’m Psychic” ©Spin Master Games Inc.

SCBWI BookStop

BookStop_Page

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators BookStop launched today! For one month #SCBWIBookStop has tons of books for kids and teens you can browse and buy. Check out my page for An African Alphabet written by Eric Walters, published by Orca Book Publishers.

The Buskers are Coming!

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I have had the pleasure of creating art for the Sun Life Financial Waterloo Busker Carnival for several years. It is one of my favourite assignments and this year was no exception. It is worth the drive to Waterloo, Ontario to catch a bunch of awesome street performers working their magic from August 24 – 27!

The making of a linocut illustration

An interest in Revolutionary and Napoleonic France propelled me to explore the lives of influential women from the period. I developed an interest in the fascinating life of Josephine Bonaparte and have written and illustrated a graphic novel about her  journey from a plantation in Martinique, through the Terror to become Empress of France. The rough dummy is complete and a few pieces of final art, including this scene of a Victims’ Ball. Legend has it that after the Terror victims gathered to dance wildly as a release from the horrors they had experienced under the Jacobins.  Women and men sheared their hair at the nape of the neck where the guillotine blade would have fallen. Women purportedly wore red chokers for the same reason. The historical accuracy of these accounts is contentious but it makes for an interesting story.

VictimBall_sketch
This is the preliminary sketch of the Victims’ Ball scene. I usually do my roughs in felt tip pen but this was so detailed I thought it might be more efficient to use pencil and eraser rather than continually retracing as the drawing develops. I got into the habit of working with pen on tracing paper from my days as a retail layout artist.

VictimsBall_lino
This is the scan of a detail of the inked linoleum carving. I am so accustomed to thinking in reverse after all these years in printmaking that I have trouble discerning reality from its mirror image. I can, however, read text backward with great facility.

VictimBall_Paper
I often use a textured background under my line work and colorize it in Photoshop with Hue/Saturation. This is one of my favourite textures, a scanned sheet of kraft paper. The process may look laborious but I have gained speed over the years and still enjoy the combination of hand carving and digital work. Variety is the spice of life!