85th Anniversary Illustration for Ontario Nature

With the multitude of social media platforms that I feel obligated to update, my blog (and heck, my portfolio!) often goes neglected. But I love that ‘journal-y’ feel that blogs have; you don’t have to worry about character count, hashtags or if you’re best capturing the 2 second attention span of your audience. So I’ve decided that I will use my blog for posting in depth information to accompany my finished illustrations, such as the roughs that the art director didn’t choose and other process work. I always love to see other illustrators’ process work, and I hope it will give anyone who is interested in working with me insight into my process. That being said, here are my latest published illustrations, with process work of course!

I was given a fantastic opportunity to do a double page spread celebrating the 85th anniversary of Ontario Nature in ON Nature magazine. Since I have been working with them and the art director for many years now, they were pretty open to ideas, I just had to work around the typography and centered timeline provided by the AD.


Nature illustration - rough 1 Nature illustration - rough 2 Nature illustration - rough 3

The first rough is the four seasons, one in each quadrant. The second is ‘nature confetti’, as I could not use environmentally harmful symbols of celebrations such as balloons. And the third rough is a good overview of Ontario Nature’s scope and accomplishments.


Ontario Nature Illustration

Click to enlarge.


Ontario Nature illustration - detail 1Ontario Nature illustration - detail 2


I also painted a watercolour map of southern Ontario in this issue. Here it is without graphic design:

Ontario Nature illustration - Southern Ontario map

I was given the page layout in advance so I knew exactly where it would bleed off the page and where it needed to float.

You can read the Spring 2016 issue of ON Nature magazine here. Thanks to Levi and Ontario Nature for the fun project!

Illustrated Map of Lake Ontario Region

I recently did an illustrated map of Lake Ontario and the Golden Horseshoe region published in the Fall 2015 edition of ON Nature magazine.

Illustrated Map of Lake Ontario Region

Map and illustrations by me, graphic design by Levi Nicholson.

The map depicts the shoreline of the ancient Lake Iroquois, a freshwater lake that drained into the Atlantic with the retreat of the glaciers and left behind what is now Lake Ontario. The article explores the unique features that it left behind. As a resident of this area, it was interesting to learn that myself and most of the population of Ontario are living where a lake once was!

You can read the accompanying article in the digital version of ON Nature Magazine here (my map is on the following spread).

Illustrated Map of the Oak Ridges Moraine

Recently I had the opportunity to do a four page illustrated map of the Oak Ridges Moraine, which is a 160km long natural corridor in Southern Ontario. The map highlights the trails, and activities for nature lovers as well as areas of ecological significance.

Illustrated Map of the Oak Ridges Moraine

The map without annotations.

You can see the map with all the annotations in the Winter 2014 edition of ON Nature Magazine here!

Trumpeter Swan Illustration

I have some new work published in the Summer 2014 ON Nature magazine which you can view online here!

trumpeter swan illustration

The article is about keeping oil out of Ontario’s waterways and river-sheds. I actually learned that the swan I see most commonly here, the mute swan, is not indigenous to the area and had to redo the face as a revision to become a trumpeter swan.

Mute Swan

I also have a small map on page 17 :)

Photography with my new Nikon D5100

Last year I started learning about photography. Here are a few examples that I shot over last year with my Nikon D5100.

I would definitely recommend the D5100 for people new to photography!

Sketch Compilation

I think I have literally hundreds of sketches strewn about my apartment on Post-it notes, scraps of papers and the backs of bank statements. I’m one of those people that has 22 sketchbooks but never seems to actually draw IN them. I decided to start scanning them in because otherwise they end up going into the trash. So here’s a couple to get started.
Ballpoint pen doodles:
All ballpoint pen sketches.

Hildegarde the centaur:

Snarling wolfy:

Some oldies:

Lion and girl





Grey Horse Children’s Illustration

Although I have displayed this image in various places I didn’t have a chance to post it on my blog until now. It was originally intended as a promotional piece to send to a company that creates a girls’ fantasy card game based on horses.

Grey horse children's illustration

At a whopping 25″ x 30″ (10 000 x 12 000) @ 400dpi and nearly 1GB this piece made my computer sweat bullets every time I opened it.

Redline of horse's head.






Horses are definitely one of the toughest animals to draw! I struggled with the angle and structure of his face. Here’s a redline I did to help me figure out where I needed to make corrections.

You can buy prints of this image at my Society6 shop.