Thursday, July 17, 2014

Macleans Catch-up

Whoa, it's been nearly a month since I've posted anything... I blame too much summer fun :P. Here's a Macleans I did!
I love being able to internet research. The subject of this illustration wrote and sang children's songs and had an album -- I was able to find a picture of the album on the internet and include it in the frame!

-- Julia

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

District Apothecary Fine Soaps

I'm super excited to share one of my latest illustrations! District Apothecary is a Washington, D.C. based company that makes hand-crafted all-natural castile soaps. Phil Olive is the founder, hand-crafter, and a super nice fellow. 

Phil came to me to design a soap label that incorporated some visual elements (the castle and windmill are tributes to the soap-making process he uses, for example) with some hand-done type and an Art Nouveau angle. Right up my alley! I was thrilled work on this.

I've tried his soap. It is pure, simple, and lovely. This job couldn't have come at a better time; I was struggling though some gross body wash, basically the cheapest on-sale kind I found at the drug store. The worst kind of pearlescent, artificially scented emulsion. District Apothecary saved the day!

Phil also sells these things called soap nets which I'd never even heard of before and are awesome. They're basically mesh drawstring baggies for soap. Soap nets help the soap lather (no detergents are added to the soap to augment its lathering abilities) and act as storage containers that you hang on your shower head hook. They also exfoliate. And are recyclable. 

Here's a pic of the soaps with the labels on! He was testing two colour versions of the label to see what customers thought. 

And here's the variant colour version, which do you prefer?

-- Julia
Portfolio site

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Click image to see as intended!

I'm nearly finished all the background art for my game, woo hoo! I've done 42 or so of these things and only  have a few left to go. I haven't been posting them all because I want there to be a few surprises when the game comes out!

It's only when I started doing these backgrounds that I realized there are limitations to this format that need to be addressed. For instance, with this background the characters will be walking behind it to get from the left side to the right, which means they'll be hidden from sight as they move behind the boathouse. I'm going to need to create an alternate view where the boathouse is ghosted out so the player doesn't lose track of their character! And I can't really set the boathouse farther back because the river's got to be right by the boathouse and characters can't walk on water...

Anyway, rest assured I'm still hard at work on this project. Once the backgrounds are done it'll be on to character design! Full steam ahead!

-- Julia
Portfolio site

Friday, May 23, 2014

FFWD Cover

Here's that ffwd Calgary cover I did! I was super pumped to do this because I've seen ffwd all over town and covers are always fun to have out there. 

The feature article was about the different kinds of races that are happening in Calgary this summer: Tough Mudder (muddy mudfest), Spartan race, Death Race, and a race where participants dress up as fruit. 

It was a bit challenging to fit all four into the composition, making their arms and legs do different things while not getting too cluttered. And keeping that upper left corner mostly clear, except for a giant banana stem. :{

And here's the "art only" version. I knew I wanted those majestic Rocky mountains in the distance, as well as the yellowish-brown + slightly green fields that Alberta is all about. 

We did away with the water, too busy. 

The Spartan didn't change much from those preliminary sketches, eh?

-- Julia
Portfolio site

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A bit of paint

I do a lot of my colours digitally but sometimes it's nice to get back to some good ol' real-life painting. The blue-green background I put in digitally (because who wants to waste precious paint putting down a flat colour :P) but everything else is as close to what the original painted piece looks like. 

I had to fight the urge to adjust the colours -- I kind of went all over the place and used too many different ones, I think. Maybe next time I'll practice more restraint!


-- Julia
Portfolio site

Friday, April 18, 2014

Recent Macleans illustration

Here's a new Macleans illustration. Coincidentally it was for a friend's mother-in-law -- It's the first time I've sort of known the subject of one of these pieces. Janet loved skiing in Mont Tremblant (top centre is some of the ski runs on the mountain), played the french horn at the 1970 World Expo in Japan, drove her kids and their friends to various sports (she had the two licence plates "LTL TXI" and "BIG TXI"), reminisced about living in Kapuskasing, and loved knitting her new grandchildren hats and gloves.

I always feel privileged to get to honour a life in this way, and I was fortunate to get the chance to give my condolences to a friend with this illustration.


-- Julia

Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring is coming?

Click image to enlarge.

Snow, snow, snow. Here's hoping things turn around soon.

In anticipation of that: Here's a nice, Spring-like game background for you! Complete with a nesting box, bird feeder, shed, water pump, and veggie patch! (From left to right: Tomatoes, lettuce, turnips, swiss chard, carrots, squash)

As I'm making these backgrounds I'm coming up with puzzle and plot ideas. I have a very vague outline for the story, but it's funny how creating the setting in turn creates ideas for everything else. Just by adding the nesting box, I thought of some story stuff and a puzzle or two :).

Here's the other game art I've made.

Hope you like it!

-- Julia
Portfolio site