Monday, March 23, 2015

Diablo Magazine - Geek Guide Comics Feature

This was a recent illustration for Diablo Magazine, for their "Geek Guide" feature on comics and graphic novels.  It was a fun assignment with a pretty open concept which allowed me to illustrate various different types/genres of comics.

This one was drawn partially in ink (the large superhero figure) with the remaining elements drawn entirely digitally.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Comic-Con International 2015 Souvenir Book Cover

This was a fun assignment.  I was asked by Comic-Con International to draw the cover for their 2015 Souvenir Book, which was a thrill.   That the theme of the cover was The Spirit for it's 75th anniversary made it even better.  It was an honour to draw something that was a tribute to the great Will Eisner and I had a lot of fun trying to come up with an image that had an Eisner feel without aping Eisner's style.

Like everyone else, I always enjoyed how Eisner seamlessly blended lettering and type into his Spirit splash pages, so that seemed like a good starting point.  And since Will Eisner laid so much of the foundation for modern cartooning, I wanted the cover to evoke a bright shining city built from the foundation laid down by Eisner and overseen by the Spirit.

The art for this was drawn using a combination of digital and traditional techniques.  I thumbnailed it on paper, tightened the pencils for the buildings digitally, inked it on paper again and then coloured the whole thing digitally.  

As a side note:  I'm happy to announce that I'll be a guest of the San Diego Comic Con this year, and am grateful to the organizers for inviting me.  I'm looking forward to attending the show.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Wall Street Journal Book Review

A recent assignment for the Wall Street Journal Book Review, featuring portraits of US foreign policy strategists Andy Marshall and Brent Scowcroft, for reviews of their respective new biographies.

This was drawn in black and red ink on paper -  a fun, fast assignment that allowed me to use a looser approach.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund 2015

I recently had the honour of designing the new branding for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund for their 2015 initiative.  It was a great, fun assignment to do, and I was flattered to be asked.  In light of recent world events, freedom of expression in the arts is a right that needs to be defended more than ever, and I hope more people will contribute to the CBLDF and its efforts.

This illustration was drawn mostly digitally in Alias Sketchbook Pro, after initial pencil roughs.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Al Pacino

After that last drawing of John Cazale, here's another sketch from Dog Day Afternoon, this time of Al Pacino.

Again, this one was drawn in software, from photo reference.

Friday, November 07, 2014

John Cazale

A quick sketch of one of my favourite actors, John Cazale, from the classic Dog Day Afternoon.  He was great in all the movies I saw him in, and passed away too soon.

This was done as a test as I upgraded my drawing software to Sketchbook Pro 7 and was drawn from photo reference.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Batman 75th Anniversary Screenprint

I recently completed this painting for the French Paper Art Club's year long celebration of Batman's 75th anniversary.  The artwork was turned into an officially licensed high-quality 18" x 24" limited edition silkscreen print.  You can purchase it through the French Paper Art Club's official website.

The original artwork was painted in gouache and ink on bristol with a few details added digitally in Sketchbook Pro and Photoshop.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Shoplifter Bookplate: Gosh! Comics Edition

Here's another bookplate I made for Shoplifter, this time for Gosh! Comics in London, England.  They've printed an edition of 200 for their shop, which I've signed and numbered.

This one was drawn in coloured ink on paper, with some tweaking and colour correction in photoshop.   You can see the process drawings I did for it on my twitter feed.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Shoplifter Bookplate: SPX Edition

I'll be making an appearance Sept 13th-14th at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland to sign copies of my new book, Shoplifter at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund booth.  Above is a special bookplate I drew for the occasion, which will be available at the signing.  I love attending SPX - it's one of my favourite shows.

Shoplifter is available in stores as of September 2nd.  For those in the Toronto area, Random House Canada and the Beguiling are hosting a launch party in town on September 3rd.  You can find more details here.  

I'll also be making promotional appearances, signing books and doing special presentations, in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angels, Calgary, Vancouver and Miami in the fall.  You can check out some details on the "Upcoming Appearances" sidebar of this blog.   More details coming soon!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Escape from New York

This one was a fun jam piece, done with the incomparable Andy Belanger for a fundraiser for HeroesCon in North Carolina.  We always like working together, with me putting tones and inks over Andy's pencil art -- it's easy to work with a guy who lets you just run wild over his artwork.

Andy pitched a few ideas: "Ali vs. Superman in front of a Vegas crowd" ("Too many people!" was my response), "Macross robots!" ("Too many ruler lines!", my reply) before he came up with the one that made me go "Oooooh" -- Snake Plissken from the classic Escape from New York.

