Toronto illustrations!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!  I am a little bit late, but I would like to share some of my recent Christmas illustrations.  I made these illustrations for Christmas cards to sell and they were successful!  Toronto is so diverse, so that I decided to depict some Toronto neighbourhoods, typical buildings, and Canadian icons.

Here is a little tour of the Toronto features which I utilized: 

Queen Street West is one of the most popular neighbourhoods of Toronto. You can find here coffee shops, restaurants and bars, trendy stores, art galleries, and design, furniture, and antique stores.  Many textile, knitting and bead stores are also located between Bathurst and Spadina Avenues – I love to shop at them sometimes.  Also, my favourite pizzeria, North of Brooklyn, is located at Queen and Palmerston!  

The concentration of art galleries is the result of the artists who worked and lived illegally (due to potential fire hazards) in the industrial buildings on Queen Street in the middle of 20th century.  Their creative spirits still remain in the neighbourhood!

You can take a streetcar along Queen Street, and pop into all of these cute places. The old red streetcars of Toronto will be replaced by more comfortable newer ones very soon. I will miss the old red streetcars – they hold a lot of history and character. 

The CN Tower can be seen from almost everywhere in Toronto. Built in 1976, the CN Tower remained the tallest building in the world until 2010 (553.33 m)!  I have a special relationship with the CN Tower because I worked there (right at the top) for a half of a year and I enjoyed the view almost everyday.

The many Victorian houses in downtown Toronto were built around the turn of the 20th century. The semi-detached ones tend to be pretty vertical, narrow, and built of red brick.  Many of them are now rental apartments, and many are still in pretty good shape. 

I would love to own one of these cottage houses some day!  I placed a couple Muskoka chairs in the front.

You can also find a Robin (a red bird), a deer, and a squirrel  in this illustration.  These guys are shared inhabitants of our neighbourhoods and suburbs. Maybe next time, our best ‘friend’ raccoon will appear too! I am really hooked with the idea to make illustrations of other Toronto neighbourhoods, such as The Annex, Kensington Market and Distillery District, so stay tuned for that!


Make Art That Sells GTS Submission

This August, I participated once again in the Global Talent Search held by Lilla Rogers Studio. The first round assignment was to design an art for a pair of sneakers, owned by a young woman named Antoinette. Antoinette lives in Brooklyn, rides her bike daily, and loves vintage. The top fifty designs were selected from a pool of 1000 to advance to the second round of the competition. Mine was probably #51!  I enjoyed thinking about Antoinette’s apartment in Brooklyn, and about all those old vintage items which she loves. Congrats to the top 50!



June is already here! Summer is coming! Though summer in Canada is not very hot, this is my favourite season of the year! 

Last week, I submitted designs of two plates for Home Décor Market for Lilla Rogers Bootcamp. The assignment for May was ‘Marine Mashup’ using crustaceans and some elements of patterns. I made a lobster and a crab using geometric forms – that was really fun! There are a lot of great designs on the class gallery right HERE, which I can look over and over!

Thank you to Kat, who featured me on her wonderful creative blog. You can find her post about her favourite designs right HERE. I love all of these designs too!

June is the last month for our Bootcamp. It is a shame that there is no Summer Bootcamp – I would join it!


Tea party

It is already March and I am just now posting about the February Big Assignment with Lilla Rogers Bootcamp - it has been a busy time! Here are some details:

Assignment: The February Big assignment was a project for the wall art market. For the Mini assignment we had to sketch some plate scenes (yep, the pictures which are painted on plates - which are often vintage or for kids). The final product was supposed to be something different from a plate – a surprise! I didn’t follow the briefing as well as I should have – I skipped the mini (no plates!) and started directly with the big assignment. The task was to paint on a real piece of wood and that piece was supposed to be round – so, a round composition was the task. 

Theme: I have chosen a tea party episode from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I sketched a bunch of rabbits last year for a different project but I didn’t use the sketches. I loved the sketch below, so I decided to draw a bunny in this style.    

Inspiration: I love dishes (not to wash the dishes though). I like to collect, admire, and photograph cups, mugs, teapots and plates! I looked though a bunch of magazines to get some inspiration and to capture the colors and shapes. I liked the teapots from CB2 catalog and I sketched them.

Technique: I used watercolors, white gesso, and a square piece of wooden panel. I didn't find a round piece of wood in the local art supplies stores and decided just to round my composition on a square format. I like to sand and make scratches between the layers - it makes the texture so rich and smooth at the same time. Also, I used some paper cuts off for letters and numbers - it is almost a collage. It was a very nice experience to paint traditionally and to try some new materials.

March is a break - there is no assignment. I am looking forward to the April Big Assignment and for good weather!


My manifesto

Last week, I submitted my work for a competition held my Lilla Rogers Studio. The design goal was a visual manifesto of artistic intentions and views. My original idea was to animate some common inanimate but related to art objects, but only one brush was born as a character. It was a lot of fun to develop the lettering, especially of the quote. I will keep my fingers crossed!


January Journal Cover

Phew! I finished and submitted my cover design. As I mentioned in the previous POST, I am participating in the 'Make Art That Sells' (MATS) course, which is part of the Assignment Bootcamp provided by Lilla Rogers Studio.

 The Big Assignment for January was a cover design for a journal. I struggled with the theme ‘Edwardian Brooches ’ in the first week, and I didn’t use any of my sketches from the Mini assignment for a final cover design. That was a little tough. My best friends are still the diamonds.  I used some geometric fractured shapes and watercolour textures as a main motive for my design. Lettering was hard, and I decided to develop my own hand-written letters rather than to use any commercial fonts. But my letters are getting better and better!

 A gallery with more than 500 design pieces is HERE, and you can find my work plus hundreds of other wonderful designs. I like that many people used the brooches theme as an inspiration to figure out other interpretations. Now I can really confirm that this first Big Assignment was a lot of fun! I am ready for the February Mini! 

Thanks for coming by!