Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Line is Drawn...

I recently "auditioned" to become one of the new artists for Comic Book Resources' "The Line is Drawn" column. The idea behind the column is visual interpretations of different themes (odd teamups etc.) pertaining to the world of comics. The two ideas I illustrated were the following:
1) A famous/real/non superhero person as a superhero (top). From a list of 200+ such individuals, I chose Nikola Tesla (top) and gave him the abstract treatment. Note Tesla Coil insignia on the costume.
2) A team up between two characters who hadn't met up before. I chose Mr. Fantastic and Plastic man and gave them the hyper stylized treatment showing them taking on their respective arch rivals Dr. Doom (top) and Dr. Dome (bottom, clever?)
I never really expected to be chosen to be among the new artists (I haven't checked back to see who was), but these were fun exercises. I'm not ashamed to say I still enjoy a good superhero comic.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


A recent strip that appeared in issue #3 of Grawlix which was themed around relationships and breakups.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Illostribute-Albert Dorne

I've been way too behind with adding new posts to this here blog, but full time employment will sometimes disrupt things a bit. Earlier in the fall, I was asked to participate in the site Illostribute by it's proprietor Toby Neighbors. It's a site that gets together a variety of illustration types to pay tribute to other illustrators, in the case of my first post it was Albert Dorne. I confess that I didn't really know much about his work before being asked, but became interested in what I could do after researching his work, especially given the major differences between our styles. The results of what everybody came up with, plus some samples of Dorne's work can be found here, and there really are some incredible pieces to see. My seasonally appropriate contribution is below, check out the original here.

Thanks very much to Toby Neighbors for asking me to partake.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Taddle Creek Issue 27

"Christmas Mummers" Cover Illustration

"Dreyfus in Wichita" by Cary Fagan
"The Saxophonists' Book of the Dead" by Gary Barwin

"Rue du Doo" by Derek McCormack
"Opening Act" by Amy Jones

Tonight (Dec. 6) marks the launch of issue 27 of Taddle Creek in Toronto. Once again I had the pleasure of doing illustrations for the fiction and for the first time also the cover. Due to the theme of the issue being based around music, and also the launch's proximity to Christmas, I decided to do a stylized version of Newfoundland mummers as a cover image. Hopefully people will get that, but if not it might make for a strange conversation piece. If you're in Toronto, check the launch party out tonight. It happens at The Boat, in Kensington Market, and you can find out more info about what's going on here. There's a tonne of great work in this issue, especially a gorgeous 4 page story by Pascal Blanchet and an overview of Doublenaut's amazing poster work.
Thanks as always to Mr. Conan Tobias for his patience and for putting out a great issue.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Illustration Friday 07/10/2011-"Contraption"

A fall themed addition to today's Illustration Friday subject. A touch on the late side, but I had to get a haircut. Happy thanksgiving, to all my fellow northerners.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Wrecking Ball-Oct. 22 2011

Above is my most recent poster design for the semi-regular "Wrecking Ball" in Toronto (first can be found here). I held off on anything image based, mostly for time reasons and in the end I found it fun to mess around a bit with lettering dominating the image. I enjoy working with letters, especially those I create "by hand", if you will. Once again, thanks to Natalie Walschots for having me do this.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sketchbook Detritus-17/09/2011

Saturday night brought me to the lovely little town of Alton, Ontario to see my wife's band play a set at a little bakery/watering hole. Along with me came my sketchbook to see me through the boredom of the first act and the between band periods when Lindsay wasn't around to keep me company. As you can see, my Kaiju obsession came out a bit as I just wanted to mess around a touch with all the grotesque things that can go on in my head. The bottom series of sketches were drawn during the set by headliner Ryan Masters. One of his sidemen played pedal steel at a point of the set, but looked nothing like the bruiser type I drew. I just thought it would be fun. Ryan himself is represented in the second sketch. He spent most of the set with a toque over his head (it was a frigid night) and at one point dedicated a song to the bats flying around his head. It created a nice visual in my mind....

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mr. Monitor (sort of) Comes to Life!

