Sunday, December 13, 2015

Craft Fairs

I've had the pleasure of participating in several professional craft fairs recently. Over the last few years Calgary and Edmonton have seen a rise in high quality curated craft fairs including Market Collective (Calgary), New Craft Coalition (Calgary), Royal Bison (Edmonton), and Make It (Edmonton and Vancouver).

Other ACAD school of communication design alumni are participating as well. The motivation for their involvement varies including some who have developed stand alone business ventures, others an extension of their design or illustration practice, and some I suspect do it just for the kicks. We are doing it for all of the above reasons in addition to research for an upcoming picture book series set in a craft fair.

Here are a few of the school of communication design alumni that have participated in these craft show recently include:

Suzanne Lemermeyer

Suzanne creates custom designed t-shirts and tea towels which her brother Robert Lemermeyer silkscreens.


Stephanie Buchan
Chelsea Montgomery
Stephanie and Chelsea have created a boutique stationery design studio with a passion for weddings.


Kyle Chow
Kyle expands the footprint of his Inglewood store, bringing a sampling of his miniature plant world's with him.


Michael Mateyko

Craft fairs give Michael the opportunity to create fun self directed designs and projects.


Curtis Sorensen

Through his photo illustration canadian landscapes,
Curtis fosters an appreciation for the natural environment.


Kelly and Byron Eggenschwiler

Byron has been exploring his interest in silk screen by designing and hand printing his own hipster shirts. Kelly has combined her design skills with good old fashioned sewing.


Kim Smith

Kim is showcasing her picture books and illustrations for posters and cards.


Emily Chui

Emily features illustrative and pattern based prints, cards, and portraits.


Dena Seiferling

Dena is bringing her lovely wool sculptures to the public.


Jenny Bonar

Jenny has just started showcasing her work but already has a professional and comprehensive collection.


Chika Ando

Chika features her illustrated characters and thoughts on cards, prints, buttons, etc.


Heather Reinhardt

Heather is a veteran of the craft fair scene with her unique multi-color designs she silkscreens herself.


Jason Blower

Jason is a one man crafting machine!


Lyndsay Wasko

Designer Lyndsay Wasko likes to create cute critters and such in her spare time.


Mike Kerr and Renata Liwska

Last but not least I've been focused on rolling out collaborative art cards.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Joy Ang & Adventure Time

If you've spent time on tumblr or other social media checking out posts of other artists/art students you've likely noticed that the cartoon series Adventure Time has been a major influence on the cartooning/drawing world. Even if you don't have cable TV (like me) and have never seen the cartoon and are too stubborn (or foolish like me) to use any internet tricks to get access to it, you'll be hard pressed not to feel the influence of the show.

So it's pretty exciting to see what ACAD alumni Joy Ang has done for the cartoon (such as the title cards below). Beyond being super gorgeously painted, the title cards are fascinating in how they are collaboratively produced. The first example shows the final art painted by Joy on the left and the design created by artist Emily Partridge on the right. All of cards are done as collaborative process like this.

Joy has worked on the show as a designer as well, drawing some pretty neat stuff – who wouldn't be excited to draw a penguin with it's brain sticking out! It certainly makes me regret not seeing the show even more. (below are a few examples of what I am missing)

I've previously posted the children's books that Joy has illustrated but she has also been doing some comic book and web comic stuff. Here's a fun web comic that follows a creative formula that we've also been exploring in the classroom - draw and write stuff based on your own experiences or thoughts.

I can (and have) read this comic again and again and it makes me smile each time. Find more at

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Fiona Staples

I haven't had a chance to read the latest trade paper back edition of Saga (volume 5), I am waiting for the perfect time to delve into the amazing world that artist Fiona Staples and writer Brian K Vaughan have lovingly created.  Hopefully a quiet and sunny weekend morning where I can absorb all the richness and texture of the art and story.

