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....