It's been a bit of a quiet period on the Mr. Monitor front, based partly on my having to focus on paying work and also based on a need to re-tweak the way I was doing it. In the meantime, I've created my very first pepercraft interpretation of the character for the most recent issue of Broken Pencil (on newsstands now). Every summer the magazine has a "DIY issue" that focuses on how to's and little tricks and tips for the budding indie artist. For fun's sake, we decided to let people have their very own Mr. Monitor to tote around with them or gather dust on a bookshelf. The version in the magazine is in b&w, but you can download a PDF version here.

New strips should be coming soon, I'll be posting about them here when they appear.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Work in Print-Tidings September 2011

This month's Bon Vivant column posed the question, "Do real men drink coolers?". I do believe I attempted to answer that with a resounding "yes" (right in the kisser). I was messing around with a couple of new texture styles and methods of rendering colour with this piece and had a bit more fun with looser shapes than usual.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shiny Pliers Back Online...

Screen capture of my new main page

So the big happenings in my world would be the re-emergence of my personal site at It was a long time coming, but I'm super happy with the results.
Big thanks to Scott Willemson at Bamboo Cricket for the amazing re-design and to Helen Yousif for her photographic contributions. Please check out their work.

Monday, July 18, 2011

New Work In Print-Tidings July/August 2011

A continuation of sorts of my posting from last week, this being for Tidings' Bon Vivant column from the July/August issue. The central question I followed for this issue revolved around the best wine to use when breaking up with a girlfriend. I decided to show the aftermath of what would happen with that situation.

I've realized that every time I post a photo of the pieces in print that I've neglected to show a better detailed digital version, which you can view above.

In other news, I have a new piece up on Torontoist today which you can find here. If you're into Weird Al Yankovic, you might find it of interest. I can't post it here as of yet, but will do so later in the week.

More good news should be a-happening in the world of Shiny Pliers this week as well. Stay tuned....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Work In Print

Some recent print products that arrived in the mail:

Creative Quarterly #23

Promotional Piece for Three In A Box's Box Lunch Summer Promotion
This Magazine July/August 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Wrecking Ball! a Scream UnFestival event

Above is another recent poster design, this time done for my friend Natalie for her first "Wrecking Ball" event which brings together the worlds of poetry and metal. All this takes place on Saturday July 9, so if you're looking for something to do on a Saturday night, give it a look. All the official info is below. Thanks very much to Ms. Natalie Walschots!

This summer, The Scream Literary Festival is taking place in Toronto for the final time. To honour the Scream, we're throwing a party celebrating the two best things on the planet earth: poetry and heavy metal.

The Poets:

angela rawlings 
Damian Rogers
Chris Doda 

Dani Couture

The Bands:



Ein Traum (members of Gates)

July 9th
The Hard Luck Bar
Doors at 8pm

Come give the scream the wake it deserves. Bring your livers and your earplugs.

The Scream is dead; Long live the Scream!

Awesome poster by Matthew Daley​/

SPONSORED BY: Canada Arts Connect! http://canadaartsconnect.c​om/

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Creative Quarterly 23

I've been a bit behind when it's come to posting about this–mostly because I've yet to receive the printed copy and the online version only went up recently–but good old Mr. Monitor recently received some love from the folks at Creative Quarterly. The above image appears in issue 23 alongside a whole host of really great samples of illustration. Even though I'm really not that much of a pro contest type of person, it's an honour to have the work recognized...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Work-Taddle Creek No. 26

"Melt" by Amelia Kahaney

"Unfaithful" by Alexandra Leggat

"A Fog" by David Ross

"The Many Faces of Montgomery Clift" by Grace O'Connell

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Work-Playback Magazine

The latest issue of Playback magazine has hit the newsstands and sports an ode to our glorious future in my cover design. Any chance to illustrate robots, especially in canine form, is one I'll gladly take!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Work-The Lowest of the Low

Above: Poster design for LOTL anniversary show at Massey Hall, Toronto. May 7, 2011. 3 Colour Screenprint, run of 200

 Above: Gatefold design for 20th anniversary LP Edition of LOTL's "Shakespeare My Butt"