Andy provided the excellent pencil drawing, to which I added the coloured tone and ink on paper.  You can see his pencil art below, and check out another of our collaborations at this link. 

Monday, July 07, 2014

Bo Diddley

A quick drawing of Bo Diddley, drawn for a friend.

This one was drawn from photo reference, in coloured inks on paper.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

House of Anansi A-List Book Series

I recently completed a long term project for House of Anansi to illustrate their annual "A-List" selection of books, reprinting canadian literature classics.  Previous illustrators chosen for the series included Jillian Tamaki, Genevieve Simms and Mathieu Lavoie, so it was a great honour to be included amongst those names.

My assignment was to create new cover illustrations for this year's selection of 5 books, which you can see below.  They were all very interesting and enjoyable reads and I was given a lot of freedom to create the images as I saw fit.  I decided to try a different approach for each book, rather than go for a homogenous look, as the cover design template would already impose some continuity and structure to the book design.

Needless to say, I had a lot of fun with this project, and it was a very artistically rewarding and challenging experience.  The covers were drawn in a variety of mediums, including digital, watercolour and coloured inks -- sometimes all of those in one image.

For those interested in seeing the process, here's a quick walkthrough of how I drew one the of covers, for Marian Engel's The Honeyman Festival.  

The first step, obviously, was to read all the books.  Thankfully, Anansi was gracious enough to give me a long deadline so that I could read each book in depth.  Here's a snapshot of the pile of manuscripts they sent along:

During and after reading each manuscript, I wrote down notes and impressions, which would aid me in coming up with a concept for the visual.  Sometimes I would review those notes and try and cull them down to the main points to make a "mind map" of ideas.  Here is my sheet of ideas from the Honeyman Festival: 

I find that writing helps me to organize my visual ideas, and gives me a few clear paths to investigate as I go about the process of thumbnailing and coming up with a concept for the cover.  The thumbnailing part though, really is the most important, and it's when I try out a lot of different visual ideas, seeing if anything "hooks" me and gives me something to develop further.  I tend to give myself free reign here to try out anything without worrying about success or failure.  Here are some of the many quick thumbnails I did for the Honeyman Festival:

As you can see, my ideas slowly developed until I arrived at the image at the very bottom of that photo.  I took that and scanned it and developed it further digitally until I created this rough, which I submitted to House of Anansi for review:

After approval by the art director, I then proceeded to work out the details such as anatomy and lighting to make a final cover.  I wanted to retain a lot of the energy and roughness of the sketch, while at the same time polishing it up just enough -- a tough balancing act.  Hence, for this one, I drew a variety of final ink drawings and picked the best one for the cover.  Here's a photo of the batch:

The one I went with ultimately was the second one in the bottom row.  I scanned it and added some colour, texture and processing in photoshop, and the final cover was complete.

Thanks for reading this long process post, and thanks again to House of Anansi for the great assignment. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Recent Editorial

Here are 2 recent Illustrations, both drawn digitally.  The illustration above was a full pager for ESPN magazine, about the Northwestern University football team's historic move to unionize student athletes.  The illustration below was a cover for MM&M magazine with the headline "DTC Gets Smart!".  Needless to say, it had a Maxwell Smart/Agent 99 theme.

Both were drawn in Sketchbook pro, with a bit of tinkering in photoshop.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


As some of you know, I spent most of last year working on a large project, which I'm happy to finally share more news about on my blog.  

My debut graphic novel, Shoplifter, will be published by Pantheon Books in September 2014.  It was a labour of love, as it took up all my time and effort for quite a while, and I'm grateful that it's on its way to publication this fall.

It's available now for pre-order through

Here's a little more information on it from the press release by Pantheon Books:

"A brilliant debut graphic novel about a young woman’s search for happiness and self-fulfillment in the big city.
Corrina Park used to have big plans. Studying English literature in college, she imagined writing a successful novel and leading the idealized life of an author. After graduation, she moved to a big city and took a job at an advertising agency—just to pay off her student loans. Now she’s worked in the same office for five years and the only thing she’s written is . . . copy. She longs for companionship (other than her cat),gets no satisfaction from her job, and feels numbed by the monotony of a life experienced through a series of screens. But whenever she shoplifts a magazine from the corner store near her apartment, she feels a little, what? A little more alive. Yet Corrina knows there must be something more to life, and she faces the same question as does everyone of her generation: how to find it?

(With two-color illustrations throughout.)"

I'll share more information and some excerpts from the book in future posts, but for now I thought I'd share the cover.   

