Rain Poem illustration part 2

Last week I shared the rough sketch process, this week I am sharing the final illustration for the poster project I recently completed. These are the final images, I like the lightness of them, and they feel appropriate for children, as they were going into elementary schools.


This is the print for the kid illustration:


I cut out the image, and colored it digitally in Photoshop.

These are the prints and drawings I used to create the hands/heart illustration. I carved several hands separately, and collaged them together in Photoshop. The heart and raindrops I drew by hand in ink, and then scanned them in and applied texture digitally to create a linocut look. A little shortcut I use sometimes. 🙂

Thanks for reading about the process! Hope you found it interesting.


Rain Poem illustration

In March I was commissioned to create an illustration for Asian Heritage Month (April). The client was creating a series of posters with Canadian author’s poetry, and wanted Canadian illustrator’s work to accompany it. The posters went up in elementary schools in Ontario.

The poem I was assigned was titled “Poem for the Rain” (appropriate for me, living in Vancouver). This is the rough the client chose to go with.


These are the other roughs I presented:

These are some of my rough sketches that I scanned in, and then arranged digitally to create the roughs.

Next week I will share the final illustration. Stay tuned!

Armando’s Meats Etching

Started working on my little square etching of the Armando’s Meats sign from the Farmer’s Market. Pretty happy with it so far.


I did the linework with soft ground, to get a pencil line look. Then I did a very light aquatint for a little bit of shading around the sign, and some tone on the wall in the background. I’ll probably add some more shadows with the roulette.


Here is a process shot. This is blocking out the areas for the aquatint.

Using Reference

I thought I would write a little bit about how I use reference when drawing or completing an illustration. Firstly, I think it is essential to always use reference when drawing, as it will make your drawings more believeable. Even when drawing a mythical creature, or something that doesn’t exist in reality, it is best to reference animals and combine them together, or use as a base to create your own creature.

Use several reference images when drawing an illustration, don’t copy directly from one reference image. Using several reference images and customizing them for your own uses will make your illustration more authentic. It also protects you from copyright infringement.

These reference photos I used for a recent illustration commission. I was drawing a kid with an umbrella, standing in the rain. The photo on the right had the pose I was looking for, but didn’t have a bottom half, so I found a photo with the full body. I combined these two reference images while drawing:


This is the drawing I used to transfer to the lino block, and carved a linocut for the illustration.

Another thing you can do is create your own reference photos. I usually go to Google as a first stop to find reference. But Google doesn’t always have the right photos, or not exactly what you are looking for. In this case, you can take your own reference photos. That way you can get the exact pose you are looking for.

Here is an example of when I took my own reference photos for an illustration project.


This is my sister, and I often get her to pose for me for reference images. Thanks sis! In this case I took several photos, and collaged them together, so I could draw from it.


This is the rough sketch I drew from it. This is a killed sketch, it never got used in the final illustration.

Those are my thoughts on using reference images. These examples are for conceptual illustrations, but the same ideas apply for realistic illustrations.

Wooden Duck Etching

I was going through old sketchbooks the other day, and came across some drawings that I thought would make some nice etchings. This drawing is of an old childhood toy that I have sitting on my bookshelf. It’s a simple wooden duck pull toy. According to my mom, I pulled it around everywhere when I was a toddler.


I started an etching of this drawing last week. I used the rosin box for the first time, and got a really fine aquatint, for a nice even grey tone.


Still a lot of work to do of course, this is the first proof. I want to add something to the background, but am not sure what yet.

Here is a process shot. This is painting with the hard ground to block out areas I want to stay white. The exposed area (the duck) is the aquatint area, and will etch.


Saying No

I received a phone call last week requesting a logo design. I’m usually excited about new projects, however this person expected the logo by Monday. They phoned me on Friday morning. I politely told them: no, it wasn’t possible for me to design a logo in two days. I usually need two to three weeks for logo design.

In the past I would have jumped at the opportunity for a new project, and would have bent over backwards to produce a logo on that ridiculous deadline. I have learned that clients who do not respect what you do, and do not respect the time it takes, are not worth it, financially or emotionally.

I have learned to say no to projects, and to let projects go. There is plenty of work to go around. I have learned to set boundaries for my own sanity. I only decide to take on projects that meet my criteria:

Respectable budget

Do-able timeline/deadline

I am excited about the work

It’s pretty easy for me to get excited about projects, because anytime I can get paid to be creative is awesome. So the more important questions for me are:

Does the client have a decent budget?

            Am I able to meet the deadline?

Sometimes I let the budget criteria slide a bit, because maybe it’s an awesome client or project that I can support, and I can get a really cool portfolio piece out of it. And, let’s be honest, sometimes any extra money I can get my hands on is good.


Small Sketches

For my next etching project, I thought I would etch some small plates using sketches I did in the Farmer’s Market on Granville Island.

This little sketch is of the sign for Armando’s Meats, where I buy yummy bison burgers from. 🙂 The image on the left is flipped, to prepare for transferring to the copper plate. Because there is text, I flip the image, so when it prints it is readable. When you print a copper plate, it prints reversed.

This is another small sketch I want to etch into a copper plate.


I have a few small 4″x4″ copper plates, so I think these drawings will fit perfectly. Hopefully these will be in the summer show at Dundarave.