I was trying to think of a good metaphor for Fiona's work and what came to me is that she's like the Wayne Gretzky of comic books, she seems to have been born to make comics. She has pared down her art to it's essence, her line work is economical and graceful. Her painted colors and backgrounds are energetic and exciting but never too flashy. I might be building it up too much, but so far Saga is one of those books that really does live up to the hype.

Here is some of the hype:

World-class talent teams up to create this galactic adventure that is comics' finest space opus of our time. Vaughan crisply depicts the perils of parenting in wartime. And Staples Harvey award-winning pen dazzles on almost every page. - The Washington Post

Saga is not just one of the standout comic books of the last decade it's an incredible affirmation that there's still room for originality in science fiction, even in a marketplace dominated by powerhouse franchises. - The Atlantic

Jillian Tamaki

Last year Jillian Tamaki was awarded a Governor General's Award for Children Literature for her YA graphic novel This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki. This year she is back with another super graphic novel Super Mutant Magic Academy, which she also wrote.

SMMA is an excellent example of the change that is occurring in publishing. Originally created as a web comic it was only later expanded into a printed graphic novel. What hasn't changed is that it features more of the vivid drawings, poignant emotions, and wry humour that Jillian has become well known for.

Scott Kowalchuk

When Scott Kowalchuk was at art school he was already doing his signature retro comic book style art. It was pretty sweet back then and even sweeter now but in an age of Dark Knights I wondered where his 1960's inspired work would get the spotlight it deserved. Only a few years later and the answer seems obvious – a 1960's inspired Batman comic! This is the second issue Scott has drawn and it's no riddle that his passion and tenacity has so quickly given him an opportunity to be a part of this timeless classic comic book series.

Riley Rossmo

Riley Rossmo visited the students at ACAD last week and among the words of wisdom he imparted was a variation on the idea that a person needs to do something for 10000 hours in order to be truly be good at it. For comic books the idea is an artist needs to do 1000 pages (which he figured would work out to about 10000 hrs) to get to where they needed to be as a comic book artist.

With all the comics that Riley has published he is far beyond that page count – and his work is pretty amazing because of it. The final issue of his most recent series Rasputin was released just last week and is his finest work to date. It must be a daunting challenge to take a subject from the dusty past and make it into something exciting and relevant to a contemporary audience. Riley's interpretation of Rasputin seems to do it effortlessly, it just seems natural that Rasputin appear as this post modern action anti-hero.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Dena Seiferling

I am enamoured by the frozen instants of time that ACAD instructor and alumni Dena Seiferling has captured with her needle felting sculptures. Each character tells a moment of story that invites me into their imagined lives. They feel sentimentally familiar, like a favourite picture book character from childhood come to life.

Dena's characters are super sweet, but not sugary sweet. They are sculpted with a sophistication and realism which, combined with a healthy dollop of quirkiness, gives the designs a living personality. They feel so imbued with life that looking at photos of their creation feels almost uncomfortable to me, like taxidermy. The accomplished sketches can be appreciated all on their own, and I find it intriguing to see how they are translated into the finished sculptures.

 Dena will be bring her raw wool creations to Make It Edmonton Nov 26-29th and Market Collective in Calgary Dec 18-20.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

We're Back for the 2015 fall semester

Whew it's been a while! But school is in full swing and I have lot's to show and talk about. Our first post is just about ready and I will be posting it shortly.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Gladzy Kei Zuniga

I wish you could see Gladzy's drawings and sketches in person - wow can she draw!
She's no slouch at painting either, which you can get a good view of on her online portfolio.

Amy Pon

If I had to choose a single word to describe Amy's work I would say versatile. It's a great word because it describes a lot of things – and Amy is good at a lot of things. She is, of course, good at design. But she can also draw super well and from checking out her portfolio she does great photography too. A designers role in the industry today doesn't seem to be limited to one discipline anymore, it's expanded to a lot things. Amy's versatility will