Sunday, 29 June 2008

Updated Blog Design and Avatar

I created a new avatar of myself yesterday, in a bit of a different style. Here's a larger version so that you can see the detail:

Total time was about 2 hours. I added more detail than usual, and I wanted to have some likeness, so there was some more precise tweaking. I think it turned out very nicely, though I really don't look quite so glamorous. I made a few pencil sketches before I had something that seemed suitable. I haven't done a self-portrait for a while.

My pencil:

I've also updated the template for my art blog. It's not quite as minimalist as before. It's a customized version of the "Scribe" template by Todd Dominey. I hope you like it.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Green Corner: Page Six

Green Corner has been updated.

Published page six available here.

If you want to start from the beginning, page one is here.

I plan to start on page seven soon, but I will also be making a tutorial at the same time, so it may take a while. I'll keep you updated.

Enjoy the page!

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Saturday, 21 June 2008

Jumping Aena Complete

eeI've completed the illustration of Aena (from my comic series, Green Corner) jumping. You can see my earlier progress post here if you missed it.

The finished piece:

Total time was 5 hours and 11 minutes. As mentioned earlier, the initial linework took an hour and 35 minutes, while the flat colour took 13 and a half minutes. Yesterday, I spent three hours and 23 minutes adding shading, shine, and fixing a couple details. I also added a simple background for interest.

It used to take longer to create an image like this as I was previously using Illustrator 9. I'm now using CS3 with livepaint for colouring, which helps to speed things up.

I've made a 1440 x 900 wallpaper with this image, but if you would like another size, please request and I will upload to the Midori Forest Google Group.

Here's a comparison image that shows my initial pencil sketch, the sketch darkened and cleaned up, and the final piece side by side:

The pencil sketch was completed on a bus and I didn't have an eraser on me at the time, so it's a bit rougher than usual. I try not to sketch on lined paper normally, as the lines don't disappear seamlessly; but it's not really a problem when I create illustrations like this.

And a closeup of the final piece, so that you can get a better idea of the detail I include:

I had some slight technical difficulties with my artblog over the last day that I've since resolved. Sorry for any interruption, but everything should be working now.

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Friday, 20 June 2008

Green Corner Special: Jumping Aena

For quite a while, I've put my comic series, Green Corner, on hold. This wasn't an easy decision for me to make, but I didn't have the time to devote to creating the quality work that I wanted. I opted to temporarily put aside this personal project due to more pressing obligations such as my work as an in-house graphic designer in another town and, in recent months, freelance work.

Since my primary income has switched to freelancing for the time being, I have more time than when I was working on-site for a client as I'm not traveling very much.

I took some time tonight to start on the digital version of a new illustration of the protagonist of Green Corner. I haven't had the chance to fully take advantage of having Illustrator CS3 for this type of work until now. My favourite feature has to be live paint (introduced in CS2).

It took an hour and 35 minutes to draw the linework for this piece, including the tweaking of some details. I don't use live trace for this type of illustration as I usually draw or sketch in pencil. Live trace works better for drawings with stark contrast (e.g. pen and ink). Besides, I like the flexibility of using brushes and tweaking individual paths. I switch between the pen and pencil tools frequently.

Laying the flat colour and adding a couple extra details took 13 and a half minutes. That's a huge difference from the amount of time it would take with the old method that I was using with Illustrator 9. This also means that when I do the shading, it will be pretty quick too. I'm also happy to have a swatch library for my Green Corner swatches, as I previously had to copy and paste or manually input colour values as needed in each file.

I think I still need to tweak Aena's right hand and thigh slightly in this image, but I'm pretty happy with where it's going. I'm not completely sure about the length of her arms either, so I may adjust those as well. I think I need to get into the habit of sketching figures more regularly by hand, as I tend to revise more when I'm out of practice.

I am planning to post an Illustrator tutorial here in the future, for my method of creating pages for Green Corner. I'll be making the tutorial with page seven (I'm still working on linework for page six), and I'll be sure to include notes about the old method I used for colouring and shading. I hope that it will be interesting and educational for those of you not as familiar with Illustrator.

I hope to be creating and sharing more Green Corner artwork in the future. I have missed working on it.

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Monday, 16 June 2008

Typography Resources

I've used a variety of websites in the last few years as resources for finding downloadable typeface families. Finding a site that offers font files that you pay for is pretty easy. I often come across myself. I'll include a list of some of the sites I've used (and currently use) here, but feel free to leave a comment with other sites that you use as well.

