Thursday, December 16, 2010

Seussical the Musical!

Earlier this year I was hired by Carousel Theatre for Young People to create the artwork for their 2010-2011 Season posters.  This is the first show to kick off the season - Seussical the Musical!  


Here's a close-up of the gang:
Seussical Poster Close-Up

One particular thrill of doing this job for Carousel was that my artwork was to be displayed very prominently at the entrance to Vancouver's famous Granville Island, where Carousel Theatre is located.  I definitely jumped up and down when I saw this:
Seussical Banner

If you are in Vancouver or are nearby, I highly recommend seeing this show. The cast is so very talented, and the musical is guaranteed to be a great time with the family. My daughter is still raving about it!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

IF: Savour

Happy December! For this week's Illustration Friday piece, I thought I'd try again at digitally painting over a watercolour base painting. It was fun to do. :)

IF: Savour

Here's the original watercolour:
Underpainting for "IF: Savour"

Saturday, November 13, 2010

IF: Burning

Wow, it's been a month since I've updated. I've heard many times that freelance illustration work is very much "feast or famine", and true to the saying, my past month or so has been very very busy with projects!

After working long hours on the tablet for the past several weeks, my right wrist is starting to bother me when I'm drawing at the computer. I've ordered a new stylus grip as well as new drawing nibs, and hopefully they will alleviate some of that repetitive strain. In the meantime I'm sticking to a good regimen of applying ice, seeing a massage therapist, stretching often, and using muscle relief patches on my arm. I'm really picking apart the way I draw and sit at the computer, too, so I hope to resolve this issue before it gets any worse.

Anyway, because of the wrist pain I started experimenting with my process (for personal projects only - clients, please don't worry!). Drawing with anything other than the tablet doesn't hurt me, so I brought out my pencils, lightbox, and watercolours. I tried this week's Illustration Friday piece, "Burning Up", using this method.

Sketch, (drawn during my daughter's swimming lesson):
IF: Burning (Sketch)

Watercolour underpainting:
IF: Burning (watercolour underpainting)

And the finished piece:
IF: Burning

Ultimately it saved a bit of time on the tablet, but I think that the style is too different to act as a substitute for my fully digital work. Still, I think this process and style have potential, plus it's FUN, so I'll keep playing around with it.. When I have time, that is!

Thanks for your continued patience with the sporadic updates on my blog. :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bump in the Night

A while back, I spoke with the illustration coordinator at our local chapter of the SCBWI.  She mentioned that she wanted to create a monthly illustration challenge with a blog to showcase our local talent.  This month is our first challenge with the theme, "things that go bump in the night".

I confess I'm not Halloween's biggest fan, but this piece was really fun to do!  Check out our group blog at Go Bananas Illustration!

Halloween

Edit: I just noticed this week's Illustration Friday topic and decided to use this piece for that, too!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

IF: Beneath

I don't look much different on the outside, but beneath the surface...

IF: Beneath

I announced my big news on Twitter last week, but in case you missed it, I am PREGNANT with my second child! We are absolutely thrilled.  I am due at the end of April, 2011.

It seems that many children's illustrators out there have very small children.  How many of you are freelancers who worked while pregnant and/or with a newborn?  I'd love to hear your stories!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

IF: Proverb

Hello folks!  It's been a while.  I had family visiting me, and then Bean and I went on a trip to Japan!

Here's my Illustration Friday piece for this week.  I didn't sketch much while on vacation, (travel is so different with a 3-year-old!) so I'm easing back into drawing every day.  :)  

IF: Proverb
Hope all is well where you are!  As a bonus picture, here we are in Sapporo:  
TV Tower

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

IF: Caged

IF: Caged

(Something I wanted to do when I was little!)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

IF: Artificial

IF: Artificial

Another monochromatic illustration for Illustration Friday this week. :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Picnic

A lovely and very talented group of illustrators have launched their website, We Love To Illustrate. Their group theme for July is "Picnic", and are welcoming other illustrators to join in the fun.

