Archive for Illustrators

Wednesday Guest Blogger: Freelance Illustrator & Figure Athlete, Alejandra Diaz Mercado Chavez

Creative entrepreneur, freelance illustrator, creative director, lifestyle and business coach, personal trainer and amateur figure athlete, Alejandra Diaz Mercado Chavez

Phew, that was a long title! But I’ve got to cover it all with this busy and talented lady. Alejandra pretty much does it all –  so of course I had to feature her as this week’s guest blogger! Ale is another ol’ Sheridan pal, and I have always admired her whimsical illustration work. I noticed recently that she had taken a new creative path, however… all these photos of her stunning bod, which is a masterpiece of it’s own, kept popping up in my Facebook feed! And I was like, WHO THE HECK – OMG IT’S ALE!!! I couldn’t help be inspired by her incredible new feat – and her ability to mange both illustration and a fitness career, is really just remarkable. You know how I love awesomely motivated and dedicated ladies! I’m excited to share her beautiful work – both on canvas and her physical self. Enjoy 🙂

nerdbiskit: So, what’s the story? Who are you, and what do you do? How did it all start? Short bio!

Ale: Long story short: my real name is Alejandra Diaz Mercado Chavez (which not a lot of people can pronounce properly), I am originally from Mexico City and I lift heavy weights and art brushes.

It all started when I was born into a family with an overdeveloped artistic talent on my mother’s side, and an array of outstanding physical abilities on my fathers side. Arising from this unnatural combination of traits I’ve had to develop a split personality in order to nurture both sides of my brain.

In 2003 I came to Canada to study art as a business practice and graduated from the Bachelor of Applied Arts Illustration from Sheridan College. Since then, my life has been defined by continuous change where the only constants have been art and fitness. I started exploring the corporate world of art and design where I had a couple of very bad work experiences. These resulted in a very dark period in my life where I became overweight and depressed. I will always be thankful to the person that decided to see my true beauty and propose me to do my first fitness show, because thanks to her I am where I am right now.

I am currently exploring the corporate world of fitness working as a full time personal trainer and running my illustration freelance business part-time. Interestingly the more success I have as a personal trainer, the better I do at my art business as well.

Even though I am originally from Mexico I do not like tequila, I do not like Salsa dancing and no, and trust me, I do not miss the heat.

Image copyright Alejandra Diaz Mercado Chavez 2012.

nerdbiskit: Why do you do it?

Ale: I do what I do, because I do not imagine any other way of living my life. I refuse to do things that I don’t like or that I do not feel passionate about and I refuse to die with regrets.

Image copyright Alejandra Diaz Mercado Chavez 2012.

nerdbiskit: What’s unique about you and what you do? What sets you apart from the pack?

Ale: What is unique about me is the fact that I have to live two separate lives (although not a lot of people know about this), like I said before in one life I literally kick people’s butts all day long as a personal trainer and act as an amateur figure fitness model, all this with a big sociable smile on my face and on the other life I am a true antisocial hermit where I sit for long lonely hours in my art studio weaving dreams and materials to bring into this world things that only exist in my mind.

When I say “I have to live to separate lives” I mean it. I have tried to give up one or the other and I always end up in heart break. It’s like being in love with two people and not able to decide for one or the other.

At some points in my life one takes precedence over the other, but both have to be a part of my life in one way or the other.

nerdbiskit: What/who is your inspiration?

Ale: I am inspired by the mysticism and humour of mexican art. I approach art through the innocent and naive eyes of a child who marvels from fantastic details that adults typically overlook.

My current favourite artists are Nicoletta Ceccoli, Joe Vaux, Dave McKean and Alyssa DeVille.

Image copyright Alejandra Diaz Mercado Chavez 2012.

nerdbiskit: What are some of your favourite things? (To do, to eat, to think about, etc.)

Ale: My favourite things to do are causing myself serious pain by lifting heavy weights and preparing for 6 months for Figure Shows where I am only 6 minutes on stage. I love food above everything else, and by this I truly mean everything else, including sex, but I also give it up when I am preparing for fitness shows. Among my favourites are peperoni pizza, all you can eat sushi, and towers of husband-made pancakes topped with bacon.

I love to make To-Do lists, half of which never get done, love the idea of books more than reading them and love Apocalyptic movies and tv series.

And of course my most favourite thing/person in the whole world is my HUSBAND, just thought it was about time he knew this, hahaha

nerdbiskit: How do you know Lisa Bell of nerdbiskit? Do you think her mustache obsession is a little ridiculous?

Ale: Went to school with her, she caught my attention when I noticed she was a little strange. She had a doll-like beauty to her and her sense of style definitely set her apart from the crowd. I also noticed that her strangeness later developed into obsessive mustache behavior, which I have been secretly following through her social media. I also thought it was fair for her to know this by now, hehe

nerdbiskit: That about wraps it up!

