This project is a long time coming (out).
I love working in the animation industry, and I hope I continue to for many more years. But lately these words from Mary Oliver keep ringing in my ears:
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do /
With your one wild and precious life?”
What messages do I want to leave behind? What messages would I want my kids to be proud of me for? I believe we all have talents, and I think it’s important to think about how we can use those talents for something bigger than paying the mortgage.
I want to tell people’s stories with my art. I want to tell of their triumphs, their struggles, and the priceless lessons they learned. And I think this time in history – maybe now more than ever – we need to listen to each other.
But if I am going to tell other people’s stories, I think I need to tell my own story first.
I have shared my story before of growing up in the church, and finding peace about being gay, and a Christian. For years now, I have wondered if I would have the courage to put some of my own triumphs, struggles and lessons into an illustrated book. For years I have been thinking about it. But lately, I have felt a need to do it. Maybe it’s just that now I feel ready to do it.
I really struggle with this, as I can’t stand the spotlight. Like all of us I wonder – does my story matter? I’m sure it will rock the boat in some of my circles. Putting my deepest and darkest struggle out there for everyone to read (in illustrated-form yet!) is… terrifying. But years ago, after God gave me peace about who I am, I felt Him asking me to be authentic about how I got there. I struggled so much for so many years, and if my story can help someone else, then I will tell it every chance I get.
We have come a long way with LGBT inclusion. But there’s still a lot of work to do, especially in our churches. There’s still (LGBT) voices to hear. I want to do this for that teen sitting in their non-affirming church, not sure if they can continue. I want to do this for that person struggling with rejection from family or friends because they just want to be honest about who they are. You are not alone.
So here it is.
This is my work-in-progress cover for the book I am writing & illustrating, entitled “Dear Younger (gay) Me”. The story will follow a present-day version of myself, going back to visit a younger version of myself, following the journey where I was struggling the most, and trying to leave encouraging messages in place of the hurtful or difficult ones I received at the time.
I will be posting updates, I need to figure out how to get it published, I am in the midst of storyboarding…. it’s all a messy work-in-progress – sort of like all of us. 🙂 I’m not sure how this is going to go, but I keep hearing a small voice inside saying, “Just draw it, and see what happens.”
So, one illustration at a time, I’m doing this.
Thanks to everyone who supports me near and far – most of all Tams, for giving me the (daily) courage to do this. Life is too short not to do hard things.
If you know someone who might benefit from this when it comes out, please share. I just really want all of us to feel less alone.
Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for updates. 🙂
I love Netflix’s “Stranger Things”. Who doesn’t? And I love Golden Books. So I thought, why not combine them for a fun exercise??
I tried to work my way through Season 1 [with full-time work and a toddler], so I only made 10 pages so far. With the new baby coming, I will pause this for now, but hopefully will come back to finish it later. It’s been fun to do!
See what I have so far: [all pages done digitally in Photoshop]
Stay tuned for more! 🙂
This year I participated in Inktober again, but I wanted to try my best to do a drawing every day if I possibly could! I decided to make my theme about Robson, because I have a lot of fun ideas to draw when it comes to her! 🙂 ❤
Here are all 31 drawings in order! Maybe one day I will make a book about this little puppet 🙂
(All drawings done in a Moleskine sketchbook, with col-erase pencils for the rough, and a Pentel brush pen for the inked lines.)
Day 1: Robson in her knitted shawl!
Day 3: Dancing in the living room with her stuffed elephant!
Day 4: Robson and our cat Mowgli sometimes bird watch together!
Day 5: Robson loves the swings – and loves to wear her sunglasses upside down!
Day 6: She loves to wave at herself in our bathroom mirror!
Day 7: Robson loves to share meals with her friends like Shannon-Joy!
Day 8: While visiting friends, Robson decided to chew their Thanksgiving decorations!
Day 9: Robson had fun climbing around at the pumpkin patch!
Day 10: I love it when Robson finds my oversized hats and wears them around the house.
Day 11: It is Muddy Buddy season on the West Coast!
Day 12: She finally said Mowgli’s name! (mogey)
Day 13: Robson is a big climber at 18 months, and she loves to climb to the piano and play the keys!
Day 14: She has made a bed in a laundry basket for herself and her friends!
Day 15: It’s rare now, but I love it when Robson falls asleep on my chest. ❤
Day 16: Robson loves to (try to) play my Ovation guitar!
Day 17: If you visit our house, Robson will most likely try on your shoes!