Now, since this is my sketchblog, below you can find the pencil sketch for the cover art for your perusal.  The final art was drawn in ink and watercolour, with a little bit of photoshop colour tweaking.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Golden Age Superman

I recently drew a variant cover for DC Comics, for Superman Unchained #6.  It was done as part of their Superman 75th anniversary series of variant covers.  They graciously let me have carte blanche to draw whatever I wanted, so I picked a suitably "golden age" scenario for Superman (I always liked him fighting giant robots).

This one was drawn in coloured inks with some colour tweaking and processing in photoshop. 

 Below, you can see some of the various drawings that lead to the final image, including various thumbnail homages I did of classic golden age Action Comics covers while trying to come up with ideas for this assignment.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

World's Finest

Here's a painting of Batman, Superman and Robin I made as a gift for a friend.  

The original was painted in ink and watercolour in a single tone, which I colourized into a couple of different shades in photoshop.

Monday, October 28, 2013

NBA Time!

A new NBA season tips off on Tuesday, which is like waiting for Christmas for hoops junkies like me.  Usually throughout the year, I watch a lot of games while doodling in my sketchbook during the timeouts and commercial breaks.  Below are a few of the many doodles and quick portraits of current and former NBA players I drew during last season.  Some of these were already shared on my twitter feed earlier this year, as I tend to post sketches like these throughout the season.

I'm sure I messed up the likenesses on all of them, but keep in mind that I drew these quickly and directly in ink without any preliminary underdrawing in pencil.  This is my usual method when I'm doodling in my sketchbook, as it helps keep things fast and loose and prevents me from fussing over "getting things just right".

All of these were drawn in ink and coloured markers on paper.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It's been a while...

...since I posted anything on my poor, neglected blog.  There's a good reason for that -- I was busy this whole year working on my first graphic novel (more info on that later), so I had very little new art I could share.  Now that I've finished the book, however, I'll be slowly getting back into the swing of things and posting a bit more regularly here.

To start things off, I thought I'd share an image from a recent story I drew for the excellent Batman Black & White comic book.  The wonderful Chip Kidd and I collaborated on a fun 8-page story for the debut issue of the relaunched series and I was thrilled to be able to draw some of the world's most iconic superheroes.  Chip was extremely generous and wrote a great script for me to draw and it was delight to work with him.

This is my favourite page from the story and features Superman (obviously).  Though the book is printed in black and white (with grey), I actually painted it in my usual two-tone process and I thought I'd share it here in the red tone that I originally envisioned.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Portrait of Ursula K. Le Guin

This was a recent illustration I did for California Magazine, to accompany an interview with noted sci fi author, Ursula K. Le Guin.  I have to say I hadn't read any of her works prior to receiving this assignment, but after researching her, and reading the excellent interview, I was very intrigued and found her to be a fascinating person.  The research and the drawing were so much fun to do that this became easily my favourite illustration that I've done this year.

The final art was drawn in ink and composited digitally to make the image (the red and the black parts of the image were drawn separately and merged in photoshop).

Just for fun, I thought I'd post all the various research notes, concept thumbnails and rough sketches that I made in my sketchbook on the way to creating the final art.  They're shown below, with all the silly reminders to myself about approaching deadlines left unedited.  I hope you'll find them of interest.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Frightful Four!

These are 4 drawings I did recently for a fundraising auction for the Doug Wright Awards.  They asked a bunch of artists to contribute pieces on the theme of "super villains" so, after a bit of canvasing suggestions on twitter, I decided to draw the old Fantastic Four villains, the Frightful Four.  I always thought they were a fun group - especially Paste Pot Pete, or the Trapster as he was later known.  Any supervillain whose main weapon is a glue gun has gotta be fun, right?

I don't normally work in such a cartoony/animated style, but it was fun to stretch and try it out -- it was definitely an entertaining way to work.  These were drawn in coloured inks on bristol, and were each approximately 11" x 14" in size.

Monday, March 11, 2013


This was a small piece I did as a submission for the Calgary Comic Expo's artbook.  I don't know if they'll use it, but it was fun to paint anyway.  The theme of the book was "Weird Tales", so I tried to come up with a fantasy related piece.

This one was painted in gouache and ink on board, something I haven't done much of lately as I've been playing around with pens and coloured inks. I often post snapshots of rough sketches or thumbnails on my twitter feed and you can see an example for this piece below.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Jason Williams... White Chocolate.  I always thought that was a funny nickname.  JWill was one of the most entertaining players during his career and got a few comparisons to Pistol Pete, which I suppose Ricky Rubio also gets nowadays.

I drew him here in his Sacramento Kings jersey, because that's how I'll always remember him - on the break, dropping elbow passes to Chris Webber.

Like the previous drawing, this one was drawn in ink and gouache on board, from reference.