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Guest Blogger: Freelance Illlustrator & Motion Designer, Miss Hyein Lee

Freelance Illustrator & Motion Designer, Hyein Lee

Head shot by Andy Zeng, 2012

Hyein Lee. What can I say? She is one of those people that are so interesting, cool, and unique that you are nervous to even approach them. She is extremely fashionable, has an amazing personality – and also has incredible talent. She is one of those people that everyone just adores, and after she leaves a room, people turn to each other and say, THAT GIRL IS SO FREAKIN’ COOL. I have always been in awe of her and her work. It’s cute how she answers the “what’s unique about you?” question below so modestly, since she’s pretty much the most unique person I have ever met! (Well, I’ve met some “unique” in a weird or bad way type people, but she’s a unique in an AWESOME way kind of person.) Anyway, her responses to my interview questions are short and sweet and perfect and leave you wanting more – sort of exactly like her! She’s not really that short I guess. Maybe I’m just really tall…. Hopefully she will invite me to tea again soon so I can have the chance to sit near her, maybe I will soak up some of her awesomeness! Enjoy! xoxox

nerdbiskit: So, what’s the story? Who are you, and what do you do? How did it all start? Short bio!

Hyein: My name is Hyein. I grew up in Korea, now live in Toronto. I’m a freelance illustrator and motion designer. I am also an educator. I used to be an engineer many years ago. Back then, I thought if I get hit by a truck tomorrow, I’d regret not pursuing art, so I went back to school for illustration and just finished my master’s. I’m very poor compared to my engineering friends, but I’m happy. A lot of my dreams have been coming true these days, things like speaking at Pictoplasma festival in Berlin (watch it here). I’m fortunate for all the opportunities I get, and I feel like I don’t deserve them.

nerdbiskit: Why do you do it?

HyeinI have to. I feel miserable without working. I think I’m a bit of a workaholic.


nerdbiskit: What’s unique about you and what you do? What sets you apart from the pack?

Hyein: I am still working on being unique. It is very hard because an idea is universal and I get influenced by other art that’s out there. I have to work even harder to be set apart from the pack.


nerdbiskit: What/who is your inspiration?

HyeinTravelling is a huge inspiration for me. I grow as an artist everytime I go abroad. I’ve just been to Berlin last month for an exhibition, and came back freshly inspired.

Reading also is very important. I often get ideas from books and short stories I read.

It sounds sad, but deadlines are also an inspiration. Whenever I have no idea what to do, if there is a deadline looming over my head, something comes out.

Lastly, my artist friends inspire me a lot too.

nerdbiskit: What are some of your favourite things? (To do, to eat, to think about, etc.)

HyeinLet’s list it.
Food – Ethiopian food is one of my favourites. M & B Yummy and Nazareth are really great. I also love Green’s Vegetarian in China town.
Drinks – London Fog and Red Velvet tea soy latte. I like hanging out at Cafe Pamenar.
Desserts – Delight chocolatier makes this awesome dairy free chocolate coconut icecream. Heavenly.
Reading – Science fiction! I love books like Engine Summer, Spin, Road, Oryx and Crake and Ender’s Game.
Shopping – A Korean website, www.buyanne.co.kr has beautiful clothes. I look at their daily updates. They don’t ship overseas nor accept foreign credit cards, so I can’t buy anything. It’s good because I don’t spend money.
Sitting – I like sitting around at Trinity Bellwoods Park and Christie Pits.
Moving – Ping pong and swimming at salt water pool.

nerdbiskit: How do you know Lisa Bell of nerdbiskit? Do you think her mustache obsession is a little ridiculous?

HyeinI met Lisa at college. She had such original style and I always wanted to be friends with her. I was too shy to talk to her. She’s was such a cool punky girl back then. Now she’s a hot pin-up looking lady and I want to be like her. 😀

Mustache obsession is a little ridiculous indeed! But Lisa can trim my mustachio any day.

nerdbiskit: That about wraps it up! Definitely make sure you check out some of Hyein’s videos, they are AMAZING. Beyond amazing…. just watch them, you’ll see. Trust me.

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GUEST BLOGGER: Freelance Illustrator & Cartoonist – Britt Wilson

Freelance Illustrator, Britt Wilson

What can I say about this lady and her witty, whimsical (I love using that word, I even created this alliteration based around it) and wonderful work! Britt probably doesn’t even know it, but I’ve been following her blog in secret for a long time and admiring her illustrations and comics from afar! And not always from afar, I sometimes even approach her if I run into her at a show, and check out her latest books and goodies. One time she even had mini cupcakes! Her hand illustrated type BLOWS MY MIND. I want her to write all over my body with those mad skills! I have also been admiring her cat, Panties, for a VERY LONG TIME and I love him as though he is my own. I am honoured that he loves my catnip toys! We also share a love of mustaches, Twin Peaks, TED Talks… and Vicki Nerino (if you haven’t read Nerino’s guest blog post yet, get on it!) The 3 of us definitely shared at least one or maybe two laughs during the ol’ college days… and Britt tells a pretty good one below! Enjoy! 🙂

nerdbiskit: So, what’s the story? Who are you, and what do you do? How did it all start? Short bio!

