Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Evolution of Man and Woman + process

This is a project I did for my figure illustration class in which we had to fill a 16x40 inch composition with human figures in a procession across the page. The subject matter was left up to the students, and my mind immediately fell on an evolution of man poster. I've always found the subject fascinating, and love to draw hominids and other ancient creatures. I've also often thought about doing reconstructions and scientific illustrations as part of my future career, and instantly saw the potential for learning with this project.

I started with my own research online and in books from our school library, but that was only to get my initial sketch done. I went to the University of Calgary's Archaeology department to get critiques and further information from an expert. I didn't see any point in making this piece unless I tried to make it as accurate as I could get it.

I ended up meeting 4 or 5 experts while I was there, and was even allowed to take photos of, and handle samples of fossilized hominid bones for helping with reference, along with the wealth of information I was given by the professors. It was an incredibly stimulating process, and I learned a lot about this most-interesting of subjects. I left with a lot more information than I thought I would, and was really excited to move forward on the project. After discussing the piece with Dr. Anne Katzenberg and listening to her critiques and insight I was inspired to start over from scratch, only using my previous sketches (which had been critiqued) as reference, and all the books and information I was given for a whole new drawing. Two of the main ideas Dr. Katzenberg left me with was her desire to see the Neanderthal stereotype broken. They weren't hunched-over half-beasts, but were just as able and intelligent and cultured as "we" were (at that time). They had language and would even burry their dead (and decorated the grave sites with flowers!). She also wanted to see a friendly Neanderthal, and really, so did I. She also mentioned how she thought the idea of making an "evolution of woman" poster would be a real breath of fresh air, and I felt I could really sympathize with her point of view. I thought it was a very stimulating idea, and that along with all the other amazing information I gathered, I resolved to start my piece from scratch.

I was welcomed warmly and patiently, and was thrilled with my experiences at the University of Calgary

(There's a larger version down below, with more accurate colors. Blogger always seems to dull my colors)

I regret not being able to meet with them again to go over the progress of the illustration above, but I tried to take their input and information and apply as faithfully as I could, and hopefully I didn't horribly misrepresent these wonderful hominids.

I'd like to formally thank Dr. Katzenberg for her incredible insight and input, Dr. Russel for escorting me and helping me with finding samples, as well as the books she lent me, Dr. Mercader for his welcoming attitude and generosity with his information, Dr. David for his input and also for the books he lent me, and to Nicki Engel for helping guide me and help me find valuable and fascinating information, and to all for taking time out of their hectic schedules to help me with this long-time-coming project! I couldn't have done it without you!

****here's a way-huge version for anyone who wants a closer look:
Large version!

(I hope I didn't do a horrible job with these figures, and that if I did, you could someday find it in your hearts to forgive me.)

Here's a record of my process on the piece, including development sketches of the old version:

This is my first preliminary sketch, trying to get my first idea on paper. I had a lot more different "sub-genres" of homo, all very innacurate, all male
First sketch

These are refined, individual sketches of the figures above, minus a few that I chose not to include pretty early on
H. Habilis
H. Rudolfensis
H. Georgicus
H. Ergaster
H. Erectus
H. Cepranensis
H. Hiedelbergensis
H. Rhodesiensis
H. Neanderthalensis
H. Sapiens
H. Floresiensis

These are some pictures of my trip to the University of Calgary
Some samples
Me with a gigantopithecus skull reconstruction

Here's the process/development of the final piece in it's main steps
Line work
Base colors
Rendering and type (finished)

The Magician's Nephew

We were assigned to do illustrations for a storybook for out last project in our illustration class and I chose to do The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis. Here is the cover illustration I did for it

Large version

It's of Digory riding Fledge, the newly-winged horse. A lot of people have been confused by the mane on the horse, but I put it thre for 4 reasons:

1. To help keep it warm in the cold, high air
2. To give the rider something to hold on to
3. To give it a visual tie back to Aslan, who gave the horse it's wings
4. To distinguish it from other pegasusi. It needed that little twist to make it my own, and to hopefully make it worth looking at

Sunday, April 12, 2009


This are some spot illustrations I did for Black Sheep Studios for their new magazine Vehicle, debuting at the Calgary Comic Expo. If you're in town you should swing by the Stampede grounds and meet us!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Oh, That Monday

This is a quick comic I did for my contemporary narrative class. The project was we had to write a 4 sentence story a few weeks ago, and then for this project we had to take our short story and then combine with a short story from the anthology we use for the class. I combined my story with a short story called "Dog Monday's Vigil". I originally chose it for no better reason than it was the shortest story I could find in the book (it's an anthology of canadian short stories, alright? Can you blame me?), but it ended up being a really touching, heart-warming story about a dog named Dog Monday who waited for his master for 4 years at a train station while he was away fighting in World War One. It has a happy ending, and it made me cry (happy tears), so if you get the chance, you should check it out. It'll lift your spirits. So anyway, I did this yesterday. I tried to do it as fast as I can, so the art is really... Bunk. But I added color to it to hopefully compensate. Anyway, I just wanted to have fun doing it. I loved drawing Dog Monday looking out the window. I have a friendly yellow lab at home, so I tried to model Dog Monday after him.

PS: My 4-sentence short story was: Dwayne was lonely. One day a woman named Candace moved in next door. Dwayne asked her out on a date and she accepted. Dwayne wasn't lonely anymore.