Sketches From Wales

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Buildings built against the castle walls of Skenfrith Castle

I’m just back from a fantastic two week trip to Wales. One of my favorite things to do on a trip is to take a couple of hours when my wife and I can sit down and make a sketch. Working on these pieces ends up being some of my favorite experiences of the trip since I really get to just sit there and take everything in. Here are the 5 drawings I did.

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Low tide in Porthgain harbor in Pembrokeshire

I really wish I had more time for this sketch in Porthgain, but I’m happy with the looseness of it. The Pembrokeshire coast is everything I hoped for in Wales; craggy cliffs, lighthouses and fishing villages. While we worked on this one we met many friendly people stopping by for a peek.

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A thatched roof cottage in Sandy Park, Devon

This sketch in Sandy Park was our first one of the trip. We had an hour before nearby Castle Drogo opened and sat down for this little painting next to the inn where we were staying. That windy road going around that cottage is one car width wide. Watching how trucks and tour buses and cars navigate the small roads is pretty incredible. Driving on them is pretty insane too, and actually kind of exciting. While sketching this one, a motorcyclist bumped into a driver in front of him and fell off his bike. He was okay and just hoped we didn’t put the accident in the sketch.

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The beautiful town of Beddgelert

Beddgelert was one of my favorite towns in Wales. It’s in the Snowdonia National Park and we used it as our home base for a couple of days while exploring other towns nearby. The temperature really dropped while I was working on this one and I had to finish it off wearing gloves. Such a beautiful town surrounded by the mountains.

Hay-on-Wye, the town of more used book stores than you can visit in a day and Bartrum's Stationery shop

Hay-on-Wye, the town of more used book stores than you can visit in a day and Bartrum’s Stationery shop

Hay-on-Wye was another of my favorite towns in Wales. It’s a used book store heaven with about 28 book shops, a great antique map shop and many other antique shops and places to explore. This shop, Bartrums, was one of my favorite shops in all of Wales. They had great stuff in there. Journals and paper and beautiful fountain pens. It also made for a great place to draw, although it was a very tricky one with the curves in the building and the perspective of the steep street.

While we were working on this one we got to witness some local booksellers buying books from a dealer from the trunk of his car. A dairy delivery truck parked right in front of us for a few minutes and the driver apologized for the inconvenience by giving us a box full of tasty cheese sticks. And Barty, the owner of Bartrums, came by and gave us some pencils. It’s because of these things that I love sitting in one spot for two hours and drawing while on vacation.

Big Spring 2015 Recap!

I’ve been working hard this spring on a lot of great new projects. Some I can share here, some I’ll unfortunately have to wait a while to reveal! But in the meantime, here are some recent projects from a variety of fantastic clients.

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For PM Network

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Smithsonian Magazine

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Smithsonian Magazine

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Smithsonian Magazine

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Houston Hospitals for Houstonia

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Houston Hospitals for Houstonia (detail)

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Houston Hospitals for Houstonia (detail)

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Houston Hospitals (detail 3)

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How to shuck an oyster for Atlanta Magazine

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Atlanta Magazine

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Preparing salmon for Atlanta Magazine

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College Football Preview experts for ESPN Magazine and advice expert for Atlanta Magazine

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Portraits for Investment Advisor Magazine

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Portraits for Investment Advisor Magazine

TIME 100 – Most Influential People of 2015

 

 

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Joanne Liu, Chris Pratt, Muhammadu Buhari

I have over 20 portraits in this year’s TIME 100 issue, which lists the 100 most influential people of the year. The people are separated into a few categories: Titans, Pioneers, Artists, Leaders and Icons. It was a fantastic project and I’m excited to see my work in one of the most prestigious issues of TIME.

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Battle of Neuve-Chapelle – Royal Canadian Mint

I’m happy to share another coin I illustrated for the Royal Canadian Mint. This coin remembers the acts of bravery by Canadians in the Battle of Neuve-Chapelle from the First World War (1915). I illustrated soldiers manning an 18-pounder field gun, with smoke billowing after a shot has been fired. A sergeant looks through his binoculars to gauge the accuracy of the hit.