Britt: It started when I was born. Hairy and jaundiced. A few years later I discovered crayons. That’s when my parents knew it was over. The chances their daughter ever had at a successful, normal life, were shredded and a little soggy, like the paper wrapper I ripped off those crayons. Move forward a bit more to now, with my BAA from Sheridan (received a scant year after the lovely nerdbiskit herself) which I placed lovingly in the envelope it arrived in, and promptly lost, I’m a freelance illustrator, cartoonist, and work the dreaded part-time day job to keep the other pursuits funded.

nerdbiskit: Why do you do it?

Britt: I do it because I am simply not good at anything else. Including things like “small talk” and “patience” and “tolerance” which are three essential traits for working an office job. I like the immense feeling of satisfaction I get after completing something difficult. And I like to be able to hold it in my hands, and say “I made this.”

nerdbiskit: What’s unique about you and what you do? What sets you apart from the pack?

Britt: We are all perfect little snowflakes or some shit like that, right? What makes my work different is all the different media it intersects/borrows from. I usually paint with my hands, and real paint in bright colours, reminiscent of children’s books, with very animated and lively characters. I’ve often been told I should have been an animator, but sucks to them, they draw the same thing all day. Also technology is allergic to me. My comics and graphic stories are also very animated, and though child-like in sophistication, they often contain enough violence that most parents give me dirty looks while they herd their children past my table at conventions.

I’ve recently also gotten into hand drawn type in a BIG way. I’ve always loved drawing letters, but I’ve started going at it like a mare in heat! In an attempt to improve my lettering skillz I’ve been fumbling my way through old-school calligraphy. Using a scratchy old nib and ink to address all my Christmas cards, and sometimes even my grocery lists!

AND, I’ve been doing pattern design for textiles or your desktop, whatever! I have my fingers in ALL the pies. My gooey fruit-fingers are what make me special.


nerdbiskit: What/who is your inspiration?

Britt: I have too many artists that I love and who’s work I gobble up like some sort of troll living under a fan-girl bridge. But also I am inspired by my friends. More precisely by my desire to be better than them. It keeps me working very hard. So far, most of them are still better than me, but that’s good, it keeps me motivated to keep going and trying new things.

nerdbiskit: What are some of your favourite things? (To do, to eat, to think about, etc.)

Britt: I’ve been swallowed whole by pinterest. It started because I got engaged, and a friend recommended it for keeping track of all my ideas, and the next thing I know, ADDICTION. If I ever manage to leave my desk, I love to walk around Queen West (in Toronto, where I live) and go to all the little cafés nearby. I have an insatiable sweet tooth, and love nothing better than good coffee, a pastry of some kind, and a comic book in my hand.

I love to BAKE. I don’t get to do it very often outside of Christmas-time lately, but cookies, cupcakes, PIES, I am THERE.

Recently I can’t stop watching nature themed TED talks. And Twin Peaks, and Futurama, and historical dramas, and audiobooks. I listen to audiobooks while I work, and I go through them like crazy. Currently, I’m listening to “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.”

nerdbiskit: How do you know Lisa Bell of nerdbiskit? Do you think her mustache obsession is a little ridiculous?

Britt: Lisa and I went to Sheridan together, I transferred there partway through the program from OCAD, and was scared to death when I walked into class and this loud, tall (I’m short), fashionista with giant hair and very red lips was sitting there probably saying something gross and/or inappropriate. I remember one day, towards the end of our last year (I had to come back for 3 random credits the next year) we were all sitting around goofing off during one really stupid class, and Lisa had an orange shopping bag with two clementines in it. I believe it started off with the doodling of balls all over Vicki Nerino’s sketchbook, but it ended up with Lisa dangling the bag of clementines between her legs and thrusting around to make them swing back and forth. I thought I ruptured something that day. Hopefully that isn’t too awful a tale to tell. Lisa, I give you permission to edit that. Here’s an alternate version: I like Lisa, she has pretty hair and my cat likes her cat toys. I also like moustaches, so I think she’s alright in the head, mostly. (note from nerdbiskit: I KEPT BOTH STORIES – chose your own preference! I liked both!)

nerdbiskit: That about wraps it up! Check out more of Britt’s work via the links below!

xoxo Lisa

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GUEST BLOGGER: Portrait Artist & Illustrator – Melissa Stewart

Portrait Artist & Illustrator, Melissa Stewart

This is one talented lady! I’m so excited to hear that she’s started her own portrait business, and I will be seeing her at an upcoming market in June –  First Sunday Stroll! It’s always fantastic to see a familiar face around at shows 🙂 We share a love of red wine and dads with mustaches! One day, probably not too far away, I will be hitting her up for baby shower gifts when my gal pals start poppin’ them out!!! Her work is beautiful 🙂 ENJOY!

nerdbiskit: So, what’s the story? Who are you, and what do you do? How did it all start? Short bio!

