Monday, December 31, 2007

Soho House Magazine

This is an illustration of mine that appears in the Winter 2007 issue of House Magazine, the quarterly publication that is distributed to members of the Soho House private members club (with locations in the UK and New York City).

It is a beautiful magazine printed on recycled papers, but the best part about it is its exclusive use of illustration. I wish more magazines would follow their lead! It is for an article about the Soho House Motorcycle Club in London. The sketch I submitted is below.

Have a safe and happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Conch Shell

This is a drawing of my conch shell that I have adorning the toilet tank in the bathroom. I pronounce conch like "konsh" (like in "conscious") rather than "konk." That's just my preference I guess, but both are commonly used.

I've never used this conch as a musical instrument, I'm not sure it works that way. You can hear the ocean in it though, so at least it has that going for it. It is a nice light color with brown spots on it. It's strange to imagine an animal living inside this shell.

Friday, December 28, 2007

NBA Friday: Stephon Marbury

This week's team is the New York Knicks. I chose to illustrate Stephon Marbury (nicknamed Starbury) because for a while he was one of my favorite players in the league. I got to see him play once in person while he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves early in his career. He was a fun player to watch.

Since then he's been shipped around to a few different teams, finally ending up in New York in 2004.

Marbury is originally from Coney Island, so it was a homecoming for him and it was what he had always wished for, to play for his hometown team.

The Knicks have struggled for a few years and more recently things have really turned sour. There have been feuds with coaches, he hasn't played very well, and he is currently taking a leave from the team after the death of his father.

I wanted to portray him back in Coney Island on an old sideshow-style poster. The poster advertises Starbury as Coney Island's finest (he has a tattoo stating the same), but the boardwalk is completely empty, and maybe the curtain is closing - as if the once popular attraction is shutting down. A lot of his supporters have turned away, and people are speculating when he will play again.

Amongst all the negative talk there is a positive. Stephon has a line of shoes and clothing under his Starbury name being sold at the Steve and Barry's clothing store. I bought my brother two pairs of shoes for Christmas because each pair is only $14.98. It's an incredible bargain and the shoes are quite nice, with a variety of basketball shoes and casual shoes. I am tempted to buy a pair for myself.

You can view this piece larger on the portfolio page.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Big Chew

I did this drawing for my brother for Christmas. He's a baseball fan - the Boston Red Sox specifically. The best part of doing this was drawing the suggestion of the giant wad of tobacco in his cheek.

I used to play baseball when I was in grade 2 and 3. I don't think I was that good, but I played before I had glasses, so that's probably why I could never see the ball coming at me. I played baseball on the Nintendo Wii the other day and my arm is still sore. I didn't know it was necessary to stretch before playing Nintendo, but I'll know for next time.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

A view of my backyard just in time for the holidays.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

NBA Friday: Kevin Durant

I first saw Kevin Durant play while he was in his first (and only) year at the University of Texas.

He really impressed me. He was playing inside and outside, hitting three pointers, fade-aways, layups and dunks.
He is now in his first year for the Seattle SuperSonics and is easily the top rookie so far this season.

I went with a pretty straightforward portrait of Kevin that I illustrated with brown ink on Bristol paper (named due to its origins in Bristol, England). I left the jersey blank because of the uncertain future of the Sonics.

The team's ownership has changed in recent years and the new ownership group is led by a businessman from Oklahoma. With some issues regarding building a new arena in Seattle, the lease on the current arena, and other business issues, it is likely the team could move to Oklahoma as soon as next season.
No matter where Kevin plays, he'll be great. I think he is going to be a really exciting player in the League for years to come.

If you think he looks young, it's because he is. He is a mere 19 years old and needs a better nickname. KD, K-Smoove and K-Dog just don't cut it for such a great player. Who comes up with those?

Next week's team is the New York Knicks! Go to SLAMonline to suggest a player you'd like to see from the Knicks.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Class Photo #3

This is Suzanne in kindergarten, 1974. Cheer up, Suzanne!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sixth Man Saturday: Andrew Bogut

For the last couple of weeks SLAMonline has been posting my NBA Friday illustrations and asking readers to give me their suggestions of which players I should draw for the following week's team.

Last week there was a good number of people who requested I draw Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut "all blinged out."

I couldn't resist.
The back story is that this past summer Bogut made some comments about NBA players that didn't sit too well. He said, "They want bling bling all over themselves and drive fast cars. But that's just the way the culture is in America. If you've got it flaunt it, and if you don't, you can't."

He caught a bit of flack for that, although he later backpedaled and said, "The point I was trying to get across was coming from Australia where we have 18 million people, a very laid back country, to America . . . all that bling bling - all that stuff - it's something I did not grow up with. It definitely was a shock to me (at first) but being around it for three years, it's fine to me now."
Bogut also sported a rat tail earlier this year, which is just plain disgusting.

Friday, December 14, 2007

NBA Friday: Yi Jianlian & Yao Ming

This week's team is the Milwaukee Bucks, and the player I chose to draw was their 7 foot tall rookie, Yi Jianlian.

I've never seen him play, except in highlight reels, but from what I can tell he seems to be playing pretty well and on his way to becoming a nice player.

Yi came into the league with a bit of controversy, at first refusing to play for the Bucks because they were not on his list of places he wanted to play (or where China wanted him to play).

He eventually signed with the team after a couple of months of negotiations. The other bit of controversy or confusion surrounding Yi is his age. Nobody seems to really know how old he is. His official passport and residency papers from China have him listed as being born in 1987, while it is estimated that he was born somewhere between 1981 and 1984. Yi refuses to talk about his age or confirm his date of birth.

I decided to illustrate Yi with his countryman, Yao Ming, standing in front of a Chinese mountain landscape, with Yao looking at Yi and not quite ready to hand over the torch.

I got a lot of really great ideas from the readers over at SLAMonline last week. Every week my NBA Friday illustration is posted in The Links by Lang Whitaker, and you can leave your comments and suggestions of who you'd like to see me draw for the following week's team.

One of the suggestions I got last week from SLAM readers was to do a drawing of Andrew Bogut of the Bucks covered in blinging jewelry. It was too good an idea to pass up, so I'll post that here tomorrow for Sixth Man Saturday.

Next week's team is the Seattle Supersonics! Visit SLAMonline and tell me who you'd like to see!

You can see this piece larger on the portfolio page.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Here are a couple drawings of ears - mine and Chantal's.

Her ears work better than mine. She has great hearing, which isn't so great when the neighbors upstairs are constantly dropping things on the floor and moving furniture. Either they are building something up there, or they regularly have ping pong tournaments and the ball hits the ground a lot and bounces for a while.

Ears are fun to draw, there are so many little curves and bumps and contours.

Maybe nose drawings next week?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hand Drawn Type 2

Here are a few more examples of hand drawn type I've done recently (here are some more).

These were really fun to do. I find myself thinking more and more about interesting type these days, trying to find letters in everything I look at.
I was in the subway the other day and thought it would be cool to see a type formed with the steel beams down there, with rivets and some shadows.

I keep a few cigar boxes around for storing my paints and inks and things. They're useful and they look really nice - although some of them smell a bit old and damp. I got a couple of them in Cuba a few years ago, and a few more from a flea market in Smith's Falls, Ontario.
The third type is inspired by an image I found in an old technical drawing book, kind of like the old Q*Bert video game. I originally wanted to write the word dimension but I didn't have enough space on the page the way I wanted to do it. I only realized this after I pencilled in the D and the I. So Chantal and I spent a couple minutes thinking of words that start with d-i and diapers was the best one for the space I had.
I did the whole alphabet for this last one, and it proved to be a bit hard to read, although I like how it looks. Instead of posting the whole alphabet I decided to write something with it instead. Hopefully you can read it.

I basically just used the negative space around the letters to make this last one.

Friday, December 7, 2007

NBA Friday: Al Jefferson

This week's team is the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Al Jefferson was an easy choice. The Timberwolves lost the heart of their franchise this year when they traded Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics in exchange for a handful of players, Al Jefferson among them.

Jefferson was drafted by the Celtics in 2004 straight out of high school and by last season had developed into a very solid player. Now he's averaging about 19 points and 11 rebounds as the centerpiece of the Timberwolves.

I decided to illustrate Al Jefferson based on his simple nickname, "Big." Tied down with ropes and breaking free, I've portrayed him as a Gulliver's Travels type character, shaking off opposing players and breaking free from the ropes that had tied him down.

Great news! You can find my NBA Friday illustrations on SLAMonline every Friday. There's a comment section where you can suggest a player for me to illustrate for the next week's team.
Check it out under The Links by Lang Whitaker!

You can see this piece larger on the Black & White page.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Class Photo #2

Here is another sketch of the unnamed kid I sketched before. Good to see he's sporting the same glasses, and finally, a smile (sort of)! It also looks like he got a bit of a haircut, but it's still parted to the side and combed ever so smoothly. He seems to really like turtlenecks and mock turtlenecks (or at least his mother does).

I always enjoyed class photo day, but the photographers only ever took one shot so there was a lot of pressure to make it good. Then you wouldn't find out if you messed it up for at least a few months.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Hand Drawn Type: Bent and Creased

This is my first time completing a full alphabet of hand drawn type. I thought it would be neat to see a simple type folded in half with a bit of a shadow on the bottom half (above). It was really fun to do, so I made a similar type below, folded diagonally. That one was a bit more difficult but still fun to do. I've got a few more ideas for hand drawn type, so I'll get those up here soon.

You can see these larger on the Black & White page.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Sixth Man Saturday: Pete Maravich

This is a throwback edition of Sixth Man Saturday. Since this week's team is the New Orleans Hornets, we're going to go back to the 1970s when 'Pistol 'Pete Maravich played for the New Orleans Jazz. He played for the Jazz from 1974-79 and had some of his best seasons there.

I painted this late in the summer. Soon after I painted it I read two Maravich books back-to-back. Those two biographies were released this year, one called Maravich, the other called Pistol. I really enjoyed both of them and learned a lot about Pete (I preferred Maravich. I found it to be more detailed and had more of a positive spin on his life).

I even watched the 1991 movie, The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend, which depicts Pete in his grade 8 basketball season. It's a nice little movie!

During the 1976-77 season with the Jazz, Pete averaged 31 points per game, good enough to make him the league's leading scorer.

He was famous for his brilliant passing and shooting, and was one of the first players to routinely pass behind the back, through the legs and make no-look passes. He was really before his time, as many coaches and players didn't appreciate his 'showboating' style. In reality though, his behind the back passes were more accurate than most players' regular, fundamental chest passes.

He faced a lot of criticism and resentment during his career. He was the highest paid rookie in the NBA (1970), and was being paid more than other veteran players who felt they were more deserving of such a lucrative contract. What made Pete worth the money however, was that he put fans in the seats. People flocked to see him play and perform his incredible basketball routines and make his spectacular passes.

His dream was to win an NBA Championship, but he never did. In 1996 he was named as one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players, but Pete was the only player not present at the ceremony during the All-Star game.

Pete died in 1988 while warming up for a pickup game.

I highly recommend Maravich, by Wayne Federman and Marshall Terrill, to anyone interested in Pete Maravich, or the game of basketball.