You really should know Lianne Leeflang

I have been a fan of poster art for I don't even know how long. Is it the mix of images and typography? Is it their graphic simplicity, their often hand-made feel? Is it that their images are (usually) conceptual and evocative rather than literal? Probably all of the above. Anyway you slice it, I like me some posters. Which is why I was so happy to stumble on Lianne Leeflang's work over at Illustration Friday.

Based near Rotterdam, Lianne is a freelance illustrative designer who specializes in book illustrations, patterns and prints. As a side project on her blog, she is illustrating a poster a week to the themes posted on Illustration Friday, and finds her inspiration in music: "Sometimes [I look] on, sometimes on youtube, to find a song or group...somewhat like the theme. That works great, since there is written a music tune to just about everything :)"

She sketches ideas by hand "with the particular tune playing the background", scans the images and colours them in Photoshop. She uses scanned paper textures as well, to give them the vintage-y look that I really love about them. Lianne also uses a secondhand book of fonts from the 1950s to inspire her typography on the poster.

Lianne has known for a long time that she wanted to make illustration her career: "From about since I was six years old...I was always making these little books, writing stories and illustrating every other page...I knew it wasn't going to be easy to make a living out of it...But I decided I still wanted to give it a shot." I wish her all the best, and I'm excited to see more of her posters up at her blog.

Thanks to Lianne for letting me share some of her work and telling me a little about how she creates her posters. Lianne's professional website is Take a look!

An astronaut's autobiography?

Portrait of Sergio

A sketch from my class tonight. First of all, that really was his name. And second of all, who knew you could have this much fun with pencil crayons??

Pencil Crayons

Forgive the terrible photo - I've just discovered that my brand new computer doesn't support my old scanner, going to have to fix that soon - but this is a still life exercise I did tonight in my Drawing class using pencil crayons. I really loved how you could burnish and blend the colours together. All of this was done using only a red, blue, yellow and white pencil crayon.

Possible promotional piece

Trying out a new combination of things...comments welcomed and in fact encouraged!

It's gonna take a while. It's normal to take a while.

Whenever I feel like it's just not happening, like my pieces just aren't cutting it today, I'm going to read this paragraph of wisdom over and over:

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.

Thank you, Ira Glass.
(This has been reblogged a couple of times, but I first came across this on the lovely design blog mint)

Photo reference...

...helped me with this one. Shadows - boo ya!

New Greeting Cards

All of this warm(er) spring weather has inspired me to make four new illustrated greeting cards now for sale in my Zazzle store. They are blank inside, but as with all Zazzle products, they are customizable (so if you wanted to write, say, Happy Second Week Back At Work, Jenny, you totally could) and come in a couple of different sizes. Happy Spring!

Poster - Live from the Belly of a Whale

This was a truly fun and creative project to work on. My friend Emily Pearlman is one-half of the genius behind MiCasa Theatre, a company that creates wonderful, whimsical, and slightly heartbreaking plays and, whenever possible, takes them on tour across the country. (One time they toured their show to people's living rooms!) Last summer I was lucky to catch their show Countries Shaped Like Stars when it was here in Toronto for Summerworks, and when I was in Ottawa last month I sort of maybe hounded her to let me do a poster for their newest show, Live From the Belly of a Whale. The way that Emily and her co-creator, Nicolas Di Gaetano, create theatre - using handmade, found objects, original music, collaboration - was the main inspiration for the poster image for this story of adventure, imagination, and loss.

If you're in Ottawa near the end of of June, make sure you drop by the Ottawa Fringe Festival and catch this play!

Illustration Friday: Lesson

I'm in the middle of doing a poster project for a very fantastic and creative theatre company and I can't wait to show the results. In the mean time, I've been inspired to do this week's Illustration Friday post as another theatre poster for the absurdist play The Lesson.

May Desktop Wallpaper

Even though it seems very cloudy and dreary in my neck of the woods, I have high hopes for the month of May. Come on, warmer weather!