Thursday, November 27, 2008

Illustration Show at ACAD

The Third Wave / Illustration Show '08
VCD Major Show - Illustration and Character Design Stream

Main Mall, Alberta College of Art and Design
1407- 14 Ave NW Calgary, Alberta
Show run through to December 5th

One of the artists featured in the show is Edward Kwong.
Ed graduated last spring, his work can be seen here:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Joel Arbez

Name: Joel Arbez
Graduating Year: 2004
Occupation: Art Director

What are you up to now? I’m an art director at WAX

How did you end up there? I like their work and I really enjoy being part of something new and exciting. WAX is a young and hungry agency and we seem to be a good fit.

What skills are important in your occupation? Conceptual skills is the trump card, but drawing skills are also a great asset in a small agency when budgets don’t allow for comp artists or illustrators. Also knowledge of what’s been done and what’s no longer relevant is key to creating fresh work.

What should a student have in an advertising portfolio? Great ideas first and the ability to craft them second.

What is your average day like? Coffee, conceptualize, coffee, pretend to conceptualize, coffee, youtube, then coffee.

What are the challenges and/or rewards in your occupation? Every day is different. Each client brings new challenges. Some allow for very creative solutions others play puppet master, but in the end you’re being paid to pull something out of your head and materialize it.

What were your goals or dreams when you left college? Were they realized, changed, how?
Some have been others have yet to be. I’ve always wanted to work in a large agency with international clients. The closest I came to that was at DDB Toronto for a one year stint. It was great, but big clients come with big headaches; to be honest I think big cities aren’t for me.

Has art school contributed to where you have found yourself today? Absolutely. I’d still be wrapping lettuce in at your local grocer had I not gone.

Any advice or words of wisdom to students? Try to find inspiration from your work elsewhere than other people’s work. “Better to fail in originality then succeed in imitation”. I forget who said that but it has always helped me push limits.

How did your perception of the real world change after art college? It’s a lot less forgiving and much more restraining.

What were some of the difficulties you faced when you got out of art college? Finding a job that paid my rent. In advertising if your not winning awards, you’re not making good money. It took a while to get my name recognized.

Any Final Thoughts? Send me your stuff, guys. I’m always looking for new talent and we use illustrators often.

here are a couple illustration/photography specific questions:

What is illustration or photography good for? In advertising, photography imitates reality or creates a false illusion of that reality. Illustration on the other hand gives a more personal voice to a visual piece and can be an effective tool in helping brand a product or service. Plus it’s freaking wonderfully entertaining when done properly.

When you hire a photographer or illustrator how do you find them? I usually go through annuals, Communication Arts, Applied Arts, Luerzers archive, etc. I also like to go to the ACAD portfolio show for new blood.

From an advertising point of view, what is important in an illustration/photograph? Attention to detail. And consistency of quality.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Type Design

Display of 3rd year type design projects.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Brennan Kelly

Graduating year: 2008
Profession: Illustrator
Brennan will be among the featured artists for the third annual Illustration show, which will be set up next monday the 24th of November in the main mall at ACAD. It's only up for a week but will feature some great student work from last years graduating class as well as a mix from the current year and previous years. It will also include a special feature showcasing the work of several successful alumni.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sander Henriksen and Scott Kowalchuk

An exciting aspect of modern technology is that it has allowed school to transcend the classroom. Many students are sharing their work and growth on a daily basis through tools such as Blogger or Deviant Art. Here are a couple of examples.
Sander Henriksen
Graduating Year: Current 4th year Illustration Student

Scott Kowalchuk
Graduating Year: Current 4th year Illustration Student

Saturday, November 8, 2008

In the news

Here are a few updates regarding grads we have already featured.

Juxtapoz is doing a feature on Geoff McFetridge in their current issue and have posted an online studio tour on their blog.
Here is a link.

Jillian Tamaki's graphic novel entitled Skim has been selected by the New York Times as one of the top 10 children's books of 2008.
Here is a link.
This is in addition to Skim being chosen as one of Publishers Weekly's top 10 books of 2008, winning a 2008 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Graphic Novel and a nomination for the Governor General's Award for children's book writing. Skim is illustrated by Jillian Tamaki and written by Mariko Tamaki. I'm embarrased to admit that I have only looked through the copy I picked up at Another Dimension during the summer.

