Monday, December 6, 2010

Elf Cam

I recently had the honour of working on this iPhone App project called Elf Cam with Wet Nose Design. It's a really fun app that lets you see Santa come down your chimney as well as a multitude of other functions. I find the Ask An Elf videos particularly enjoyable!Make sure you download yours today!

Wet Nose Design was a joy to work with on the project as they allowed me a lot of creative freedom, and had lots of good input, and a good vision of what the final product should look like. This was hopefully the first of many apps that I get to work on.

Friday, October 22, 2010

New Location, Same Great Marcus

It's been a very busy time for me and my wife these last few months. We're expecting our first child in a matter of weeks and so have moved to Windsor, Ontario to be closer to family. If you'd like to contact me my email and fax number are the same, but please note the change of phone number in the image above.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

So You Want to Work With an Illustrator

I created this animation in response to clients who have approached me with questions about the process involved when working with an illustrator. I can understand the apprehension, but hopefully it will answer some of their questions. This movie can also be found on YouTube, so please feel free to post it, and share it with others as you see fit!

This is my first ever animation. It was a lot of work, and a very steep learning curve was involved. I'll take you through the process below.

My first step was to do a whole bunch of research into animation. I've had some of my illustration work adapted into animation in the past so I had a good understanding of how to construct the illustrations, plus I had some past experience using Adobe Flash so I had a good starting point. was my sole resource for learning the software involved for the animation and music. If you've never checked out their service it's worth your time. For the actual animation theory I turned to The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams. I'd recommend it to any who have an interest in animation.

Adobe After Effects was the workhorse behind the animation. While I'm aware that I've barely scratched the surface of the program, I now have a decent understanding of how to use it for my immediate needs.

The expanded "Marcus Puppet" showing all the parts involved.
I wrote a script and made a storyboard, both of which we're altered during the process as I learned what I was doing along the way. A big lesson that I learned was that it's extremely helpful to have it all sorted out in the beginning rather than having to fudge with it down the road. I then created most of the illustrations that I would need, adding a few more during the animating process (again, it's better to get this all organized ahead of time).

I bought a nice usb microphone and recorded the voices. A big thanks to my very helpful and co-operative wife Holly for voicing the role of Suzie. The audio was then edited and refined in Adobe Soundbooth which I also learned through

I started animating from the first shot and went shot by shot until the end. If you watch the animation closely you'll see my skills improve as it goes. The first bits are way too over animated and it looks like my character is flopping around like a fish. The cliche holds true kiddies; less is more!

I completed the animation and added the sound effects which were found at The music was composed in Garage Band which luckily came preloaded on my Mac. And it was all put together in Adobe Premier Pro. Once again, thanks to for teaching me to use both those programs.

Even though it was somewhat arduous, I had a good time making it. Hopefully I'll be able to create some more animated projects down the road.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

On Shelves Now!

Wow, exciting week! In one day I received copies of both Turtle Magazine and The Writer Magazine which both feature my work. The piece for Turtle was created to accompany the poem City Street by Betty L. Hass. Many thanks to Bart Rivers for the super fun assignment!

The piece for The Writer was for an article by Lynn Capehart titled The Importance of Inclusionary Writing. It's a very interesting article about how many white writers will only describe a character in terms of race if they're non-white. It's a more heady topic than I'm used to, but I think it turned out great, thanks in large part to Ron Kovatch the magazine's Senior Editor.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Illustrator of the Month

I'm exited to announce that has chosen me to be their illustrator of the month! I consider it a big honour considering the the wealth of talented illustrators who are members of the site.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Keep the Heat Apocalypse Background

I was recently commissioned by the infamous Alex Negrete of Keep the Heat to create a new web background in celebration of hitting 300,000 subscribes. It's always a lot of fun working with Alex on these since he always has creative concepts and gives me a lot of room to play.

Friday, August 27, 2010

David McCandless: The beauty of data visualization

I saw this posted on illustrationmundo, and though it was brilliant. He makes graphic design seem much more profound than I ever conceived. Enjoy, and check out more Ted Talks.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

There Was an Old Lady...

If you seek out the latest issue of Humpty Dumpty Magazine you'll find the above illustration by yours truly on the back cover. It accompanies the poem New High Rise by Vera Koppler.

Stay tuned as I was asked back by U.S. Kids Magazines to create an illustrated spread for Turtle Magazine which will be out this September!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Singing Science - Owl Magazine

I love it when work leads to more work! After creating the lizard puzzle spread illustration for the fabulous Canadian children's magazine chickaDEE, their sister magazine Owl contacted me for the the above spot illustrations.

