Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tossin' the Candy Caber...

Merry Christmas you wee beasties.
I look forward to a week of being idle and reading comics. Hope it's a good one for whoever's reading this...

Let it Snow...

I was recently approached by the Toronto based design firm Hambly and Woolley to create an image for their annual Christmas card for 2010. Every year the firm donates a dozen pigs and sheep to needy families via World Vision and the image on the card relates to that gift in some fashion (which is also a visual pun on the company name-get it?). I took the whole idea in a fun and whimsical direction and was very influenced by the pond skating scene in "A Charlie Brown Christmas", which was always my favourite part.
Thanks go out to Bob Hambly at H&W for creative direction and Dominic Ayre for colour correction in the final (seen below).

Torontoist's Heroes and Villains 2010-The Baddies!!!


From the top:  1. The Imagine Concert  2. Chris Bosh 3. G20 ISU 4. Dislove of Toronto 5. Blaming Pedestrians

My first year as a Torontoist contributor is coming to a close and with that comes an opportunity to participate in the annual "Heroes and Villains" lists–one of their most popular segments, so I hear. For any non-Torontonian reading this, the series outlines a variety of different people, organizations or events that affected the city over the course of the year, for both good or bad. To end the year on a more positive note, they ran the Villains over the course of last week and are running down the heroes as I type this rambling nonsense. 
"Daley, what was going through your head while doing these?" you may ask. Great question, so I'll tell you:
1) The Imagine Concert was some large scale hippy concert being planned by one of the clowns who promoted the original Woodstock and was touted as the biggest concert to ever hit Toronto. Of course it never happened. I figured I'd take the obvious hippy image of a peace symbol and add some snakes to the fingers to show the two faced "snake" sides of the promoters' false promises.
2) Chris Bosh-the now former Toronto Raptor who left town after another lacklustre season by the team and proceeded to be less than graceful towards the city in his Tweets afterward. Hence the image of him "siccing" his evil twitter birds on Toronto. I'm not all that stout with likenesses, so I tried to keep him at a minimum in the illustration.
3) The G20 ISU- given the overreaction of too many of the police at the G20 in the summer, I interpreted them in the form of a rabid, monstrous attack dog
4) Dislove of Toronto- another simple idea using Toronto as a voodoo doll for all the negative feelings from the rest of the country, suburban dwellers and the local media, especially during our recent municipal election. The central figure was influenced by the look of Bela Lugosi in the movie "Voodoo Man"
5) Blaming Pedestrians-because sometimes the media have a tendency to blame pedestrians when they get hit by cars. As an avid walker I've encountered many a shitty driver (and cyclists) who think they own the road (although, to be fair, there are plenty of pedestrians who have no clue and think they're free to walk however they please). The image was influenced by Dr. Octopus, some sort of shadow creature and Ed Roth and is in the form of a judge to act as some sort of tribunal passing judgment on the poor sap they just flattened.

Check out the entire list here as there are plenty of great illustrations on display. I'll blab about my heroes next week...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Taddle Creek #25-Fiction Illustrations

"Stop Loss" By Kelly Ward

"Our Many-Splendoured Humanity" by Jessica Westhead

"Remember the Story"  by Stuart Ross
"Atikoken is for Lovers"  by Amy Jones

This past week saw the release of the 25th issue of Toronto literary magazine Taddle Creek. This was the third issue that featured my illustrations accompanying works of fiction and I feel my best contributions to the magazine so far. I decided to mess around quite a bit with these and loosen up at the same time, because if I can't have fun with what I'm doing, what's the point really? Notable experiments include taking a photo of the pattern on my kitchen table (as seen in the backgrounds above) and using it as the background for the "Stop Loss" illustration as well as using found wallpaper patterns for "Atikokan...". As per usual, the magazine is top notch and worth checking out either on many a Canadian newsstand or via here. Thanks once again to Mr. Conan Tobias for having me, I'm looking forward to the next go round.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sketchbook Detritus-11/11/10

Somehow bored doodling turned into Wolverine last night...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Steamwhistle Design a Deck Contest 2010

 I've long wanted to see my work on skateboard decks but have never had much success accessing that industry. A few near hits here and there, but nothing worked out in the end. It was always in the back of my mind though, so when I found out Steamwhistle Brewery had a yearly contest to bring art, skateboarding and beer together in one room, I figured "why not". If my design (above) didn't get in, at least I had an image to promote if I wanted to hit up various skate companies. Lucky for me my design was chosen and will be showcased along with over a dozen other designs at a wrap party on Friday (Nov. 12) at the Baitshop, a gallery/skateboard shop in Toronto.

