Poseidon – The Lino/Digital Process

So I switched gears on my Poseidon piece, and decided to do my linocut/digital method instead. The etching wasn’t going as planned, and I had some new green lino to try out from work. I will probably re-visit the etching later.

I took my drawing and carved it out on the lino. The scales took a while, lots of tiny, tiny marks. This is the resulting print.


I then scanned in the print, and brought it into Photoshop to color digitally, and also play with the background a bit. I used some of my textures that I keep on my computer. The texture on the left is ink rolled out onto paper using a brayer. The image on the right is ink splatter.

After playing around with colors and gradients, this is the final image:


This image will be in the upcoming “Water” show at Dundarave Print Workshop on Granville Island. If you are in the Vancouver area, check out the show!


Poseidon – the Drawing Process

At the end of March, Dundarave is having a group art show on the theme of “Water”. For this show I am working on an etching of Poseidon, the ancient Greek god of the sea. I started my drawing process as I always do, with thumbnail sketches. This is the thumbnail sketch I settled on.


Then I fleshed out the drawing, and started by drawing a merman.


I drew the tail separately.


After looking at this sketch, I decided I wanted more of a facial expression on the merman, instead of a neutral expression. So I flipped through my facial expression book and drew this:


Then I scanned all my drawings into the computer, and did a digital comp in Photoshop:


This is the final drawing I am working from for my etching. Stay tuned next week, and I will take you through the etching process.

Winding Career Path of an Illustrator

Watched a YouTube video by Kendyll Hillegas about the career path of an illustrator. In it she talks about the different phases one goes through with types of clients. Your first clients will be friends and family, then will be local businesses, and then move up to international or big clients. There were other phases in-between these. She also mentions it might not be a linear path; not 1-2-3. One might skip a step or go through the phases out of order. My path was out of order and looks like this:

  1. Friends & family
  2. Local non-profit magazines (non-paying)
  3. International magazine (The Progressive – USA)
  4. National magazines – Broken Pencil, Monitor (Canadian)

Kendyll also mentions it is likely you will need a day job when you are beginning your career. Make sure it is a job that doesn’t suck your energy, as you need energy to be creative. Your job can be full time or part time, but you must be able to have the energy to work on projects in your off-time. This is one of the reasons I like my job at the art store – it is not energy-sucking and I can leave work at work. It is not too mentally or emotionally taxing.

I also like that I have the option of working four days a week, so I can devote more time to my illustration business. I work at my J-O-B four days a week, work at my business two days a week, and take one day off. Of course if I have a client project, I work in the evenings of my J-O-B days if I need to. Depending on the client deadline, I can usually fit the majority of client work into my two days delegated to business. I may do e-mailing or admin work in the evenings – stuff that is easier on the brain after a full day of J-O-B work. At this point in my illustration career, I don’t have a lot of regular freelance work, so this schedule works for me. I’m expecting as I get more work, I will have to scale back the J-O-B, or do more juggling.

Day in the Life

Here is what I did on Wednesday February 13.

7:30 am Wake up and have coffee.

8:00 am Admin and e-mails.

8:45 am Have breakfast and get ready for the day.

9:40 am Head out to Dalina, a new coffee shop on the corner of Oak and Broadway. Do some reading and work there. I have been reading a book by Simon Sinek, called Start With Why. It’s really interesting, and talks about why you do what you do is more important to success, rather than focusing on what you do.

11:15 am Head downtown, get lunch and wander around for a bit.

2:00 pm Meeting with business mentor. I have monthly meetings with a mentor from Embers, which is an organization I took a business plan class from a few years ago. She helps keep me on track with my business.

3:15 pm Go to Dundarave Print Workshop. Work on etching for upcoming Water group show. Did some proofing of my plate, and continued etching the plate. Attempted to do a soft ground textured background, but it didn’t really work out.


7:00 pm Finish at Dundarave for the day.


Bicycle Postcard – Part Two


This is a continuation of last week’s post, on the idea process behind my bicycle postcard. Once I have decided on which rough to go with, I draw out the different pieces of the illustration. I drew the face and body of the cyclist separately, as I have a hard time drawing faces small. Next I transfer the drawing to the lino block, and start carving out the lino. I also carved the face and body/bike separately, so I could get more detail in the face.

Once the lino blocks are printed, I scan them in and start collaging digitally in Photoshop. I put the head onto the body digitally first, and then created a background digitally using simple shapes. I also added the spokes to the bicycle wheels digitally. I did a greyscale version first, to figure out the composition.


Once I was happy with the background and composition, I added color. I use ColorLovers to pick out color palettes. In this case I used two palettes to choose colors from. The color palettes I used were: “I Like Your Smile” by joy_of_summer and “Praise Certain Frogs” by Skyblue2u.


And that’s the final illustration! Thanks for reading!

Bicycle Postcard – Part One

In January I worked on some new imagery for a postcard mailer, which I plan to mail out in the spring. I assigned myself the brief of “Bicycle Obesession”. I started by sketching out some ideas, different bicycles, and did a little sketch of a burly guy holding a bike. I liked this idea, so developed it further. I did more sketching, and created two roughs with different backgrounds.


The guy ended up being skinny, as I thought I would be more true to the typical bicyclist, who is slim. I added a smoothie, to alude to a healthy diet. I tried out different backgrounds – one with a cityscape, and one with bicycle wheels. I decided to go the more traditional route, and go ahead with the cityscape background.

Stay tuned next week, I will reveal the final illustration.

Creative Genius

I re-watched an old TED Talk video with Elizabeth Gilbert recently. In it she talks about creative genius, and the beliefs around the word “genius”. Before the Renaissance, a “genius” was something separate from yourself, also referred to as a “daemon”. This daemon would help the creative person with their work. So you would be referred to as having a genius, not being a genius. After the Renaissance, “genius” became associated with solely the person, not an otherworldly spirit. Gilbert says this put an enormous amount of pressure on the artist. If a work failed or wasn’t successful, it was solely the artist’s fault. Whereas with a “genius” or daemon, it wasn’t entirely the artist’s fault. The public could say, “Their genius wasn’t with them”. I think the idea of a separate genius or daemon is a healthy way of describing the creative “spark” or inspiration.

Creative ideas are strange; you can’t call them up at will. They come to you at inopportune times, like during a shower, or while driving. From personal experience, inspiration is something indescribable that comes at me unexpectedly, and I have to “grab” it by writing down the idea or doing a quick sketch. If I don’t jot it down, it disappears from my mind. Sometimes ideas come to me while I am working or sketching; those are the lucky days. Most times they don’t, and I have to show up and do the work to grind out an idea, and the idea will be mediocre. Great ideas are something I can “feel”; when I get them I get a little rush, and brain spark. On the days when my daemon shows up, these are the great ideas. I can’t take all the credit for them.