Owl is for a slightly older crowd and the illustrations were for a feature on the science of music and singing. It was a big challenge making all that anatomical stuff!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Elephant in the Room

Here's a piece was completed last week. The end client is in the business of helping medical pros with their organizational systems, and the elephant refers to changes coming down the province's pipeline that nobody wants to deal with until it's too late.

Thanks to Randy at Mythographics for being fun to work with on this one. I was actually able to meet him over coffee a couple of times. It seems that it's a rare but pleasant occurrence that I can meet the people I collaborate with.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Stolley Children's Hospital Campaign

I was really happy to get this gig doing the illustration work for The Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation's new campaign. The campaign will continue with phases 2 and 3 where you'll learn what happens to Ethan.

It's a really fun project to work on, and definitely a worthy cause. Props to the crew at g[squared] for being the masterminds behind it all.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Illustration Pages

Hey ya'll, I'm honored to have been listed on Illustration Pages today! It's a neat site that's all about illustrators Facebook pages and online stores. You should definitely check it out. They were Listed as one of HOW Magazine's Top 10 Websites For Designers March, 2010.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

K9 Design Portraits

I was recently asked to create this trio of portraits for the crew over at K9 Design Co. I've worked with the team there before and it's always an enjoyable experience. The job was fun too, I always like the challenge of portraying real people in my simplistic style. Maybe some of you out there would like to commission a portrait?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

ChickaDEE Puzzle Page

I'm happy to announce that you can find some of my work in the current edition of ChickaDEE Magazine. I was asked to create the illustrations for a puzzle page in the new reptile issue - in stores now!

I've also just finished a couple spot illustrations for ChickaDEE's sister magazine Owl, and have a piece underway for Humpty Dumpty Magazine.

I really like doing these kids magazine pieces, they're super fun.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Brave Sunterrainean Circus Mouse

Well, I actually created this as a part of Illustration Friday's "brave" theme for last week as well as for Monday Artday's theme of "circus"... also last week. So it's late on both counts. But, I feel it could also apply to this week's IF theme of "subterranean".

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Keep the Heat Illustrations

I very recently created some illustrations for Alex Negrete of the Keep the Heat YouTube channel (with over a million views). The work consisted of a background for the web page, as well as some additional character illustrations for his show Klik, a show for teens and tweens where Alex riffs on celebrities and other topical stuff. I'm especially proud of the God character - he's a pretty hip looking dude. It was a fun assignment, and Alex was definitely a pleasure to work with.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Illustration for Canadian Running Magazine

This piece was created for an article called Crossing the Line by Katherine Low, and appears in this month's issue of Canadian Running Magazine.

Life Of Pi

This is a little late for the Illustration Friday topic of "adrift", but I'm super pleased with it so I need to share it. Anyone who's read it will instantly recognize this as coming from Yann Martel's awfully good book The Life Of Pi. I really wanted to capture the uneasy truce between the characters.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Website!

Hey folks, I'm happy to say that my new website has just launched! Please have a look and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Plan B

I decided to try an experiment. For a long time I've done my best to move away from the use of line in my work and rely on colour and and contrast to separate elements. However, I was recently looking at some beautiful vector work with strong black lines and was jealous of the heavily graphic effect they had. So I thought I might go back and see if I could work with that idea a bit.

Well, it looked like crap. I think I was forcing it too much. It happened naturally with an older piece of mine, The Dude. I think the outlines work there because it's in the context of stained glass style, and because there's a lot less of them. They're also incorporated a lot better due to the texture. Anyway, you can see my revised version and I think you'll agree that it's much better. It never hurts to play around though I guess.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Got Mud?

This is both my response to the Illustration Friday theme of "muddy", as well as a kids t-shirt design for my new Zazzle store - check it out here!

Friday, January 29, 2010

New Self Portrait for 2010

I made this for something to have on the back of my promotional postcards. I toyed with the idea of just repeating whatever was on the front and just washing it out, but that didn't really add anything to the design. If I'm going to shell out for 2 sided printing, I might as well make it worthwhile and add a bit of interest, and part of promotion is selling myself as a brand so why not just blatantly sell myself?

I'm quite pleased with the end result will post my finished design once done. This image also dovetails nicely with this weeks Illustration Friday theme of "focused". So total bonus!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Here's my submission for the Illustration Friday theme of clumsy. I hate when people talk on their phones and drive... unless of course I'm the one doing it.

Monday, January 18, 2010


I was trying to figure out something to do for a promotional piece, and since I've been remiss at doing any Illustration Friday themes for a while, that's naturally where I turned. Above you'll see the result.

A nice thing about being in Edmonton is having a taste of city life with some beautiful nature pretty nearby. My wife and I took off to Jasper for some snowboarding over the holidays and we've been enough times that we're starting to take things like gorgeous mountain scenery and having to navigate around big horn sheep wandering around the road for granted. So I guess that's what this piece is about.