Category Archives: Illustration

Clip Studio for days one to seven

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Recently Manga studio pro changed their name to Clip Studio Paint, and so I was inclined to update a previous strip for Days of Creation, days one to seven. For me it’s opportunity to further work my drawing drawing skills, as well as provide upfront comic briefs that directly relate to my graphic novel. I feel that I have the primary characters developed so that they would work within the world I imagined. 

The comic application, now named Clip Studio Paint, continues to add details that make the process of creating graphics novels/comics more efficient. Along with a bevy of unique fonts, it does provide for a one stop environment to create.

The story and events in the graphic novel revolves around the primary characters, and this page briefly introduces them and sets the stage for the interplay of personalities.

Elizabeth to fit the intended audience

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While working through variations of Elizabeth, I struggled somewhat with her representation within the book, because initially the previous variations just didn’t feel quite right. I wanted her to fit with the other characters in style, and not appear out of place. For the cover a more mature style is fine, but I wanted to have a character that I can extend more expression. AND this is it.

Press on – State of Mind Cover

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The unofficial cover for the first book “State of Mind” of the Dark Matters Chronicles. Whether I  may some day get the rest of the book complete, it’s unknown … but it’s in progress. Whether I slide it in between the lines, or find a way to go full tilt to completion is a matter having relatable time, when usually, I have to concern myself with billable work that pays bills. It’s circumstance that defines all.

Medical Illustration and Back Again

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This is an Illustration I did for the College of Dental Hygienists many many years ago, and this is the one instance that drew me back into doing more of this type of work. For some time previous to this I transitioned into doing more management and design work, and really never reflected on my time and how it was spent. When I originally came into the industry, I was a designer/Illustrator, and then the business started expanding into interactive media.

But after that time, I committed myself to doing more illustration type work, and improving my illustration skills so I could evolve an individual style and provide a bit of diversity to what I do.

Bobasatrania (Bobzilla)

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The murky process of recreating a fish from fossils has it’s challenges. This fish, in process of being modeled for a presentation at the Bow Valley Habitat Station, existed some 240 million years ago off the coast of Pangaea. Pangaea being a large super-continent that was composed of all the existing land masses throughout the world that eventually drifted apart. So overall, fossils that are found throughout the world tend to exhibit similar characteristics. You can say, all the fossils come from the same pool of fish.

My process of building a model usually begins with much research, where I gather a mass of examples from the internet so that I have enough variation of fossils to make assessments of overall shape and form of the fish. As well, I collected images of currently existing species of fish that are of similar shape or form. What is unique to the Triassic fish is the heavy scale and bone structure. It was tough times for being a fish, so they needed a tougher outer shell.

Everything begins with sketches, drawing out a base template that will be loaded into the 3D application as a guide for modeling the fish. As well, through the drawing process, I become familiar with the various parts of the fish, which allows me to assess shape, form and function. Certain details can be difficult to determine because overall, a dead fish doesn’t directly extrapolate out to a live fish. Fins tend to shrivel and get skewed through the process of decomposition and fossilization.

For modeling, I use lightwave because it’s light, has multiple layers that allows be to store backup elements, and I’m extensively familiar with it’s tools. The process of modeling is organic, as polygons slowly get extended over the shape of the form while being cognitive of how the polygons will react after rigging and animation. The quad polygons have to flow along bends where the body or fins may flex. I build the model in base grey before bringing it into Bodypaint for colour.

Scratchboard Illustration a solution to sensibility

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The technique of scratchboard goes way back to the initial era of printing. Traditionally, it’s a process of removing or marking a wood or metal surface. Then rolling ink on that surface and pressing it onto paper through mechanical or physical means. More recently, scratchboard material was used, which was either a coated ply-board, or a heavy laminated sheet of card. The working surface was then coated with black indigo ink, and special metal tools were used to expose the white underneath. With the advent of digital media, this process amoungst illustrators is either rare or obsolete, BUT with a tablet and a good graphic package, it’s easy to replicate.

Building images using the reveal approach provides a different appeal which is great for content that yearns to have a traditional sensibility. For this print resource, I employed that approach. Final result conveyed the art of growing and cooking as a naturally co-existing theme.

Illustrations were first developed for the internal cards, then repurposed for use on the cover.

Make it Vector

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Much of the illustration work I do is not autonomous, but part of a larger project. By trade, I’m a designer an illustrator, and that allows me to recreate assets that can be integrated into the layout of a resource which results in a consistent theme that is carried throughout. With illustrator, I can build very scalable vector based illustrations that can be adapted and used in flash, in print and imported into after effects and integrated into motion graphic sequences. Especially, with motion graphics, vectors work great because they have a transparent base and scale infinitely.

This series of vehicles were created for an interactive flash project on urbanization, and transferred over and re-utilized for other purposes.

And for Alberta Milk, a cover using illustration done exclusively in Adobe Illustrator, I was able to adapt the elements from the cover and reuse them throughout the layout of the print resource.

Exploring Illustration Alternatives

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Among other ongoing projects, some not as diverse creatively, I usually create a project so that I can execute or explore variations in approach to illustration. It’s about exploring style and technic and building the image within a specific application. For this image, I used Corel Painter X3, which is a great package for working with a more traditional blending approach. I tend to work with it using the conté tool which is real world drawing medium (not digital) that functions like a hard pastel. I used real conté way back before digital in life drawing, university days. Although, with digital, it’s far easier to adjust after the fact, and much easier to add detail.

Web comics – Dark Matters Chronicles – days 1 to 7

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Where it all began, with the creation of a living stuffed rabbit. This is the beginning of an ongoing exploration of Stitches’ early years proceeding the events in the graphic novel that is in progress. A series of online comics in full colour allows me to explore Stitches psychological nature, or more so, his condition, to further broaden his appeal.

The story within “State of Mind” is Stitches transition from self-obssession to a place where he sees his value in his newly realized form. These comics allow me to focus entirely on encounters and observations that Stitches has, as a purely confused and fractured individual. As well, it allows me to work with Manga Studio Pro EX5 in full colour, so that I can further explore the various options the application has for streamlining the process of using it as a primary tool.

These comics will evolve in fits and spurts, along with my graphic novel, because I don’t have the necessary publisher agreement … or funds to just get it done. Typical of this industry, slog away doing it first, and maybe it will result in something tangible down the road.

Dragon Days

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This is a small personal project I created for myself. An opportunity to create a variation of the dragon theme that is less threatening than the typical medieval version. More like “puff the magic dragon”. Illustrated in Painter, all digital –  but usually I’ll do an initial sketch on paper, scan it in and work from there.


This is my modal with stuff