Obento Picnic

I chose my favourite food-related subject: bento boxes! I often make little lunch boxes for Bean:

Chicken Karaage Bento


When I was little, I was embarrassed about bringing Japanese bento boxes to school and demanded that my mom only put my lunches in brown paper bags. I hope Bean grows up in a community where people of all backgrounds bring their bento boxes for lunch!

Friday, July 23, 2010

IF: Double

Ah, summer! Time flies! I'm keeping busy with a few projects and am going away to a friend's wedding this weekend, so I chose to go monochromatic with this week's Illustration Friday piece.

At first they were two.. then they had four!  Double the kids, double the love - at least with meerkats!
IF: Double

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

IF: Breakfast

IF: Breakfast

When I was sketching ideas for this Illustration Friday topic, I was on our balcony. The instant I thought of a hummingbird, a hummingbird flew by! Here's to cheerful sunny mornings!

Monday, July 12, 2010

IF: Diary

IF: Diary

I was definitely over-protective of my diary when I was little!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Relevant Relephant Theatre

Last month I was delighted to team up again with the ever lovely Jessie van Rijn, who hired me to do some line art for a new theatre company she has launched with the very talented Steven Greenfield and Julie McIsaac. I love the company name - Relephant Theatre!  Check them out at this year's Vancouver Fringe Festival. 

This project was fun and reminded me that I like doing line art, so I should do more of it!  :) 

Relephant

PS. Happy Canada Day, everyone!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

IF: Ripple

IF: Ripple

Many blessings to Kelly Light for uniting a community of artists together to help the animals affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

To the birds and marine life, I am so, so sorry.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

IF: Early

IF: Early
I'm more of a morning person, though not as much as this mom.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

IF: Equipment

(Sorry this was double-posted on the Illustration Friday site, my link wasn't right the first time.)

We took our 2-year-old fishing on the weekend. We didn't catch anything, but there's always hope for next time, right?

IF: Equipment

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Posters in Bus Shelters!

In the winter, I was asked to do an illustration of a flapper girl for a poster of an upcoming Shakespeare play. It was a super fun project. Then, a few weeks ago I was told that the poster was going to be displayed in bus stop shelters around the city! I couldn't believe it! Last weekend we drove around town looking for them, which was quite a thrill. :)

Poster!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Textures

As the daughter of a computer engineer, I grew up around a lot of computers.  I loved drawing on the computer with a mouse as a kid, because it made me feel really cool (in that "budding art geek" sort of way.)  But, as my training as an artist developed, I realized that I also have a strong love of tactile materials in art.  While I admired ultra-polished digital art, I also swooned over canvas paintings that were thick with paint, texture, and collage elements.

I think my current style is starting to reflect both of these two admirations.  I love Painter 11 on my Mac for its versatility as a digital tool, but also for its enormous library of simulated art materials (especially the pastels!).  In my latest work I have been creating textures with traditional paint mediums, then scanning them and incorporating those textures into my digital pieces.

For example, this is the texture I created for the cereal O's for my "IF: Rescue" piece:
  
And this is the earth texture for "IF: Subterranean":

I love painting these textures and have a few that I did "just for fun", like this one:

Happy painting, everyone!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

IF: Dip

Dip

I thought I'd post the sketch this week. The girl was angrier in the sketch but I decided that realistically, she would be a little envious of her little brother, so I softened her expression in the finished piece.  I doodled the sketch directly in Painter (using a baby blue canvas) and worked directly over the sketch to make the finished painting. 

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Ladies of Carousel Theatre

Now that the announcement has been made, I can talk a little bit more about what kept me busy for February and March.  I have been working with Carousel Theatre for Young People here in Vancouver to create the posters and promotional images for their 2010/2011 season.  They are taking on five major mainstage productions beginning this fall.  I have been a fan of their productions over the years and am excited for the upcoming season! 

Carousel Girls
The above pics were done for the director and managers of the theatre, to be used various brochures.  Artistic and Managing Director Carole Higgins gets a crown, of course! 

