April 26, 2005

15: Gimyowallet (a.k.a. "Daring")

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My last Illustration Friday submission took fifteen minutes to draw. This one took about five hours from start to finish.

The week's theme – daring – gave me an idea almost right away. I wanted to draw a small, shy girl at a Spin The Bottle party, staring down the barrel of a two-litre Coke bottle with a tight gaggle of pointy-fingered, taunting kids hunched behind it. But I couldn't really make it work without reference, and even though Kerry volunteered to pose for me, I came up with a second concept instead – featuring this daring little man (above).

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I sketched this illustration out in pencil pretty much as it's shown above, only at first the fella was facing the goons, back to the viewer with two clenched fists. Once I was confident about it, I added the pen work. I scanned it and added colours and texturing in Photoshop, using overlays of close-up photos of rusted metal I took at a Newfoundland shipwreck site in 2002. Skin tones use the same overlays with inverting and hue shifts. You can click on the thumbnail image (right) for a closer view.

And most importantly: it was a ton of fun to do.

April 20, 2005

14: Hammer Time

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I didn't think I would have the time to post an Illustration Friday submission this week. But I just finished prepping my HOWieZine pages. So lookit me now!

This is what I imagined Illustration Friday was built on in the first place. Doodles. I peruse the submissions and I'm always wowed by the craft, the time commitment – and sometimes even the complexity – of folks' work. That's why I always dig my man Allan Lorde's stuff. It's simple. It conveys the message. It's fun. And now go do something else. That's what I did this week, in drawing this doodle right in my grid-paper work notes. It's my interpretation of the word reinvent, this week's theme. And it took all of fifteen minutes.

I've heard there are finches on the Galapagos Islands that have actually learned to use 'tools' to find food. Some use twigs to extract hard-to-get seeds or to tip eggs out of other birds' nests. So here's this guy, basically taking that concept one step further. It's reinventing the finch, baby.

April 13, 2005

In The Big House

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After two arduous, seven-day white-knuckle weeks, Kerry and I found a house.
Yes, it had been an exhausting and sometimes brutal ordeal but we finally – finally – have our place. A house. H-O-U-S-E. In Snoop: A hizz-ouse in tha hizz-ouse.

Two weeks. Never in a lentillion years would we have ever imagined it over that quickly. I expected weeks and weeks – months, maybe – of ups and downs and downs and downs. We always considered the odds were equal that it could happen in April just as easily as it could in September. Or next year. But neither of us were prepared for it to actually happen.

Item! Our house – in the middle of the street – is at 157 Lenore Street (above, not the greatest quality image, but it's all I've got for now). It was built in 1911. It has two stories with a tiny, single-room third floor and a front screened-in verandah. It has a parlor with a gas fireplace. A bathroom with two sinks – for teeth-brushing races (I dunno?). A yard. Two yards. I haven't had a yard for eleven years. Do people still have yards? I know there was a trend towards artificial turf in the early 90s. I think ours is natural.

My friend Stacey, a recent house-purchaser herself, asked me the other day if I had the "Oh Shit" feeling. And it's true. All week Kerry and I have slept poorly, ate crappily and have spent a great deal of time staring at each other.

But today is beautiful and sunny. I wrapped up the deadline-heavy spring issue of my magazine. And I'm about to become a homeowner. I've officially turned the "Oh Shit" feeling into a "Holy Shit" one.

We get to go inside – to live – in July.

So that calls for some props. Let the congratulations rain down!

April 05, 2005

13: Rerun

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I'm off to dedicate the next few chunks of my time to a project I signed on to with about 50 other members of HOW magazine's online forums: The HOWieZine. The HOWieZine operates much like Illustration Friday, only it's more like Illustration OnceInAWhile. Contributors pick a theme (this issue is black and white), build two pages dealing with their interpretation of the theme, print as many copies as there are contributors, mail them to one super-dedicated soul who volunteers to craft them into books and then mails out said books – made up of everyone's submissions – back to all who took part.

So while I go about crafting my HOWieZine contribution, I dug deep into the JeopeVault and pulled this drawing to represent this week's Illustration Friday theme – the word travel. This sketch is from a book Kerry and I made for her niece and nephew one Christmas. Kerry wrote the story, I drew the pictures. It was an awesome collaboration. It's still one of the favourite things I've ever made. So...Merry Christmas!