Love of Hockey

As a Canadian, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise when I admit to being a huge hockey fan. Saturday Night Hockey has definitely become a ritual for me, as well as for my family and friends. Finishing all your work just before the weekend so you have absolutely nothing to do before the clock strikes 7pm, is amusing to some but guaranteed to be a very serious notion for others!  😀

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I started creating Hockey art as a fun way to support my team the Toronto Maple Leafs, and in general all other NHLers I was a fan of. As seasons went by I found myself trying to get more creative in the way I represented certain players; whether it was through their personalities, nicknames, or their goalie masks.

The very first artwork I did was of goaltender, James Reimer. Affectionately nicknamed ‘Optimus Reim’ by Leafs fans, I was determined to create a piece that was bit more heavy on the details than I usually went for. To have Optimus Prime from Transformers was of course and option for this piece, but I thought it was rather too simple and obvious. I ended up choosing a rather curious and confused Bumblebee, and ended up loving the piece I did of my favourite goalie.

WIPs

With the Leafs not making the playoffs for a couple years now, I would have to be satisfied watching other teams compete and get inspired from watching their goalies in action. There were 2 that stood out for me; Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen and the Sharks Martin Jones. I especially had fun creating the piece with Andersen, and wanted to include the aspect of Lego blocks from his mask; and I thought it only fitting as he is Danish. The concept for both Andersen’s and Jones’ drawings were to include some ‘additional’ help to their already superb abilities.

Hockey art is definitely a different turn from the usual fantasy art that I do, but it nevertheless improved my abilities with a micron pen. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do more after the Reimer piece, but people seem to enjoy them, and I’ve grown quite fond of making them.

Morningstar

After recovering from a miserable week of pulling my neck and back, I was finally able to sit down and do some sketches. I prefer using my Strathmore Toned Paper for more ‘finished’ sketches (if I can use that term); rather than using a regular sketchbook, which I usually do prelim sketches, everyday doodles, etc.

 

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Portfolio DIY

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As I make my own portfolio cases (for newer pieces that I need on hand sometimes), I thought it’d be fun and different to show what the process looks like. I’m sure most of you have encountered some sort of method if you’ve gone to any art school, if not I hope this will help someone out there. 🙂

Cutting Decorative Paper to Size

You can use any type of paper you want, whether it has patterns on it or is plain; I personally found 2 prints I liked in this adhesive-backed paper at a local Dollar-Store, that came in a roll. (You never know what you’ll find at Dollar-Stores or your local thrift stores, so always check them out.) You should be able to find similar items at your local craft/hobby store, OR you can always apply glue or double-sided tape to any paper and use it that way.

 

What I’m doing here is basically cutting the paper to fit the space I want covered on top of my Portfolio. You will obviously need 2 sheets, one for each side. Now this is totally a personal preference, but you can either choose to cover up the duct tape edges (hinges) of your portfolio, or leave the taped edges exposed and cover the rest of the surface with the paper.

Since I’m using a paper that has adhesive at the back, I have to carefully line up the paper to the edges as well as pull away the backing paper at the same time. So if you’re familiar with things like laminating documents and such, you’ll know that you have to get rid of air bubbles and wrinkles that appear. Usually you would use a tool for this (the name of which escapes my mind right now…), but I ended up grabbing a pack of gum which works just as well. Using small amounts of pressure, use a swiping motion across the paper to even/smoothe it out.

After you’ve attached the paper to both sides of the Portfolio, you could leave it at that and attach paper/binder clips to the edges to close the portfolio as you would do normally. However, I like mine to look a little more vintage/victorian, so instead of clips that will dig in to the foam-core, I used some craft ribbon to go around the portfolio and tied a nice tight bow to secure all my artwork inside.  You may want to double up on the ribbon if you’re doing this for a larger portfolio.

And Done.

Foamcore Portfolio Case

A simple and inexpensive way to make a case like the one above is to get some sheets of foam core board and duct tape, and put it together as I have done below. Before you cut anything however, its important that you first figure out what size you need your case to be, as well as the height/depth of the portfolio. If you make a case with the boards too close together, your work won’t fit or will get crushed inside. I suggest you take your artwork(s) and place it in between 2 boards you’ve already cut to size, and then measure the height and keep that in mind for when it comes to taping.

What you’re going to do is take your 2 foam boards, place them side by side with about a 1.5 inch gap in between (or whatever the height you measured, and kept note of). *The bigger gap you leave the larger the height of your portfolio will be, and the amount of space you’ll have to put your work in.

Next, place a strip of duct tape across the the length, making sure to cover the space you’ve kept but as well as leave enough to cover a bit of the edge of both boards. You can always add extra tape later to secure the first layer. Repeat this same step for the other side (what will be inside of your portfolio), and you’re done! Just fold it over in half like a book, and you have your case. It’s that simple.

On a side note, I would prefer to have a flat filing cabinet to store all my finished work, but if you have a VERY small studio/workspace like me, you have to work with what you have. So, these Portfolio Cases come in very handy.

Twin Swords

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I’ve found smaller drawings like this piece to be quite enjoyable to do. If you’re curious, I usually use Faber Castell’s Classic & Polychromos along with anything I can find on hand. I like to think of the Polychromos as the oil paints of colour pencils. In my opinion, the blending abilities as well as the overall results you can achieve just doesn’t compare to a lot of other brands.

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Toned Sketches

I’ve recently started using my sketchbook more regularly, giving full credit to the paper quality of the Strathmore Toned Tan. I discovered that lots of artist have been using toned papers to produce fantastic sketches as well drawings/illustrations, so I knew I had to try it myself. The other instrument to this great experience was the Prismacolor Col-Erase pencils. Although they come with terrible erasers (at least in my opinion…) I find that kneaded erasers do the job; combined with any white coloured-pencil, you can create a lot of interest to your drawings. 

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29.07.2015 ‘Original Brotherhood’ Person of Interest

Silver and Berries

One of my greatest inspirations are the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and the world and characters of Middle Earth he created. I have to admit I didn’t really know much about the books before watching Peter Jackson’s adaption of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but I was hooked instantly.

With the release of the Hobbit films, there were no more words for my love of elves; pointy ears, beautiful architecture, trees and waterfalls, flowing robes and everything else. I’ve seen many portrayals of elves from Tolkien’s works, every artist has their own take, as did Peter Jackson. For the elven-king Thranduil, I found myself combing all the different inspirations from both text and visuals I ever saw.

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King of the Mirkwood, colour-pencils & micron, 13×16″, 2015

This is still one of my favourite pieces, so it was only fitting that I decided to frame it in something equally regal and elegant as the subject. I do my own framing including matting and adding all other archival elements to the finished piece.

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Some works in progress shots for this drawing.

 

Secrets of the Night

Creative Allies has some great opportunities to create cover art for music bands and individual singers. This was from a contest a while back for Loreena McKennitt’s album The Journey So Far. Inspired by the lyrics of ‘All Souls Night’, I did this painting initially as a contest entry but I liked the process and results enough to consider it an addition to my portfolio.

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Secrets of the Night, watercolours, 12×18″, 2014