It was a delight to work with Carousel and I am so excited to see the shows.  If you're in the area, I highly recommend their productions!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

IF: Expired

3 things are expired: an afternoon without a nap, her dad's patience, and her sugar buzz.

IF: Expired

Thursday, March 18, 2010

IF: Subterranean

Again, I apologize for my time away from this blog. I've been wrapped up in a very lovely project that I can't really talk about just yet. It has been a lot of fun so far.

I am VERY pleased to participate in Illustration Friday this week, however! My attempted participation in the past few weeks has sadly become a pile of thumbnails and unfinished sketches. Not this week! Yippee!

IF: Subterranean

This time around, I painted a bunch of textures and swatches with gouache and acrylic paint, then scanned them in to play with in Painter.

Friday, February 26, 2010

IF: Propagate

This one didn't make the deadline. :( Better late than never, right?  A mix of work & watching the olympics took up my time this past week.  As a side note, I would like to try to make my art look less vector-y in the future, even though it's not painted in vector!

IF: Propagate

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Go Canada!

In the spirit of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. :) The excitement has been steadily growing in Vancouver for the past year, but has completely overflown this week! Go Canada!
Go Canada!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

IF: Muddy

Or, as my kid likes to say, "splashing in the muck-muck"!

IF: Muddy

Friday, February 5, 2010

Flapper Sketch

I was asked to help with a project that featured flapper girls from the 1920's. Doing the research for this was so much fun! Here is one of the sketches I did. This wasn't the sketch that was approved, but I still like the fun feeling I get from it. 

Have a good weekend, everyone! 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Process for "IF: Focused"

I thought I'd post some process pictures for this week's IF piece.  I like seeing other artists' process posts, so maybe mine will be of use to somebody.

First, I drew a few different thumbnails of ideas in my sketchbook, then I went straight into Painter and drew a rough sketch.


After getting the composition worked out, I went back and changed the size of the camera lens to emphasize this week's theme:


The rough drawing was turned into a transparent layer.  I then picked out my colour palette and created all of my paint layers.  (Each element in the image was divided into several layers.)
  From there, it was a matter of creating texture and depth to each layer using the dry chalk, pastel, and airbrush tools.  I also brought in a photographed texture for the floor.  I love Painter and all of the art materials available in it!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Website!

Lately, I have been feeling envious of all of you awesome artists and illustrators out there, not only for your fancy talent but for your fancy portfolio websites!  With the new year, I am pushing myself out of my 'shy' comfort zone and am focusing on getting my work out into the world.  It has always been my dream to be a freelance illustrator, particularly in children's publishing (like many of you), and I finally just asked myself one day, "what are you waiting for?"  Last fall, I attended an illustrators conference for my local chapter of the SCBWI, and received much encouragement from the wonderful people there.  I've officially decided to follow my heart! 
 
So, I am very proud to announce:
www.alissastaples.com is officially open!! 

I also painted up a little logo to put on my letterheads for illustration-related correspondence.  The subject matter came easily:
I know that the road ahead is long, but is so totally worth the effort.  Thanks for your support thus far, and I'll keep you posted as my journey develops!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It would be so nice..

..if I could hire a little sidekick to dig through my sketchbooks and recent artwork, scan them, and get them ready to post on this blog!  I am trying to be more organized. 

I found this in my sketchbook from last summer.  I swear I had scanned it, but had forgotten yet again.  It was done in watercolour while our family took a little weekend road trip. 

Happy painting!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

IF: Renewal



Gramps needs a glasses prescription renewal.. and quite possibly a driver's license renewal too!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

Hello!  I apologize for not having posted in a while, my muse ducked away for some fun holiday festivities!  I hope everyone out there had a great new year.  :)

While I get organized again, here is a painting I did in the fall for a small dog rescue foundation's fundraiser.  Furever After is a rescue organization on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, that finds homes for some incredibly cute dogs! 


Acrylic on mounted wood panel, 12 x 12

Happy painting, everyone!