O Canada – Royal Canadian Mint

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Last year I illustrated this 2016 O Canada Gift Set for The Royal Canadian Mint. How I forgot to blog about it is beyond me, as it is one of the coolest projects I’ve ever worked on. The sets are distributed through Canada Post outlets across Canada. I designed and illustrated both the packaging and the loonie for this set. We wanted a very Canadian package with a more hip and indie vibe to it. It wasn’t possible to actually print on Kraft paper so I included a Kraft paper texture that printed looking just like the real thing.

I also designed the packages for all of the other Gift Sets which included Baby, Wedding, Birthday and Holiday sets. I illustrated the loonie designs on each of those sets as well. Shown here are the images of my O Canada set, as it includes the most illustration and it’s the one I’m very proud of. It was my first time designing packaging. I spent a lot of time tweaking die-lines and colours to make sure everything worked out. I’m incredibly happy with how they turned out.

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ESPN – Hurricane Katrina 10 Year Anniversary

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My illustration on the cover of ESPN, The Magazine

This was one of those amazing assignments that was so much fun to work on. I was asked to create little illustrations for the beginning of each chapter in ESPN Magazine‘s Hurricane Katrina issue. Each spot was to illustrate stages of the disaster, from the flood itself, to the rebuild and current state of New Orleans. After working on a few of the chapter illustrations it came up that I would also draw a half page illustration for the opener, and then, towards the end of the project it was decided that a combination of my drawings would be used on the cover!

I’ve worked for ESPN a few times now, but it was one of those magazines early in my career that I wanted to work for so badly. I used to pore over issues every week at the Walgreen’s near my apartment in Brooklyn and see so many great illustrations in each issue, always wishing it was me in there.

This was a funny assignment in that as much as the art director loved my initial drawings, he felt it would be best to use my looser, less detailed sketches. Below are my original, detailed drawings, and at the bottom of this post you’ll see the images used in print.

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Illustration showing the flood

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A happy and revitalized New Orleans

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Sadness in New Orleans

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Rays of hope over the New Orleans skyline

Final drawings and layouts

Final drawings and layouts

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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.

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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NBA Preview – Los Angeles Times

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I’ve wanted to do an NBA Preview illustration for a long time. Well, any NBA illustration sounds pretty good to me, so when I got the call to do a full page illustration for the Los Angeles Times about the upcoming NBA Season (tip off tonight!) I was excited to take it on.

I illustrated four West Coast and 4 East Coast players, including an injured Kevin Durant and a revitalized Derrick Rose. Tim Duncan is in there too, feeling ignored.

Thanks to Michael for a really fun assignment. Go Bulls.

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Progress shot. Drawing the players separately.

 

Beginner’s Guide to Cycling – Bicycling Magazine

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I had the chance to really get into this assignment with Bicycling Magazine, for a feature about cycling for beginners. It was a feature article where I also illustrated some instructional illustrations and small spots. But the most fun piece was this full-pager to open the feature. Jesse Southerland, the fantastic art director who I worked with on this, wanted a “hero shot” depicting a cyclist on his bike.

I just so happen to have a brother-in-law who is quite the cyclist and knowledgeable about all things bikes. Jean-Marc helped me out by taking reference photos for the instructional illustrations I did and this full-pager. That’s him on the bike! He graciously posed for photos on a rainy Montreal morning and emailed them right away so I could work to meet the deadline. Thanks J-M!

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Art Direction and design by Jesse Southerland

 

Map of Houston’s Museum District – Houstonia Magazine

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I worked on this fun 3-panel foldout map for Houstonia Magazine for a special insert about Houston’s Museum District.

I really wanted to work in a long scene at the bottom and thankfully, due to the shape of the map area itself, this worked out well with the long format I had to work with. We were able to fit in all the map info we needed and had lots of room left for walking dinosaur skeletons, tigers, a flying fish, and a picnic.

Below are a few detail shots of some of the map, including a few museums and other landmarks directly below.

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Joakim Noah – Chicago Bulls

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My favorite player in the NBA right now is Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls. He’s full of energy and hustle and is a ton of fun to watch.

In high school I made drawings of my favorite Bulls players before the playoffs, photocopied them and gave them to friends. I loved to draw and wanted to bring good luck to my team. They won three championships in the years I did that back then, but of course they had Michael Jordan on their team.

If you’re a Bulls fan and are interested in buying prints of this piece, check out my Etsy shop, or check out A Spectacular Move for more of my NBA illustrations.

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NOOK Collective Holiday Art Show

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South Porcupine

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This is a piece I contributed to the NOOK Collective  Holiday Art show in Toronto this past weekend. The only requirement in creating my piece was to keep it circular.

I made a special trip to Toronto for the opening and had a great time seeing all the excellent work and catching up with some of my teachers from Sheridan who I haven’t seen for about 10 years! Thanks to everyone who came out to the show and to the organizers for inviting me to be a part of it.

If you’re interested in purchasing this piece please send me an email for more details.

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