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Toronto indie band The Lowest of the Low's release of their breakthrough album "Shakespeare My Butt" . I was happy to partake in designing both the poster for their concert at Toronto's legendary Massey Hall (a variation was used for shows in Buffalo) and a brand new design for the gatefold of a new pressing of the album on vinyl. I've worked with LOTL guitarist Stephen Stanley at his day job as an Art Director/Designer at Brunico Communications (where my wife used to work) and he's always been super supportive of my illustrations. When the Massey Hall show was announced in the winter of this year, I proposed creating a poster and thankfully he and the rest of the band were really into the idea. Out of this they asked me to do the LP design which was a pretty great surprise and a bit of a daunting task (due mostly to my tendency to be anal). The original idea on my end was to tell a sequential story tied into the lyrics and themes of the songs on the album, which after a large amount of tweaking became a series of individual images that are connected but don't tell a direct story. 
• The first panel contains references to the album title-via the Shakespeare character-and the songs "4 O'Clock Stop" (the watch), "So Long Bernie" (the shop in the background) and "Just About "The Only" Blues" (the man playing harmonica in the window)
• Panel two focuses on the song "Salesmen, Cheats and Liars" via the typical salesman caricature
• Panel three references the song "Rosy and Grey" (the name of the beer) and a line from "The Eternal Fatalist" ("You nearly drank up all of my beer"-hence the empty beer case) 
• The fourth panel touches on the songs "For the Hand of Magdalena" (via the quote on the postcard) and "Letter from Bilbao" (via the postmark and address). My wife provided the handwriting since mine is very crude/illegible and hers has a nice femininity to it (obviously).
• Panel number five focuses on the song "Under the Carlaw Bridge", which has some of my favourite lyrics on the album and I felt deserved a stark panel all to itself
• The final panel ends on a lighter note referencing the songs "Gossip Talkin' Blues" (the birds chatting amongst themselves) and "Henry Needs a New Pair of Shoes" (the "King Henry" character stepping up to steal the shoes from the wire)
A big thank you is in order to Stephen, Ron, David and John for letting me be a part of this and for all the great feedback as this was put together.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sketchbook Detritus-Edmonton Long Weekend Edition

I finally broke the Western barrier of Ontario over the weekend and ended up in Edmonton  for a family function on my wife's side.  When I could find time, I worked in a new travel sketchbook and these were some of my more fun ideas, including a doodle dedicated to the late great Macho Man Randy Savage (which I scrawled as soon as I read the news). 
Savage was one of my favourite wrestlers as a young WWF fan, even though I made the error of cheering against him the first time I ever saw a live wrestling event at  Maple Leaf Gardens in 1986. On TV he put on some of the best matches ever, was definitely entertaining and had the best voice. RIP Macho Man...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Boozin' With Beelzebub...

More new work arriveth in the mail for me this week in the form of the latest "Bon Vivant" column. "I'm allergic to sulphur, are there any wines I can drink" was the chosen question for this month and who better to represent the downside of sulphur than the devil himself? I looked to Jim Flora for inspiration and came up with a super stripped down 2 colour representation that's one of my favourite pieces so far this year.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Kipling Station

I contributed this here one pager to the "Subway Issue" of Toronto based comics anthology, Grawlix, which was released over the weekend to coincide with TCAF.  I decided to step away from the digital world for a change, partially due to time constraints, but also to come up with something a bit more loose and similar to my sketchbook doodles or what I tend to do at the Comic Jam. I went straight to ink, which meant a lot of trial and error and more than a few re-renderings, but I'm quite content with the end result. It has just the touch of whimsy that works with the subject matter. Please check out the website  or contact Dalton Sharp at for information on grabbing a copy...

Monday, May 9, 2011

New Work-Broken Pencil Issue #51

The newest issue of Broken Pencil (#51), arrived in my mailbox today and above are my illustration contributions. The top illustration accompanies the main article "Art on Two Wheels: The Rise of Cycling as Culture". In particular the piece is inspired the Bicycle Music Festival-a festival entirely powered by bikes attached to generators-but I thought it would work better if the bike was powering a camera as opposed to something music related. I'm pretty happy with the minimalist approach I took to it, although I should have omitted some of the texture in the background.
The bottom is the header image for a new column in the magazine called "DIY Drama" which reports on all the little beefs that might be going on in the indie community. 
Issue #51 also includes the B&W version of the newest Mr. Monitor, which will be slow in showing up online due to some changes to the BP website. The issue also features spectacular illustrations by Raymond Biesinger, a great strip by Vicki Nerino and more....