In 2017, I made a dramatic change to my art style that I hadn’t made for the good part of a decade and a half: I switched my colouring tools from coloured pencils to markers. I had been attempting to make my art look more realistic with shading, but I decided to go back to a more ‘cartoony’ look and use brighter colours that stand out amongst black ink outlines. I’ve now started a serious collection of markers from both the Winsor & Newton and Copic brands.
To celebrate, I tried out some of the markers in a few drawings. As my collection wasn’t very big at the time, I used the art store as a kind of library where I could ‘borrow’ the colours I needed for a specific drawing, then simply return them once I’d finished.
As it’s been some time since I last posted anything about them, I’ve started with an Alphablocks artwork, or more specifically P/Petunia. Her design made it perfect for trying out blending colours into a gradient, for which I used several shades of green, blue and purple. (I didn’t know about the metallic markers at this time, so the stars all over her are coloured in a very pale grey to look silvery.)
As I kept trying out the markers, I grew my collection to fit my needs and cover the whole spectrum. As there are several hundred colours in each range, it might take quite a long time – and a lot of money and searching – before I can call them complete:
While I don’t usually show off quick doodles as they’re usually only for practice, I felt I had to show this one as I seem pretty proud of it.
If you’ve been following my blog over the past couple of years, you will find that I often talk about Project Canada, the reboot of the IAmMatthewian Project. As well as personifying the Canadian provinces and territories, they also have their own personifications of some of the cities (just as with Canadian Boys).
While there have been versions created for the old IAmMatthewian Project, the Project Canada reboot redesigns them quite dramatically, giving them new fashions and personalities. Some remain the same, but most have been changed.
I started out by doodling the big three cities, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver (seen above). I had been wanting to draw them for some time in their current incarnations, but only got around to drawing them now.
Because I’ve seen them in so many outfits, I based their outfits in this doodle on the flags of their cities. This isn’t a new idea, since I’ve done it many times before, but it makes them more recognizable – at least to Canadian eyes.
(Fun fact: Montreal changed its flag in September 2017 by adding a symbol of the White Pine, the ‘tree of peace’, to the centre of the cross. The White Pine represents the Indigenous population.)
As with all the other characters in Project Canada, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver have ‘real’ names:
Toronto – Lucas Wilson
Montreal – Etienne Maisonneuve
Vancouver – Vernon Mann
These characters were obviously not created by me (I already have my own versions), but were each created by these people on Tumblr:
While it may not technically be winter yet, with the biting cold and even a good sprinkling of snow and ice, it may as well be. Christmas is also on the horizon, making for a good excuse to bring out the metallic markers and glitter pens and decorate everything with little silver snowflakes.
After drawing this year’s Bonfire Night bonanza, I became more confident in colouring in an entire page of paper and having a crowd of characters in one small space. Inspired by a few times I went ice-skating in the past, and wanting to channel the famously freezing spirit of the Canadian winter in particular, I imagined a scene where some of the characters from Canadian Boys met to go skating on a frozen-over lake.
The characters used are mostly the same as from the Bonfire Night drawing, with the addition of Charlottetown (in light purple to the far right) and some unnamed crowd members in the far background. While most of the skaters are pretty competent in their skill and elegance – even tiny Pictou (in olive green) – one seems to be tripping up, but still appears to enjoy being clumsy, and his girlfriend even agrees.
A few colours from the Bonfire Night artwork were re-used for this one, with dull light blues and dark holly greens evoking an evergreen forest under a wintry sky, as well as a Christmas tree – one stands just beside the rink with baubles of many colours. I added a snowy touch with a silver glitter pen to create snowflakes blowing in the frosty air. To give the impression of snow settled on the ground, I added dashes of white – actually a very pale shade of grey, since white doesn’t show up on top of white – mixed in with the green of the grass.
Keeping with the ice skating theme, it’s been quite a while since I last met up with Nova Scotia, due to having moved on somewhat to British Columbia during that time. But I was suddenly inspired to draw young lovebirds Truro and Yarmouth skating hand-in-hand, although this was drawn before the picture above. While their love for each other is not immediately obvious, it can be inferred from them holding hands, and Yarmouth’s slight gaze towards Truro.
Truro and Yarmouth’s winter outfits are almost identical to their usual garb (like Vancouver‘s), though with added scarves and gloves, and their jackets zipped up. Truro keeps his shorts-over-trousers, but Yarmouth’s shorts grow to trouser length so his legs are not bared against the frigid air.
To make it simpler, I added slashes of pale blue onto the ‘floor’ to look a little like ice. This keeps the focus on Truro and Yarmouth, helping them to stand out with their bright, un-wintry colours. Because who says winter has to be drab and grey?
First up is the obligatory Santa hat gathering, but with a little twist. Instead of the traditional red or green (as per vintage festive Coca-Cola adverts), all the provinces and territories’ hats are in a different colour, which corresponds somewhat with the colour of their outfits. Some of their outfits have been slightly modified to fit the wild wintry weather better, like adding boots and undershirts.
The second details a traditional family Christmas gathering – in front of the TV. In a somewhat occasional appearance in these kinds of drawings, Canada stands back in the corner with Labrador – who for some reason is separated from Newfoundland – as his kids gather around the set to watch a festive movie. Since the TV has its back to the viewer, it’s left to their imagination as to which movie they’re watching. For a Canadian Christmas, possibly One Magic Christmas – which was filmed around Ontario, or the myriad festive films which the Hallmark Channel churns out every year, which are mostly filmed in various locations around Canada, despite usually trying to put on an American facade?
This also marks the second time that a room in Canada’s house has appeared in a drawing, the first time being in the New Year’s Eve party from 2015: