A Canadian Hero Revived: Sir Isaac Brock

July 25, 2009

Earlier this year, A private client contacted me expressing interest in commissioning some fresh portraiture of the famous Canadian Major-General, Sir Isaac Brock (6 October 1769 – 13 October 1812).

Brock was the leader of the Upper Canada (Ontario) leg of the Canadian Army militia during the breakout of the War of 1812, responsible for mobilizing Canadian troops and defending Upper Canada against the United States, most memorably at Fort Mackinac and Detroit, as well as the Battle of Queenston Hieghts, where he was ultimately shot in the chest and killed.

After communicating and establishing a proposal & details, I am now proud to say that I am working on contributing to Canadian history by recreating visions of Sir Isaac Brock, based on the only two accurate likenesses of him known to exist. Although other artists have made other portraits of him, many of them are actually elaborations based upon the most common image of him: this painting of his bust in profile by an undetermined artist.Isaac Brock SR

Variations of this original image include the following pieces:

Isaac-brock-gr Picture 7Although each of these variations are obviously skillfully executed elaborations upon an original work, neither of them venture very far into detail about the likeness of the man himself outside of his profile. This is where I come in.

Working from minimal reference, my task, as an illustrator, is to recreate Brock’s likeness in a three-quarter-view perspective, in order to view his face as he might have actually looked in life.

To accomplish this task, I have utilized various methods to help me visualize Brock’s face. Based on my research, the adult painting of him was done circa 1809, making him around 40 — three years prior to his death at 43 — making it my primary infleunce to draw upon. I have experience working with cadavers and muscle anatomy (including dissection), as well as 3D studies and character concept art; As a result of this experience, when working with organic subject matter I have been conditioned to constantly consider tissue structures and placement, as well as  how these parts move and interact within their areas of movement and influence. The self-portrait below is a visual example of this experience.
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My first effort to visualize Brock involved drawing horizontal parallels from the original work, and translating them carefully into simplified linework and facial landmarks, as shown below…

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… From here, I worked on a head-on facial reconstruction (not posted here), and eventually produced this preliminary 3/4-view portrait sketch…

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Personally, I feel there is something a little off about the eyes (for now), and the uniform is partially inaccurate, but these and other improvements are to be remedied before the completion of the final image. For now, my working sample of the current sketch is featured below.

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Although I cannot post any images of the progress of the project beyond this point upon this blog (for copyright reasons), I have found this piece to be both interesting and challenging in its own respect, and look forward not only to completing it, but to also have it utilized as a commissioned illustration.


Science/Technology + Art = AWESOME

July 24, 2009

A very good friend of mine sent me this earlier today, and I thought I’d spread the interest:

Also, I was curious about when the LHC would come back online again and resume efforts. Although THIS sidetracked me from current news to instead learn all about the purpose, budget, milestones, concerted efforts, size, risks, methods and materials utilized. Go CERN.


Design Is Kinky

June 7, 2009

After applying for portfolio exposure with the internationally renowned art and design site Design is Kinky, I am now their newest Illustrator / Graphic Artist profile. This contact page is part of DiK Connect, a ‘simple way to search for highly talented, hand-picked creatives from around the world.’ Check out my page here, and don’t forget to browse the main site during your travels as well. Thanky!


and a shiny new door

April 21, 2009

Here is an image of a shiny new door that I’ve been working on, as part of secret project art that I am creating for a potential client. Although I had hoped to render this in 3d, vector wasn’t so bad; the glass was certainly easier to play with, however it kind of looks like some kind of OSX icon.

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mmmm, smoke-tinted glass and candy-coated ebony finish…


Toronto Life Magazine Feature

April 14, 2009

A month or so ago I uploaded a post that mentioned a photoshoot that I was involved in for an upcoming article in Toronto Life Magazine regarding the recession and how it has affected young urban professionals (such as myself). Now available for public purchase, the May 2009 issue of Toronto Life features a cover article called “How To Get Ahead in a Recession,” featuring my likeness on the magazine cover and within the article itself.

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Although the article itself is written from the slanted perspective of a generation Xer and the photography filters make the models appear rough and resilient, some of the arguments and points made are legitimately interesting comments about this important and difficult period.

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One major criticism I have for the magazine editor/Author of the article is that although the exposure for those mentioned/seen within the article is certainly a privilege, we models/consultants do not have our contact information or website links included anywhere in either the article or the edition itself. If this article truly was concerned about how to survive an economic recession, I think it might have considered including this info as an opportunity for networking and legitimate exposure (not to mention perhaps paying any/all models included from the shoot)….

So as not to make this post entirely about narcissistic self-promotion, there is also another interesting article in this edition called “A Mighty Wind,” regarding the issue of whether (and how to) implement the idea of integrating energy windmills into the toronto skyline. Enjoy!


Dinosaur Reconstruction: Sketch

April 6, 2009

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, I finally got around to some sketching that I’ve been meaning to tackle since I took reference photos at the ROM in 2008: dinosaur anatomy reconstruction, based on fossil evidence.

Dwelling on my pathological anatomy illustration experience during my time at the University of Guelph back in 2007 I decided to attempt a 2D anatomical reconstruction of a type of extinct raptor. Aided by  googled images of bird heads and musculature, anatomical textbook limb references, shots of various animal cadavers from the dissections @ Guelph and a few photos of my former pet iguana, I was able to produce a decent sketch of what could turn into a convincing, accurate series of renderings.

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Yes, I should have been spending this time working on my website layout, but no, that would not have been as entertaining. Although I like where this image is going, after considering the pose of the animal, I don’t think i’ll bother to render a final version of this raptor… however, with a better understanding of the anatomy, I might conceive a better composition later….


New Site Layout: Preview

April 2, 2009

During the last few weeks I’ve been rediscovering the loverly and meticulous world of CSS, XHTML, HTML and website construction in general, working to revise my own website. Since constructing the original last year, I have decided that the layout, colour scheme, graphic identity and page orientation no longer conveys exactly what I want, how I’d like to be received or exactly what I do (process and interpretive work?! why did i include these!?!).

As such, I have been working to redesign it based on a text-heavy layout vs. picture or flash: like many digital artists and webmasters, I’ve realised the unavoidable truth about website traffic: TEXT GETS MORE HITS. As many visitors browse sites based on keyword searches via engines such as google or yahoo, it only makes sense that the more active and available text keywords present on your site, the more hits your site will receive, as the site robots only understand text (and not images). This is probably the single most serious problem with flash and image-based website design, and a huge part of my decision to revise. I expect it will be some time before I complete and upload the new design, as I have been rather busy lately, but here are some previews…

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Old site:

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