Update: Here is a LINK to an article in the Calgary Herald discussing the controversy over the Governor General's Award.

And I have to mention my own Renata Liwska's opening of Little Panda which shows at Uppercase Gallery until Nov 30, students check it out if you haven't already. Little Panda has been selected to participate in a traveling show from the 2008 Original Art Exhibition (currently on exhibit at Society of Illustrators in New York). Dylis Evans, founder of the Original Art, has hand picked Renata's artwork to travel. Only 40 pieces from the entire show will travel to schools all across the US. Renata's book has also been selected by the Toronto Public Library as one of the Top 10 children's books of 2008.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tanya Lam

Graduating Year: Current 4th year Illustration Student

Tanya's show "Demon City" opened last night at 'This is Nation' in Art Central.
Below are shots of her working on a mural in the front window of the gallery, see the finished image and the rest of the show which runs from November to December.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fiona Staples

Occupation: Comic Book Artist
Graduating Year: 2006

What are the chances of working as a comic book artist?
For Fiona, the chances were pretty good. But it was her passion and determination more than luck that made it a real thing.
This was proven in her final semester at art college. For her portfolio development class she choose to work on a comic book, Done To Death, in collaboration with writer, Andrew Foley. It was picked up by a U.K. publisher and the die was cast.
Editors took notice and Fiona has been hard at it ever since. Working on superhero comics such as Wildstorm Comics -The Secret History of the Authority: Jack Hawkmoor. And pulp covers like Sheena: Queen of the Jungle. When asked how she’s been able to stay busy, Fiona replied, “Make your deadline, editors like that... A lot of artists want to work in comics but when it comes down to doing an entire comic book they just flake out.”

Here is an interview about here comic book work:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ryan Davis

Graduation year: 2007
Occupation: Graphic Designer

How did you go about getting your job at Circa?
Before Graduating, I began researching where I wanted to work. I ended up coming across a website called which posts jobs all within the action sports industry. I signed up and started applying for jobs online. It took me a couple of months before anything came up. I came home and had received a message from my current boss, Jamie Kanes, saying that she wanted to have a phone interview with me about a position they had open. I called her back. The phone interview went well, and Jamie said she would look into flying me down for another interview. One thing led to another, and a month later, I was living in California.

What was the objective with these particular images?
The direction for these ads came about with the new team that Circa was putting together for our Combat division. The Combat division is the "core" division that is marketed to sell only to local skate shops. The team is stacked with five gnarly kids who are all absolutely out of their minds, literally! The creative director's goal with these ads was to reflect the rider's crazy personalities and to have these ads stand out from the rest of the ones that are currently being produced. I was given a lot of freedom to do what I wanted to do. The only limitation given was the resources I was able to use. My creative director said to me "Ryan, these need to be BAD!" I was like awesome; I guess all the bad marks in school finally paid off.

What was the process for developing them?
The process used for these ads was inspired by the simplicity of DIY punk flyers from the 80's. The goal was to use a simplistic raw approach by only using the bare essentials. My process is similar to the way you would present things to your teacher in school. I have three concepts to show; one is chosen and then from there, it is refined to a final. All concepts are presented as 'cut and paste' compositions using a photocopier, scissors, and the colors Kinko's had available at that time.

Any particular ways art school has helped/contributed to your current work?
The tedious 1st and 2nd year cut paper projects that everyone thinks are a waste of time have paid off for me. I loved 2nd yr. The idea of craft is key to any project. How you perceive it is up to you. School is basically a safe ground for experimenting, learning how to experiment and finding ways to process your thoughts through experimentation. I think as long as you bring this process with you to any project, you will do fine.

Any advice to students on how they can end up doing cool stuff like this?
Do not be afraid to take chances, especially in school! Your grades mean nothing when it's all said and done. Approach every project, good or bad, with the same attitude and energy, something good will come of it.

Looking back, any advice to students?
Research, experiment and have fun!

Anyone you would like to thank?
I would like to thank Jamie Kanes for hiring me, Randy Ronquillo my art director for keeping things grounded and pushing the limits, Dennet Oyanguren my creative director for being completely more crazy then myself, Terrance Kinsella the person who introduced me to art college, and all the teachers who have helped me along the way. Thanks.

Credits on image:
Creative Director: Dennet Oyanguren
Art Director: Randy Ronquillo
Photographer: Broach
Designer: Ryan Davis