The gold-plated  figure at the bottom of the coin was not designed by me, but is the winged figure of Victory that appeared on the Victory Medals awarded during the First World War.

If you’re interested in ordering one, please visit the Mint’s online store.

Battle of Neuve-Chappelle coin with original drawing in background.

Battle of Neuve-Chappelle coin with original drawing in background.

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Detail image of the coin.

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The coin is 38mm in diameter with select gold-plating.

From original drawing to engraved coin.

From original drawing to engraved coin.

Road Trips – Texas Journey Magazine

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I illustrated these vintage postcard style illustrations for the American Automobile Association magazine Texas Journey. The imagery I used includes landmarks and sites along three road trips outlined in the magazine, including the Texas Independence Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina through Virginia), and Hawaii Island’s Scenic Byways.

It had been a little while since I’d illustrated one of these pieces and along came an assignment where I was asked to do two of them. They’re a lot of fun for me to work on and while very time consuming, I love how they turn out in the end.

I’ve been meaning to illustrate one based on my little village of Westport, Ontario, so hopefully this will finally be the year I get that done.

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Sir John A. Macdonald Coin – Royal Canadian Mint

Sir John A. Macdonald coin (image by the Royal Canadian Mint)

Sir John A. Macdonald coin (image by the Royal Canadian Mint)

I am excited to once again share a coin I illustrated for the Royal Canadian Mint. This coin celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John Alexander Macdonald.

The coin is 34 mm, 1/2 oz silver and gold plated figure of Sir John A. The mintage is 10,000. It’s extremely exciting to see my illustrations reproduced in coin form, engraved in fine silver or gold.

I took a tour of the Mint last weekend and one of the coins they passed around as an example of different finishes and technology was this one.  It was pretty funny to be in the crowd of visitors and have my own coin handed to me during the tour.

Here are a few more images of the coin, and an animated GIF at the bottom showing the original drawing to the finished coin.

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Close-up of the coin. The dust and small scratches are on the plastic protective case, not the coin itself, thankfully!

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The reflections on the silver background create a nice contrast with the gold figure of Sir John A.

 

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Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Coin – Royal Canadian Mint

I’m very excited to share my first ever coin for The Royal Canadian Mint.

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2 oz gold coin. Mintage of 300. Rare!

2 oz silver coin. Mintage of 5000.

2 oz silver coin. Mintage of 5000.

Original pencil drawing

Original pencil drawing

This collector coin celebrates the 100 year anniversary of the Last Spike, the completion of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway that linked eastern Canada to the west.

I was asked to depict a 1914-era steam train traveling over the Grand Trunk Bridge in Saskatoon. It took a lot of research to find the correct era train and to find images of the bridge. Being my first coin, I wasn’t sure how much detail I could get away with for something that would be reproduced so small. The silver coin is 54 mm in diameter, and even that is pretty large for a coin. I decided to just draw the image with as much detail as I wanted and hope the engravers would find a way to make it work. They made it even better than I could have imagined, adding detail to the water and clouds, textures to the bridge and train and finding a way to reproduce even the smallest details.

This is the type of dream job that is such a dream that it doesn’t even make the list of dream jobs, it seems so unattainable. I never thought I’d have my artwork on a coin and I couldn’t be happier about it.

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Letterpress Christmas Cards 2014

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I have been drawing holiday cards for my wife’s stationery company, Papillon Press, for a few years now. I draw a couple of cards and she draws a couple to add to the holiday collection every year. Our cards are carried in stores throughout North America and a few shops in Europe. If you’re looking to buy some new cards for the season, you can take a look at our holiday selection here.

This year we drew some mischievous animals. Here are my two contributions for 2014.

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Merry Dam X-Mas

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Penguin Presents

 

Portraits for Billboard Magazine

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Here are some portraits I illustrated for Billboard Magazine. I drew these people for a feature about 1984: Pop Music’s Best Year Ever. They are Jack Antonoff, Katharine Hamnett, Patton Oswalt and Camille Pagila.

The feature was so great, it was written up on Robert Newman’s Newmanology blog. Below are the fun and fantastic looking spreads that my work appeared on, designed by Patrick Crowley at Billboard Magazine.

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