Graphic Design and Illustration.


Doodles, doodles, and more doodles. A whole collection of doodles and sketches I have done over the past year. Some of these were just random doodles with no real purpose, others were exercises or warm ups for other drawings, and others I might have some future plans for. Very nearly all were pencil sketches first and were inked later with a brush pen. Mostly a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and a few other various disposables from Kurateke and Tombow. Enjoy!

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Ai-Kon 2017

A few weekends ago, I finally got to both attend and table at my first convention! And while I had fun going (some of the cosplay was fantastic!), it was a sobering look at the return on investment that is selling stuff at a fan convention. Despite that, I did manage to sell a few things and scored a few commissions. I must admit, getting the commissions was a better feeling than selling the prints. And I did better financially from those as well!

I will have to do some thinking about when or if I shall do something like that again. The amount of work that went into it was tremendous and the time away from my family has a big cost as well.

Thankfully, the person I was sharing a corner with was an old pro and had some interesting tips and some insights about the particular convention I was at. So there is that. And I got to eat a sushi burrito from this place. Yummmmmmy!!!!!

See some pics of my meager booth below and some other pics of the convention courtesy of Ai-kon staff and volunteers.

A pic of my meager booth. While I went deliberately for a less cluttered booth, for both looks and budget constraints, it looks like a more “cluttered” approach may have been more worthwhile…

A view from above.

And here are a bunch of doodles I did when waiting in between sales:

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Long Time No See!

Time to dust off the this old blog and get back to some basics!

This past little while I’ve been busy with work, and chasing after two little ones. While I have still been pretty busy generating new content and expanding as an artist, I’ve had very little time to write up any articles and postings. I think it is high time to change that.

Over this past winter, I found out the local Anime convention Ai-Kon was holding what looks like an annual contest for the mascot. I had an idea for the contest and thought I would give it a try. Turned out the contest was ending soon, so I had very little time to actually put something together. A couple of very late nights and viola!

And it worked out better than the last time I tried my hand at this! I was the first runner up, thereby giving me a free half table for the convention this July.

That gives me a few months to put some things together. While I have always admired the work coming out of Japan, I am hardly an Anime and Manga enthusiast. I grew up watching Astroboy as a kid, and I remember really liking Battle of the Planets when I was really little. But I’ve only ever seen a handful of Robotech episodes (though I have read all of the novelizations) and I’ve only watched the North American version of Nausicaa of the Winds, so I have quite a lot of catching up to do.

My goal for the con is to get a least 10 original drawings as prints of various sizes (sorry, no fanart –I’m trying to steer clear from other people’s IP if I can) and try and see if I can pick up some commissions.

I will also be posting some teasers and previews on my Twitter and Instagram feeds so stay tuned!

Font Experiments

Font design is a complex design issue, barely raised in my old design classes. Getting a minimum of 26 upper and lowercase letters to work together to form words along with punctuation, numbers, accents, and other foreign language characters – you get one daunting task.

Over the years, I have dabbled in font design. While I have never released anything, into the wild, these are a few designs I feel confident talking about on my blog.

Totally 80s Font

Inspired by 80s era neon signs.


This was my first attempt at font design. Done way back in 1998, this was a make work project to teach me how to use Fontographer. While it looks crude today, it still can make nice words and short phrases. Perhaps one day I will update the worst offending glyphs. Mostly the “S”, ”E”, and “F”.


Inspired by the likes of the Tron and Terminator movie franchises. A very masculine and techno looking typeface.

Bitmap font

An experiment in type design, Bit Map simply started out as Helvetica with an Illustrator effect applied to it. A year or so of painfully tweaking the results left me with this – a totaly different and unique looking display font.

Not This one

Still a bit of a work in progress. A simple sans serif font inspired by the fun magnetic letters of my childhood. In fact, I have hopes of getting a version of this one laser cut in plastic shapes. Named after my son.


Loosely inspired by a really small and low resolution shot from Calvin Klien’s Eternity men’s cologne I found while Googling for something else (honest). Had to make up a lot of new letters.


Image of the Month – December 2015


Trying to get something in before the big move. On to bigger, and hopefully better digs! So to start the month off I tried a little something different.

