Book Cover

CageWithoutBars_cover

Second Story Press commissioned me to illustrate the cover of A Cage Without Bars, a middle grade historical novel by Toronto author, Anne Dublin. It tells the tragic story of enslaved Spanish Jewish children on the island of Sao Tome in 1492. An inspiring read for all ages!

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgotten Women

Franciscan Media commissioned me to illustrate the story, Forgotten Women of the New Testament, for St. Anthony Messenger magazine. I love this business because I learn something new everyday! I am a big fan of medieval art and enjoy illustrating saints and religious icons. My linocut technique seems a good fit for these kinds of stories and I am inspired by historical accounts of intrepid women who pushed through societal limitations to change the world.

Black History Month

dacosta_promo

I was commissioned by Andrew Perro Design to create a mockup for a Canada Post stamp. To illustrate this portrait of Mathieu Da Costa, the first black man to visit Canada in the early 1600s, I researched his life as a free African employed as a translator by French traders and explorers. Da Costa spoke French, Dutch, Portuguese and possibly some North American aboriginal languages. My interpretation of Mathieu is a hand-carved linocut with digital color.