I based my idea on the above sketch which was something I'd doodled around a year or so ago. I'd worked with no success on some more conceptual ideas that just caused me nothing but frustration. As is often the case, simpler is better and it was true this time.

My next step was doing a pencil sketch to scale (above) and then working everything out in illustrator. After it was chosen by the Steamwhistle folks, I took the board to the Baitshop for printing and the end result is as follows (complete with handy beer ad on the back):

The link to the event is here. If you're in the Toronto area and can make it you can RSVP via an email on that page. My personal thanks go out to Mike Arlotto at Steamwhistle for having me and Ken at the Baitshop for the great print job....

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ghost in the antique...

Be careful when listening to those spook shows ladies and gentlemen!
Have a fun Halloween. Don't get a stomach ache shoveling all that junk in your trap...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wild Waterfall...

This summer was a first for me as I had the opportunity to design characters for an iPhone app promoting milk for the Dairy Farmers of Canada. I've really enjoyed their series of 10 second ads that feature amazingly wacky animation, so when I was approached to do this I didn't even hesitate. It made for a nice change from my usual editorial grind as well. The team at Twist Image, who put the game together, were quite easy to work with and encouraged fairly wacky ideas, even though we had a short turn around.

Opening Screens
Game Play and End Screen
I'm afraid I don't have any proper screen caps as of yet, so above is the best I can show for how it looks. My wife's iPhone was used and she has some sort of mirror screen cover, so it's hard to capture with a camera.
Here are the original designs of what was used:

Above: The main lumberjack character. Final screen "victorious" image + 2 views of him riding in his log. I didn't really stray that much from my sketches (below), except that they wanted me to make him less squat/fat looking. I also tried a character that was more of a "white water" type, but since lumberjacks are much better, I'm glad this was the route we took.
Lumberjack Sketches
The twist of the game, if you will, is that the "waterfall" in the title is actually a little girl drinking milk. If you lose, you get swallowed in the torrent, if you win, you escape and bounce on her growing bicep. There wasn't a huge variation between the final rendering and early sketches, but I tried a separate look for a variation that didn't work quite as well...

Lastly, here's all the little details I rendered. Variations on the paddle, the various bubbles you have to either avoid or pick up and different takes on the waves. Certain bubble types weren't used and the final colours of the waves were changed to look less like water and more like milk.

So there you have it, my first, and hopefully not last, sojourn into the world of games and animation by proxy. You can download the game for free here, or at the iTunes store, but if you don't have an iPhone you can watch the lumberjack bob up and down in the waves for kicks. You can also run through some of the TV spots at the site as well.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Year of Years


Above are some pieces I recently provided for the September 2010 issue of Avenue Magazine (link), which is a Calgary centered lifestyle magazine.  The article was centered around the boom in lifestyle books that chronicle a year in the life of the particular subject and the way that they drastically changed their lives. The book in focus was Gretchen Rubin's "The Happiness Project" which was her chronicle of developing a more "posi" lifestyle (I've got the PMA!!), and that's what influenced the splash page (top). I based the design on a solar calendar and chronicled the central subject's year from a depressed "baby new year" type through to being a happy "old man" at year's end. The themes for the  accompanying spot illustrations are both about the voyeuristic nature of reading these types of books and how some people treat them almost as some sort of guru as to how they can live their lives. 
Here's the final results in print:


Sketchbook Detritus 21/09/10

Last night I went to a panel discussion moderated by my wife, who helped present it as editor of Broken Pencil magazine. The title of the talk was "Are Zines History?" and the panel debated and discussed the relevance of creating small press zines in the age of the internet. At one point I decided to pull out my sketchbook and do some doodle portraits of the panelists. These were done on a knock off moleskin (the choice of hipsters everywhere) using a Copic Multiliner pen with a 0.35 nib.

