Scary Christmas Illustration for The Walrus

Essentially, I have all the same things to say this time around: I had an amazing time making this illustration and had a really fun time working with all the usual brilliant folks, namely Brian Morgan, Paul Kim, Meredith Holigroski and the piece's editor, Alex Molotkow. The article by Derek McCormack explores the connections between Halloween and Christmas and is a really great read.

I had the privilege to work with the wonderful photographer, Jaime Hogge. Not only was he fun to sit around and chat with, I felt totally confident with him and tried my best not to be one of those hovering art directors. I probably was anyway, but Jaime humoured me expertly, and I'm really happy with the result.

Everyone always asks how long these paper illustrations take me. A long freakin' time. Anything worth making takes work and paper is really finicky to manipulate. This one was no exception, but I was really pleased with the way everything seemed to click into place. All in all, the time and effort was well worth it.

This is a case where the screen really doesn't capture all the little details, so go buy a copy of The Walrus' December issue when it hits newsstands, already!


Illustrations in The Walrus Magazine

I'm very lucky to love my job and on most days, I love it quite a bit. Part of my job last month was to create these illustrations for the October issue of The Walrus. Take a look! Yes, they are handmade and yes, they are paper (and glue, along with some elbow grease).

I promised myself that I'd enjoy the process as much as possible and I did: these were really, really fun to do. I worked with a loose theme of the city from which to create the subjects. On reflection, the theme turned out okay. It was nice to work within parameters that had lots of give. Half the fun was collaborating with the talented, supportive and hilarious Walrus staff, especially Brian Morgan, Paul Kim and Alex Molotkow. Thanks, guys!

If you like what you see, you can download a free desktop wallpaper version of one of the illos, here.

If you love what you see, consider donating to The Walrus Foundation. It's tax deductible and you'll feel like a better person. Or, treat yourself to a subscription and you'll feel like a smarter person. Do both and you'll feel better, smarter and secretly superior. Promise.

Miscellany section header: illustrated type

Editor's Note: reflections on political revolution
Contributors section head

Letters section head

Factoid spots


Baby's First Commission

The good people at Webcom, a book publishing/printing company in Toronto, recently asked me to make three pieces for their Game Changers event. They were awesome to work with mostly because all my fears about not being taken seriously as an artist were very quickly squelched. The Webcom folks were supportive and challenged me in the best ways possible.

I have an amazing day job that allowed me to take time off to dedicate to the project. More than a couple of times, I experienced the joy and freedom of being able to walk down the street to Ezra's Pound in the middle of the morning for a coffee that I got to enjoy sitting down, in a proper mug and everything. I was that person. It was great. (I might've also ordered a pastry to celebrate being that person.)

Of course, that freedom was accompanied with all the regular angst that goes along with creating stuff for a client. I'm used to that, but my paper work is usually something I only do to suit my own taste. In this case, I worked from detailed concepts created and approved months before, so veering too far off track wasn't really an option. It was really great to have an opportunity to practice such discipline. I'm happy to report that even though it was a week of very little sleep, I actually finished early! Installation/delivery day was quite calm, so I actually enjoyed the process. Imagine that.

All pieces were created out of paper and glue and constructed by hand. I think that Webcom was happy with the results and I'm pleased to say that I am, too.
Webcom logo composed of four pieces of paper.
Within each piece of paper, I cut out tiny logos.
I won't tell you how many exacto knife blades I used.
3D paper sculpture of Webcom's BookFWD Arrows.
The arrows were constructed from 50 folded paper prisms of various stock.
The circular frame was a single piece of card stock, jigged to be 3D.
I'm glad I paid attention in packaging class.
Mobiüs strip paper wreath created from paper remnants.
Each entwined Mobiüs strip was surrounded by hundreds of
smaller Mobiüs strips. It's deep, I know.
It was a happy accident that the paper remnants
Webcom sent for this piece had CMYK swatches on them.
P.S. Any frustration I ever had with just-okay photos of artwork on other's sites is now explained and forgiven, because:
  1. Thinking of the best way to photograph one's own work is the very last thing on one's mind, post-installation.
  2. Sometimes the lighting sucks, even if the camera is fancy.
  3. The digital photography standard taking many pictures of every possible boring angle (though smart and helpful in hindsight) seems daunting when all one wants to do is go grab dinner.


Installation Love

I had such joy this past weekend, with my paper fire escape sculptures in Come Up To My Room at The Gladstone. By nature, I don't like being the centre of attention, so I was really overwhelmed by all the attention I received from friends and strangers, alike.

It sounds incredibly naive, but I was genuinely not expecting the positive reactions I received. In fact, since I do this type of thing for myself first, I really wasn't expecting much from the weekend beyond having an excuse to bring lots of lovely people from different corners of my life together in one, happy place.

On top of all the lovely, kind words from lots of folks, I got tagged by DesignLines as one of their many loves for the design weekend in Toronto. So flattering!

There's also been some neat blog love over at MocoLoco, NotCot, Design Upcomers and SOS Design.

Last but not least, I got to meet really amazing artists and designers throughout the weekend. I have my favourites, but truly, the calibar of the show this year was fantastic, so I don't want to single out any one to your attention, but encourage you to check them all out.


Come Up to My Room 2011 | Jan. 28–30

I'm crazy-excited to be in the heat of preparing for this design show! I have a small paper installation to contribute and am incredibly honoured and nervous in equal parts to be participating in Come Up to My Room 2011 at The Gladstone. 

If anyone is in town, please come by because I want to see your lovely faces!
{Room by Allyson Mitchell.}