This was a quick warm up sketch done my hand using a Zebra Brush Pen. I was watching a documentary on Billy the Kid and thought I would play around with the story a bit.

I also wanted to use a different colour palette. So while I am sometimes of two minds when it comes to the artwork of Noelle Stevenson, I do admire her use of colour (it tends to be quite different than mine – less saturated than what I tend to choose) so I stole… er, borrowed some colours from a similar composition she did. Check out her work over here.

I then added some extra effects to achieve a slightly old-time effect. Turned out rather nice. Enjoy!

2015 Blog in Review


As I have done in the past, I took my blog and ran all the text through to make a tag cloud based on my word usage. This year seems pretty similar to last year. This does not include any of the blogging I did for Threadless this past year. I did increase the total number of words for the program to look for just to make things look a bit different.

Unless anything changes over the next year, this will probably e the last time I do this for a while since I have clearly made a pattern for myself and future tag clouds wouldn’t look much different than the do now.

You can see the tag cloud I made for last year here:

#@?%$! or An Evening with Aaron Draplin


The other night, I went out with my wife (on a date night, yippee!) to see a talk by legendary American graphic designer, Aaron Draplin. I first found out about him on Twitter. His name kept popping up in my Twitter feed. I knew nothing about him or why people were excited to go to his talks. Then the local chapter of the GDC (which I am STILL not a member of btw) announced that he was coming to Winnipeg. So I thought, what the heck? It was open to non-members to go, so I bought tickets to what would be my third GDC event in 20 years. I first went to a “Tales from the Darkside” event when I first graduated from design school, then I went to a joint GDC/Secret Handshake/New Media Manitoba Christmas party a few years ago. The GDC Manitoba chapter really knows how to draw outsiders in! Well… not really.

Anyways, back to my story…

I went into this not really knowing what to expect. Mr Draplin looks like a total redneck hillbilly, but his design aesthetic is fairly modern and hip, so I was intrigued. And since my wife is a photographer, I didn’t think she would be totally bored by what is basically an industry event for graphic designers.

With an intro like that, who could resist?

With an intro like that, who could resist?

The venue at the Park Theatre was sold out to a crowd of mostly younger designers. But I recognized a few old timers like myself among the crowd. Nice to see some of us are in it for the long haul. Dsigners stop designing and get real jobs far too often.

After a brief delay the show was on! His slogan was, “I swear, you’ll love it.” And swear he did. Actually, he didn’t swear that much really. I grew up with much, MUCH worse!

Turns out, Aaron Draplin was pretty cool. I had no idea he was involved in the creation of Field Notes notebooks. I bought a few packages of them last year for Christmas gits at a stationery supply store here in Winnipeg, called Tiny Feast. I blogged out it here. Field Notes books are very reasonably priced and come highly recommended on the interwebs.

Field Notes

Some notebooks I bought last year as gifts. And they have been well used since!

Aaron Draplin also gave some good takeaway advice to desingers looking to make a living at graphic design. We say “no” far too often. When he went freelance, it sounds like he busted his ass taking on every job that came his way. And his generosity with his time and talent paid off in future dividens. Though he also admitted to quite a bit of luck to his success. It’s not every designer that has influential movie directors phone out of the blue to create logos for them!

The man of the hour working the crowd.

The man of the hour working the crowd.

The other take away from the talk was to break out and design cool things for ourselves. His success with his Field Notes and posters and other merchandise speak to that. I especially like the Canada poster he made. The small touches are hilarious! If any prints still exist later I might buy one for my future house (fingers crossed)!

I especially like the old Manitoba logo, the very old CBC logo and the old Expos logo! Click the image to see more!

I especially like the old Manitoba logo, the very old CBC logo, and the old Expos logo! Click the image to see more!

So in the end, Mr. Draplin was an entertaining and energizing speaker and I would gladly see him speak again. Maybe I need to plan a family vacation to Portland, Oregon? I guess I had better pack enough food and be careful of where I go for rest stops.


For more information:

The CDC Manitoba Chapter website.

Draplin Design Co. website.

A fun and work friendly Aaron Draplin video.

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