(L-R) Ian Sullivan Cant, Megan Speers, Chris Landry

I will admit that attending kind of made me want to try my hand at doing a zine just for the sake of fun and getting weird ideas out that don't necessarily need a full render. We shall see...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Back in the saddle again....

Good day to you all and a very happy first day of autumn! The day I've been feverishly awaiting since the first humid spell of late May. As is obvious, I'm no fan of summer and the heat and I find myself coming out of hibernation when the fall rolls around, hence this post out of nowhere after a month of inactivity. What have I been up to, you may ask? Aside from prolific bouts of comic reading and sitting in dark rooms with the shades drawn and AC cranked, I'm going to use this week to get up to speed with some of my late summer art based shenanigans.
One thing common to summer are weddings and this year my wife and I had our fair share, all within a span of two weeks (including two in one day). I sometimes like to give friends a piece as a wedding gift and when our friends Lisa and Kenny legitimized their coupling, they were the lucky recipients of the following:

"Game" FC Giclee Print, 18" x 24"

Both are avid video game types, so I decided to update a piece I'd created a few years earlier for a group show based around video games (see below). It was something I was never 100% happy with and feel that the "mark two" version of makes a bit more sense, even though it's a bit more abstract/absurd.

"Zap" 2 Colour Letterpress Print, 5.75" x 8.75". 2006

I used the above as my initial template in the sketches, but as I messed about with the final, I came to the realization (with some input from my wife) that it worked better if the head was actually an arcade game as opposed to having a guy with one strapped to him. And from there a shining new piece for the walls of newlyweds. I just hope it doesn't scare the crap out of their son....

Bonus sketches!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010

Storytelling is Carnivorous...

Another new-ish piece in the latest issue of Lucid Media (#7). This one goes along with a profile on erstwhile Canadian personality Sook-Yin Lee in conjunction with her recent film "Year of the Carnivore". I don't often do portrait type illustrations of actual people, but I'm always open to a new challenge. I definitely didn't get her likeness in this piece, so I had to get more conceptual thanks to some suggestions and prodding by Lucid editor Ryan Warring Bird. Here's the key to all the floating elements: Meat-ties in with the title of the film, Pills-the article discusses the history of mental illness and depression in her family, Bus-her role in "Shortbus", Music Notes-her history as a musician and the hearts are symbolic of the main quote of all her movies and stories being love stories at heart.

Here's how it looks in print:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Meet the Presses...

I recently did my first illustration assignment for Lucid Media (link), a Toronto based independent arts magazine. The piece accompanied an article by Reid McCarter about the Toronto small press publishing community and the Small Press of Toronto bookfair that took place in early June. My copy of the magazine showed up in my mail box and here's how the spread looks in it's B&W printed form:

And now in glorious full colour:

My Jim Flora fixation was definitely foremost on my mind as I was working on this. The whole idea revolves around the "one person wearing many hats" reality of the self publisher. From the writing, to the printing/manufacturing to the final sale of the product. In this case, in a public setting like a book fair. It's been a while since I've used collage in anything, so that was fun. I shouldn't be scared of using collage in my arsenal, there's that little nagging side that makes me feel as though I'm "cheating", but whatever.
Lucid is out and about in various magazine stores in Toronto right now and features a lovely cover by Charlene Chua...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sketchbook Detritus-June 30 2009

While out at Pen Club for the first time in ages last Wednesday....

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Torontoist-Food Safety at the G20

To coincide with that very important meeting of very important people in the city of my dwelling, I provided this illustration to accompany an article on Torontoist about how the security overkill went all the way to how the food was prepared. The illustration depicts a waiter type coming against a brick wall of secret service while trying to serve dinner.
The article was written by Stephen Michalowicz and can be found here

Newsstand Illustrations for Torontoist...

A series of illustrations running in rotation daily at Torontoist. Here's an example of how today's looks:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Deep Gin and Summer Grills...

From the July/August 2010 issue of Tidings, on sale now....

Amusing Myself While Out For Chow....

More places need craft paper and crayons....

Monday, June 14, 2010

Taddle Creek-Summer 2010 Issue On Newsstands Now...

