Friday, November 06, 2009

Patriotic Penguin

A commission for a friend of the family ... a birthday gift for her boyfriend, who is an RCMP officer.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


It's official!

I am writing and illustrating Penguin Group Canada's first original graphic novel, a biography of Canadian First World War hero Billy Bishop.

The as-yet-untitled YA graphic novel will focus on Bishop's early life and career as a fighter pilot. Publication is scheduled for fall, 2011.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dead DJs

Last month I was asked to illustrate a promo poster for an event at a particular nightclub in New York. They were pretty clear on what they wanted ... the DJs being featured at the event drawn as superheroes.

I was also asked to find a way to incorporate each DJ's particular signature brand, company logo, or prop into the costume designs. Each DJ needed relatively equal treatment in the poster, save for one, who owns the club in question. And, of course, likenesses were important. Oh yeah ... try to get the nightclub logo in there too.

They called me on a Friday ... and needed the full-colour final for Tuesday. But we worked out a reasonable fee, so the work began.

I thought the sketches turned out pretty well - I put a lot of work into designing distinct characters based on the DJ's, incorporated a lot of stuff they wanted, and they layouts were pretty cool. Those are some tiny heads to capture a likeness on, but I was going to worry about that more in the final when I'd be working at a larger size.

The art director liked them, but it turned out there was someone else I needed to impress. The DJs' representatives rejected it, and they scrapped the idea entirely. Now, illustrations get killed - no biggie, it just happens sometimes. Could the folks at the club have checked with the artists' reps before asking me to do something so specific? Maybe ... but you live and learn, and next time I'll know to ask.

In the meantime, this is the only forum in which the sketches will ever be seen (a little too specific to use for another illo) ... and it was too much work over too short a period of time to let them just sit on my hard drive.

Friday, July 10, 2009

More sketches ...

The first two are from my Moleskine sketchbook, the other two from my larger sketchbook. Each has their own flaws, though I think the masked Wolverine is the most wonky.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Beta Ray Bill

I'm waiting to hear back from an editor about a big project at the moment, so in the meantime, I've had some, well, time. And time off is always a good opportunity to experiment! This pic isn't a huge departure from my current method, but I did try a couple of new things.

The character, Beta Ray Bill, is a pretty obscure dude from Thor comics. He's basically an alien who's a convert to Thor's religion, and was so badass that Odin awarded him his own hammer. To be honest, the original reason I did this drawing was to make up for a terrible con sketch I did of Beta Ray Bill, which I occasionally come across when someone visits my website through the link. I ended up liking the drawing enough to finish it off as an illustration.

Stylistically, the main thing I was trying here was an overlaying texture to make the drawing feel more like it's printed on newsprint. You can see it much better in this detail, where you can see it looks like some of the paper is coming through.

Lastly, for what it's worth, I thought I'd include the original ink drawing. I think I did a decent job with the lineweights (I did it pretty quickly, like just under two hours from start to finish), and the colour kind of obscures that.

So there you have it. Beta Ray Bill!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I've been feeling lately like I should be less "precious" about this blog. It can be hard for me to put work out there if it isn't my best work. But then, if I only posted my strongest work on this blog, it would be redundant, because that's what my "proper" website,, is for.

When I visit an illustrator's blog, I'm expecting something more personal, more intimate, and less polished. I like to see what's underneath the polish. Why should my blog be any different?

So the images in this post are some drawings I picked out of my sketchbook that I thought might be worth sharing. Not perfect, but cool enough in their own right.

The astronaut is my favourite of the bunch. I was in a Starbucks when I drew it, so I did the best I could from memory, but regardless of accuracy, I liked how it turned out.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Silver Dallas

I recently did another illustration for Dallas CEO. The article was about "tin ear" syndrome, which is when a CEO or executive is either disregarding or not paying attention to his business environment, likely leading to disaster. An example was an Insurance company CEO who spent $80,000 renovating his office after the company posted a loss and announced layoffs.

I was pretty happy with how this one turned out, particularly with the colours. I've been unsure about my colours lately, but I think this is a step in the right direction.

Westword Ho!

I recently did the cover of Westword, a weekly newspaper in Denver. The feature is about a local developer who is being sued as a result of problems in his buildings.

The art director had the concept and composition pretty much nailed down when he contacted me, so there wasn’t much interpretation on my part. I mostly shifted things around a bit to be able to see the guy’s face a bit more, and tried to put as much character in the face and hands as possible. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. - J

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Bloody Freelancing

I recently did a pin-up illustration for my friend Ian Daffern. Ian and I worked on Shock Effect together for DC Comics' Zuda.

The image is of Lance, the lead character from Ian's webcomic, Freelance Blues, which he writes with Mike Leone, and is illustrated by Vicki Tierney. Cool stuff - you can check the comic @

Meaningful words...

I’ve been meaning to start posting more often again. The image above was a piece I did for Dallas CEO (D CEO) back in December. I’ve been doing some more editorial work lately, but I can’t post it until it’s been published.

I’ve also been working on my new comic project, BRAIN FEVER, which I’m writing and illustrating myself. I’ll be posting some teaser drawings for that project soon as well.