Day 18: Lately Robson has been taking a photo of us off the wall, bringing it to us and pointing to it saying “mum-mums”. ❤❤
Day 19: Robson loves to meet other kids, but she had NO personal space!
Day 20: When I use my hair dryer, Robson comes running and wants me to blow it on her hair and face and then she scream-laughs!
Day 21: Every night, Mowgli follows Robson to her room to say good night and she always waves at him and smiles!
Day 22: Some of the best moments are right after her nap, she comes out all rumpled and warm, hugging her Sleep Sheep and lets us cuddle her for a few minutes until she wakes up. ❤
Day 23: Someone pointed out that Robson’s current toddler run is just like Phoebe’s from “Friends”!
Day 24: We are having a lot of appts to check on Bean Boy, and Robson gets very concerned and curious about what exactly the ultrasound is all about!
Day 25: Robson loves soup – and oh boy does it make a lot of messes for us! Worth it. ❤
Day 26: Little Red Riding Robson! I love all her hipster clothing.
Day 27: When we have friends over, Robson uses her pickpocket skills to go through our friends bags and purses. You have been warned!
Day 28: Robson is becoming fast friends with a little puppy named Dobby 😊🐾
Day 29: Some of my fav moments – Robson is obsessed with Coldplay, and she asks me to pick her up and enthusiastically dance around the room with her on my hip. Her squeals of joy fill my heart to overflowing. ❤❤
Day 30: Robson loves animals, and two in particular – sheep and pigs! She makes BAAHHH and SNORT noises constantly.
Day 31: Robson dressed up as a big derpy spider for Halloween! For my last drawing of Inktober, I decided to try a time lapse video of my drawing & inking. It was a fun experiment I will try again soon! See below for the final drawing.
Since I have been home taking care of Robson the last few months, AND trying to keep up with my full-time gig – doing any additional sketching seems like a pipe dream! BUT… once in a while, I am able to carve out a precious hour or two to do some art for myself.
Here are a few I have done so far:
Robson in the Woods admiring the trees as she does on our daily walks. 🙂 [digital]
Robson running around with multiple sweaters all day. Sometimes she wears 3 at a time. 🙂 [digital]
Robson and I go to the same park almost every day near our house. I love looking at this massive tree that reminds me of a mysterious cave. I finally drew it from memory. 🙂 [digital]
Quite a few months ago, I was hired by Trinity Western University here in BC, to design this year’s posters for their SAMC Theatre Productions, based on some illustrative posters I have done in the past.
This was a really fun project for me! Some of the productions I knew, and some were new to me. Thanks again for TWU for being such a great client to work with, maybe we can partner up again sometime!
Here they are in order of show appearance:
One of the best shows Netflix has put out – especially if you are a child of the 80s – has been “Stranger Things”! I just HAD to draw these guys!
Can’t wait for season 2!! Barb….are you out there….????!!
This is exciting news for me! The book that my friend Peter Walker wrote, “Downside Up”, and I have illustrated for almost two years is for sale on Amazon NOW! It is also available in Barnes & Noble bookstores in the States! You can buy it Amazon.com or Amazon.ca 🙂 And if you like it, please feel free to leave a review!
This is the first project that I have worked on that I have fully been able to combine my art and my faith, and I am so excited it is available for purchase! It’s also the first published book I have illustrated 🙂
Feel free to like the Facebook page for more updates! Here is a synopsis of the book: “A picture book for grown-ups! Satire and humor in rhyme and verse about Jesus, the church, and what’s gone wrong! Is there any reason for hope?”
A couple teaser illustrations:
The front and back covers:
Every year I love to reimagine the Oscar-nominated films in quick posters that I design. It’s mostly just a fun exercise for me. The only rule is that I have to see the film, and then one scene or image that sticks out or sums up the film, will make up the poster.
Here’s what I came up with!
This October – December was the busiest on record, what with starting a new show at the studio, piles of freelance, and selling and buying a house…… so sadly my sketches took a backseat. I managed to squeak out a few, here they are!
For Inktober 2015:
A couple sketches in time for “Back to the Future” Day! [Brush pen on Moleskine sketchbook.]
A couple sketches of some of the regular dogs that frequent our studio 🙂 [Brush pen on Moleskine sketchbook.]
And of course a sketch of our cat Mowgli in his favourite position.
I managed to fit in two commissions done as Christmas gifts for clients. The first one was for a couple who had just gotten married and loved trees, hence the background. The second was for someone who is a composer. Both digital.