L: "The Quiet" by Michael Christie
R: "Strange Attractors" by Danielle Egan

L: "Snorkel" by Judy McCrosky
R: "A Private Woman" by David Ross

Taddle Creek’s long awaited Out-of-Towner issue is now on sale at a variety of fine newsstands. This historic issue sees Taddle Creek temporarily remove its Toronto-centric restrictions, and features authors and artists from coast to coast in all directions. To celebrate this one-time-only event, the magazine is proud to also announce The Taddle Creek Travelling Series of Happenings, a tour that Taddle Creek hopes will see it play to tens of people across Canada and the U.S. this summer and fall.
Taddle Creek’s Out-of-Towner issues features new fiction and poetry by Michael Christie (Victoria), Danielle Egan (Vancouver), Jesse Patrick Ferguson (Fredericton), Judy McCrosky (Saskatoon), Catherine McGuire (Sweet Home, Oregon), Peter Norman (Halifax), David Ross (Toronto), Alexandra Wilder (New York), and Elana Wolff (Thornhill, Ontario). Plus, an essay on Montreal’s Mile End neighbourhood by Sarah Gilbert (Montreal); a photo gallery of and essay on Saint John, New Brunswick, by Ian MacEachern (London, Ontario) and Tony Tobias (Toronto), respectively; a profile of Vancouver’s Lee Henderson by Toronto’s Mark Medley; comics by David Collier (Hamilton) and Jason Turner (Vancouver); illustrations by Matthew Daley (Toronto) and Zach Worton (Montreal); all the regular features, including a short piece by Jenn Hardy (Montreal) and Dave Lapp’s People Around Here; and a cover by Pascal Blanchet (Trois-Rivières, Quebec).
It’s an issue well worth the five dollars. Taddle Creek hopes to see you on the road this summer!

NXNE Poster Show 2010

North by Northeast (NXNE) is having its annual Poster Show at an Art Gallery this year! We have taken the show out of the conference and into Twist Gallery (Queen/Dovercourt)! Artists in this showcase have made exclusive gig posters for literally hundreds and hundreds of bands as well as art prints and tons more. Who would think that simple ink, paper and a squeegee could made into so much awesomeness!

Twist Gallery provides a stylish, spacious exhibition space to see this great work. There will also be live bands and DJs scheduled for the run of the show. You’ll see a slimmed-down version of the exhibition at the Hyatt (370 King St. W) and Dundas Square during NXNE.

Artists scheduled to participate...

Crosshair - Chicago, IL -
Large Mammal Print - Oaklyn, NJ -
Budai - Pittsburgh, PA -
Dwitt - Minneapolis, MN -
LeDouxville - Seattle, WA -
Nat Damm - Seattle, WA -
Crash Design - Portland, OR -
Jack Dylan - Montreal QC -
Lil Tuffy - San Francisco, CA -
Cricket Press - Lexington, KY -
Uncle Charlie- The Woodlands, TX -
Patent Pending - Seattle, WA -
Michael Deforge - Toronto, ON -
Doublenaut - Toronto, ON -
Popfuel - Toronto -
Adam Swinbourne - Toronto, ON
Matt Daley - Toronto, ON -
Salvatore Angileri - Toronto, ON
Roxanne Ignatius - Toronto, ON
Stacey Case - Toronto, ON
Tomas Del Balso - Toronto, ON
Playdead Cult - Toronto, ON


NXNE Poster Show 2010
June 14 - 28
Twist Gallery (1100 Queen Street West - above The Social)
Toronto, Ontario
11am - 6pm

Extended hours on June 14, 17, 18, 19 + more TBC

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

One for the kiddies...

My friends, Scott and Stacey, are having a baby in the next few days. They asked me to paint a mural on the wall of the baby's room. I haven't painted in about 5 years, so I was scared. As it turns out, I'm not as rusty as I thought.

Above: The digital illustration I used as a "sketch. Scott had a projector attached to his computer that we were able to use. They knew they're having a girl, so they wanted an image that involved a little girl and their dog Webber...

Above: And so the work begins...

Above: The fine details added...

Above: Girl detail...

Above: Webber detail...

Above: The finished piece
All photos by Scott Willemsen

Thanks and congratulations in advance to Scott and Stacey. It was a fun project and worked out much, much better than I'd hoped...