blue sketchbook pages 14 & 15


A droopy eyebird, a gold lamé doughnut explosion in space, and a super sheen comet.

Ballpoint pen, markers, gesso, metallic gold paint pen, old wooden thread spool label.

Up in the attic I have a big sparkly round gold lamé tablecloth with a single cigarette burn in it, given to me 25 years ago by my cousin Chris back when he was working for a party rental company. I’ve been hanging onto it all this time waiting for the perfect project. Throwing it on as a cape and going as Rick Wakeman for Hallowe’en has always been high on my mental list of options, but my hair is all wrong and also, I can’t play piano.

blue sketchbook pages 10 & 11


Mycelium everywhere, branching on the right and a worm-shaped spiral on the left, with a horned bird.

Ballpoint pen, markers, gesso, bingo dabber. Page 11 is a two-strip newsprint bingo card tipped into the book to create a new page. I used to collect and bring home all the cards our club paid out on during my volunteer shift at the bingo; some of them wound up in my mixed paper junk journals (my perennial bestselling item) and some travelled in my bag to Spanish class to get doodled on.

blue sketchbook, pages 6-7


A horned hotdog person talking about a surprise party.

Ballpoint pen, Sharpie marker, other markers, white gel pen, gesso.

Yes, I know that “partie” doesn’t mean “party”. I got this phrase off the back of a record sleeve, one of the records we bought at a charity yard sale (might have been Saint Vincent de Paul Society?) held in the funeral home parking lot, at which we scored a whole bunch of French records in mint condition that had been removed from the collection of the local French CBC radio station. Anyway I did initially think “party” and thought it was the funniest phrase. When I started posting my little two-panel drawings of cartoon birds saying things that I overheard in public onto my studio website (link: Surprise Party in the Snow) I lifted the phrase for a title. Only one person has ever pointed out to me the error, which tells me that either everyone else thinks I don’t know and is embarrassed for me, or they don’t know themselves, or not many people have actually seen the thing (most likely option). Ah, well. Anyway this sketchbook contains many, many mentions of a sorpresa fiesta en la nieve. It really does sound like a lovely thing, doesn’t it?

blue sketchbook 2012

Years and years ago this website had hundreds of pages of portfolio and sketchbook images and that’s all here somewhere, hidden in a secret folder I may never open. I’d still like to share that stuff somewhere, especially the sketchbooks as I keep dipping into them and recycling images and ideas into new work. I can’t handle dealing with all those old html pages so I’m just going to start sharing them here.

This big blue sketchbook dates from 2012 into 2013, at a time when I had a studio in an old house in downtown Windsor above a lovely restaurant called Rino’s Kitchen (RIP), was taking Spanish classes for fun at the university, working a few sessions at the bingo hall every month as a charity volunteer on behalf of Artcite, Inc (link: Artcite), and was embarking on my very fun but short-lived stint in roller derby.

It’s a standard 8.5×11″ black hardback sketchbook, but I took off the cover and replaced it with a sturdier one, covered with some old woodcut prints with leather spine and corners.

Here’s the front cover:


And the drawing on the front endpaper and flyleaf:


(whoops, I glued that endpaper down with a bit of a crinkle in it. This is why we don’t exhibit our sketchbooks!)

And here’s the first page, which I remember drawing while sitting under the front gate canopy at House Redhair, our camp at the Pennsic War (link: Pennsic War). This would have been Pennsic 42, summer of 2012. I don’t actually like drawing with pencils in my sketchbook and the back of that flyleaf there is why. The rest of this book is drawn with things that don’t smear: ballpoint pen (Zebra F-301 7mm, my favourite), markers, bingo dabbers, and lots and lots of white gel pen (yes I buy those in bulk). Although I started with the first page, the rest of the book was drawn all out of order, and a few pages are used bingo card sheets I drew on and tipped into the book later.