Sneak Peek of Green, Gold and Black

Back in August, I shared some character concepts for one of the stories to be included in Bedside Press's Gothic Tales of Haunted Love anthology which is slated to come out in early 2018. Now that I have some time, I thought I'd share some of the images from the pages of Green, Gold and Black, written by my friend, Cherelle Higgins, that doesn't give too much away.  The story is set in 1728 Jamaica when, on the eve of a slave uprising, a young house slave tries to protect her newborn infant from a pair of vengeful ghosts.

I wish I could share more because I feel I really pushed myself on this one, armed with some of the knowledge I've been slowly picking up from the Schoolism courses (I can't praise them enough), and also from years back at the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop where I learned how to break a script down into panel form from the wonderful Leonard Kirk! I didn't think I'd ever need to use that but while Cherelle has always written beautiful prose she didn't have any experience writing in comic form.  With Cherelle and Bedside Press's feedback I separated the text into panels as how I thought might best work with the amount of pages we were allocated. I even surprised myself by doing all the lettering and hand-drawn text bubbles. On my previous two comics, I was lucky to have my husband letter for me in Illustrator. He really enjoys this whole process but this time he had his own deadlines and couldn't assist. Having said that, he did volunteer to design a simple title for the story.

Below is the first page followed by a slideshow of some progression and early character sketches. I hope you enjoy!

Green-Gold-and-Black-Pg-001.jpg

Candle Lanterns

I was flattered to be asked to draw a still image to accompany Jeff Gunn's lovely Candle Lanterns song on YouTube. I am a fan of his work and sometimes play his songs while working. It's really relaxing and helps me focus. 

Jeff has partnered with pledgemusic.com to release his full album, All the Roads We Takethis October. The song, Candle Lanterns, was written to commemorate the Bang Fai Festival on the Mekong River in Thailand. His album contains a collection of songs that were inspired from his travels around the globe over the last 10 years. All the sounds in the album were produced solely on the guitar using harp harmonics and was built on the versatility and beauty offered by the guitar. I encourage you to have a listen and, if you like it, please consider making a pledge to help him get his album out. Additionally, he is contributing 5% of all proceeds to Plan International. Thanks so much for taking a look!

Jeff Gunn is a Juno Award-nominated songwriter, contributor for Guitar World Magazine, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, National Geographic and author of the Hidden Sounds Guitar series. 

Below is the final image along with some of the draft versions leading up to it. I hope you enjoy!

Painting My Life Preview Issue Comic Cover

I was flattered to be asked to draw and ink an alternate comic cover for Canadian writer and filmmaker, Pasquale Marco Veltri. He wanted the cover for the preview issue of his graphic novel, Painting My Lifepencilled and inked by Ian Wright and coloured by Jorge Cortes

The creative brief I received was to have the main character, Alice, seated in the centre of a room, painting herself and everything in the room on canvas while gargoyles watch attentively nearby. He wanted the painted scene to be repeated in the painting within the painting. To increase the level of unease, he wanted the painting of the old woman on the wall to be repeated on most of the canvases, watching Alice work with varying levels of disapproval or dismay. This was a challenging image to work on because of all the elements and expressions. Because I'm a huge fan of animation and anime I took inspiration from some of my favourite shows and movies when designing the characters while trying to maintain the main characteristics of the characters I drew.  A mirror was always at hand while I acted out some of these poses and expressions!

While drawing this out in Clip Studio, I ended up adding in some flats for my own purposes to help me separate the foreground from the background. I'm not a typical penciller laying out shading and heavy inks because I often colour the page myself and so I was a little worried whether my pencils had enough information for the colourist but my fears were unfounded as he did a fantastic job! When I saw the finished version, I was surprised that his colour scheme was actually similar to my working flats. When I did my flats, I thought it would be nice to colour it later but then another project came up and it didn't look like I would have the opportunity anytime soon. 

Gothic Tales of Haunted Love

I'm super excited to be collaborating with my good friend, Cherelle Higgins, on a story she's written entitled: Green, Gold and Black. A story set in 1728 Jamaica, on the eve of a slave uprising. A young house slave tries to protect her newborn infant from a pair of vengeful ghosts.

Her story will be part of Bedside Press' Gothic Tales of Haunted Love comic anthology. There is a Kickstarter for it now so if you're into the spooky and romantic, please check it out!

Over the years, I've been fortunate to have read a lot of Cherelle's lush and imaginative stories, from cruel gods and goddesses to demons and angels, undead and other creatures I would never have imagined. She always manages to take a conventional theme and make it her own so I'm very happy she'll be getting another of her stories out there for others to read. If you haven't already, another story she wrote appears in the The Secret Lives of Geek Girls called Cherry where she tackles a past trauma. 

And now, some character concepts: 

Tub Sauce

I was recently commissioned to create a label to go on a mason jar as a birthday gift. The client wanted an illustration of his friend, Taras, who enjoys making his own tomato sauce with ingredients from his backyard. I was told that he washes the tomatoes in his clawfoot tub so the client came up with this fun idea of having him in the tub with his tomatoes sipping a glass of wine while he scrubs his back. I thought the idea was cute and really enjoyed working with the art director, Samantha, who was the go-between for this little project.

It started with me trying to get his likeness down from the photos I was sent. I was given a concept sketch to use for inspiration and asked to see if I could come up with other ideas. Because of the tomatoes and herbs, I thought it might be nice to add them as a decoration around the image and we did end up using that. The toothbrush was another fun thought that popped into my head but in the end we ended up using a bit of the initial concept with the herb and tomato border. My hubby came up with a couple of great text ideas but in the end they wanted to go with text that more closely matches his hand writing. The text, cutout and framing was all done by Samantha who did such a wonderful job. I'm told the recipient was quite surprised and pleased with his gift!

Cambridge Arts Festival

I know I've been behind in my blog posts, really behind. Where has the time gone? I've had to put aside a personal project I was working on with my hubby to work on a number of commissions. I will share some of them when I'm able. In the meantime, here's a recent piece I did because I needed an avatar for the upcoming Cambridge Arts Festival where I'll be tabling on August 26th. It about sums up me up in the morning.  I am so not creative or coherent until I've had that cup of Joe, or two...

Toronto Comics Arts Festival

I was recently informed that I will be sharing a table with Oliver Ho at the TCAF this weekend. We will be promoting his book, Seven Strange Stories. Come on out and say hello. I'll be there on Saturday at table 119. https://guidebook.com/guide/91128/

Update: Hi, everyone! Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control, I won't be tabling at TCAF after all. I hope you all still get a chance to visit TCAF this year!

Character Designs for a Comic

I've been busy working on a few projects in development but this is something I can share. My friend, Robert Iveniuk asked me to help him pitch a short comic called The Ruins with animals as the main characters. He knows my soft spot. 

Below are my interpretations of his characters: Kirby, a Schnauzer; Penny, a Beagle; and Gordon, an adorable Chow Chow, along with a group of hungry raccoons they encounter. I understand that the story is to be in black and white but I couldn't help but want to see what they would look like in colour. 

Update: Although our pitch did not make the final cut, (there were a large volume of submissions to the publisher) this doesn't necessarily mean that we won't do something with this in the future. In the meanwhile, I have been busy with other projects and commissions. I hope to share some of them soon.