Some sites for acquiring typefaces:
Abstract Fonts
Browse by category or name. Rating system allows you to see which are the most and least popular. If there's a specific typeface you want, you can use their site search (which suggests similar search terms as well). Character map preview available before download. Appears to only have TrueType format available.

Acid Fonts
Has a pop-up for when you visit. Includes instructions for installing fonts. There are even instructions for converting from Windows to Mac versions of files (see their Mac help page for details). Browse by category or name. Downloads are in zip format. There are links to other sites where you can find font files as well. Preview typeface name only before downloading.

Blambot Comic Fonts and Lettering
This site caters more to those looking to create comics, but has a a good variety of hand-rendered and display typefaces. Organized by category, then by name. Coloured dots indicate typefaces you have to pay for to acquire and limited availability. Typefaces without a dot are free. Various file formats available. Indicates variations included with the typeface (regular, italic, etc.) before downloading.

Comics and Cartoon Lettering Fonts
A list of various sites where you can find font files for comics dialogue, compiled by Hans Presto. Also worth checking out if you need hand-rendered typefaces.
A popular source for font downloads. Includes installation instructions (Windows and Mac). Organized by category, alphabetically, and by author. You can even create an account to submit fonts you've created. Download in zip format. Character map preview available before downloading.

DD Font
Browse alphabetically by name. Downloads available in zip format. Requires typing in a verification code before you can download. Preview of font name only.

Browse alphabetically. Character map preview available before downloading (click on typeface name). Various file formats available.

Larabie Fonts
Free in TrueType format, even for commercial use. Read help for details about restrictions. OpenType and PostScript variations available for a fee. All downloads via, with character map preview available.

You can find free fonts with the site search, but there are primarily pay fonts here. You can also use one of their various options for finding or identifying fonts to browse.

Type Navigator
When you can't remember the name of that font you're looking for, this site can help you identify it visually. Just choose the options that apply and and it will generate results for you. Character map preview available before you buy. Downloads are pay only, via

And an article you may find interesting:
The Scourge of Arial
A brief history of Helvetica and its imitator, Arial. Check out the "How to Spot Arial" article as well.

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Wednesday, 11 June 2008


Welcome to my new art blog, I hope you will enjoy following my posts.

I thought I'd start this off with a little background information on my education and experience, as well as give some idea of the types of topics I hope to cover in the future.

I studied graphic design at George Brown College, where I majored in Image Design/ Illustration and Corporate Design. I have a solid understanding of how to prepare files for both print-based and web-based media. I also have strong traditional skills.

Before I began college, I was offered acceptance to a university for a Bachelor of Arts program as an English major. I do have a tendency to be wordy at times.

My work experience and where you might have seen me:
  • I was a portrait artist and caricaturist at Paramount Canada's Wonderland in the year 2000. I mostly drew 3/4 view pastel portraits and black and white caricatures.
  • I drew caricatures and sold fanart at some Toronto area conventions, with a small amount of original prints. Specifically, they were: Anime North from 2002-2005 and the Canadian National Expo (later renamed FanExpo Canada) in 2002.
  • I worked at Things Engraved for over a year at two different malls. I often engraved small or difficult items.
  • My first full time graphic design job was for International Safety Systems Inc., as their marketing coordinator and in-house graphic designer. In the time that I was there, I produced: a new product catalogue (printed in colour), a new website, new and updated forms, as well as various promotional materials. I still work with them on a freelance basis.
I am currently a Freelance Graphic Designer. I specialize in corporate design and illustration, but I also do a fair bit of user-friendly, standards-compliant webdesign. I am actively looking for a full time position where I can use my skills to assist another company flourish.

I love learning new techniques, and I plan to share some of the resources I've found online for tutorials, tips, and reference imagery. I'm currently interested in expanding my working knowledge of Flash, and hope to add it to the list of software with which I'm proficient.

Feel free to ask questions about software or illustration techniques. I plan to answer those to the best of my ability.

And if you haven't yet, be sure to check out my work on my portfolio website.

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Hi! My name is Emily.

Welcome to my art blog. I am an independent graphic designer and illustrator from the Toronto area. I create print and web solutions for a variety of businesses and individuals with a personal touch and conscientious approach.

See my complete profile