December 29, 2008

Ought Eight

I've done this four times now since the inception of Jeopopolis – take a gander through the calendar year's output, grid them together in one lump and look them over one final time before the next year commences. Just to make sure I'm still doing good, to make sure it still makes me happy. And – sans a couple of dry spots and busy spells – for the most part I am still, on both counts. So, I will keep doing it. And I hope you keep watching, reading and remain encouraging. The commentary I receive always means so much.

December 22, 2008

170: Voicing On Nibbles

Illustration Friday's pre-Christmas theme is voices. And for a few short years during my childhood, the voice of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve must have sounded an awful lot like the nocturnal squeaks of my pet gerbil.

My memory is hazy when it comes to so many key childhood moments. I dislike myself about that. One notable – and timely – example is the circumstances surrounding the suspension of my belief in Santa Claus. I don't remember the secret being spoiled in the schoolyard, by TV or my bigger siblings. But I was usually one to quickly deduce things – even minutiae like how similar Santa's handwriting was to my mom's. But pre-dating this discovery, my brother and I owned a pair of gerbils – Friend (his) and Nibbles (mine, making for an awesome what's-your-pornstar-name: Nibbles Kingswood). And as those formative Christmases rolled by, fewer presents arrived in my stocking or under the tree from Santa – and more began arriving from Nibbles. Then following Friend's and Nibbles' brief gerbilian lifespans, Christmas gifts then became the exclusive responsibility of my family.

And that was pretty much that. A nice, smooth transition, no questions asked.

So in honour of my childhood proxy Santa – Nibbles the gerbil – I sat down and attempted my first real attempt at sketching her, something I never did as a kid when Nibbles was alive and chewing happily through our discarded toilet paper rolls.

You can click here to see a closer look at the pen detail.

December 19, 2008

169: Pine For Thee

Presenting our latest piece of work: the 2008 entry into our pantheon of living room Christmas trees. This is the fourth Christmas tree in our house, and quite possibly the biggest – though that was never our intention, after last year's behemoth found itself representing in the front yard after it was found to be too big for our New Year's Eve wedding. But it's amazing how a flattened and frozen tree on the lot can turn into a colossus once it unfurls itself in the comfort of our home. Next year it's a smaller one. Promise.

Before it was decorated this thing was intimidating, glowering as we sat on the sofa. It came from our lot of choice – and the frozen soul who runs it – outside the Grant Park Zellers; a locally-grown red pine that was strapped to our Civic like a rack of brontosaurus ribs.

Be sure to nab a better view (and different angle) over here, on Flickr.

Merry Christmas, blog-o-sphere!

December 09, 2008

168: Yavatar

Here's me – continuing my playing around with the macro lens – shooting a familiar subject, the little stone ookpik sculpture that has eventually become my brand. I continue to use a vectorized version of this fellow – that I made in Freehand a few years ago – as my avatar here and on a handful of other internet haunts. And during yesterday's Creative Night (following a failed drawing), I sat down and tested just how accurate my hand and eye are at manual focusing with my ookpik and our red sofa.

December 02, 2008

167: Balloons Save Lives

I go through doldrums like any creatuve type, and they tend to hit my psyche hard. I get down on myself. So Kerry and I first tried the concept of "Creative Night" – her as writer, me as illustrator – last January, resulting in this drawing of a painted bunting for Illustration Friday's theme of "stitch". For one reason or another, Creative Night didn't take – but we resurrected it a few weeks ago after I went a pallid stretch of about three months without drawing a single thing (except for this doodle), and since then I've reeled off submissions for Illustration Friday's past three themes of "pretend", "opinion" and now balloon. My entry was inspired by a sequence of photos in an old National Geographic I read, in which a leopard seal literally whip-lashed the skin right off a penguin for a meal. And I thought, well, a balloon might have helped that penguin.

Critters drawn separately using calligraphic and brush pens; image seamed together in Photoshop. Click here for access to a more detailed view.