Melissa: My name is Melissa (a.k.a. Missy) and I have a loving husband, Jason and an adorable 1 year old who we like to call Betsy. I am a stay-at-home mom as well as a stay-at-home portrait artist. My business is called Missy’s Portraits and I specialize in painting portraits of babies, children, families and pets. I started my business when I was on maternity leave. I knew I didn’t want to go back to my full time job – I didn’t want to miss seeing my little girl grow up. I had always wanted to be an artist and earn a living doing it – and painting is my true passion. So I pursued my dream and launched Missy’s Portraits with much support from my loving family.

All images copyright Melissa Stewart, 2012. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use of any materials is strictly prohibited.

nerdbiskit: What’s unique about you and what you do? What sets you apart from the pack?

Melissa: I find that there aren’t really a lot of artists out there who specialize in portraits of children which is what I think my business is unique. Children are so interesting to paint – so much innocence in their eyes, so happy about all the little things in life. Looking at a painting of a child just makes you smile. There is also a uniqueness in the technique I use when I paint. I paint with oils on masonite board, not canvas – but I before I begin the portrait, I put thick layers of acrylic paint on the masonite to give the surface a texture that emulates a canvas. Some people can’t tell the difference.

nerdbiskit: What/who is your inspiration?

Melissa: My inspiration is my daughter. The first portrait I did after launching Missy’s Portraits was one of my little Betsy at 9 weeks old.

nerdbiskit: What are some of your favourite things? (To do, to eat, to think about, etc.)

Melissa: My favourite things (in order starting with my most favourite) are:

  • Jason and Betsy
  • My Mom, Dad and brother Mike
  • Painting
  • Playing the Piano – I am also a piano teacher
  • Singing in the shower
  • Drinking red wine
  • All you can eat sushi
  • Reading a good book

nerdbiskit: How do you know Lisa Bell of nerdbiskit? Do you think her mustache obsession is a little ridiculous?

Melissa: I know Lisa from Sheridan – we’re both artsy types. She became close friends with my roommate and friend Lindsay which is when I got to know her a bit better. I remember a fun time with Lisa – it was at Lindsay’s birthday party. Lisa bought Lindsay the craziest birthday gifts – including “inappropriate” straws, which were my favourite. I love that Lisa is the “mustache lady.” She’s a very unique person, I mean who else is there in this world who loves mustaches as much as Lisa does? My dad has a mustache (just a side note).

nerdbiskit: That about wraps it up! Gift ideas, anyone? Baby showers coming up perhaps? Get in touch with Melissa or see more of her work via the links below:

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Oh my BLOG, it’s a guest post by Freelance Illustrator, Vicki Nerino!

Freelance Illustrator & Pervert, Miss Vicki Nerino

What to say about this woman… where do I even start?! I remember when I first laid eyes on Vicki during my first year of college – her wild coif blowing in the breeze as she rushed down the hallway to catch her bus – I thought to myself, I will drink, laugh and tell inappropriate jokes with that woman one day. Not long after, we bonded over 90’s nu-metal, being born in Thunder Bay, David Duchovny, potty humor, making people laugh (or at least each other), and of course art and illustration! There have been many good times shared with this woman since then, so naturally I am excited to feature her and her incredible work on my blog. As hilarious and vile as her illustrations and comics can be, they are also extremely creative, original and even BEAUTIFUL! I’m sure she will hate to hear that, but yes, they are oozing of mad, gooey talent… among many other kinds of fluids…

So, what’s the skinny?

Vicki: My name is Vicki Nerino. I was born and raised in the deep snowbanks of North-Western Ontario. When I wasn’t fighting bears and riding elk, I was painting boobies on cave walls with charcoal and sap. I moved to the big city of Toronto, and when I finally recovered from the culture shock and shook the birch bark out of my rats nest of a hair-do, I attended Sheridan College and got myself a degree in Illustration with the nerdbiskit Queen herself. Since then, I draw wieners and boobies and butts for myself and others. I’ve had my work in galleries, newspapers, magazines, on t-shirts, pinned to backpacks, stuck on urinals, and posted all over the internet. Not bad for a Thunder Bay troglodyte, am I right?

So like, how come and stuff?

Vicki: I am totally hooked on making people laugh andor tugging their collars awkwardly and backing away slowly. It makes my day when I get to watch people giggle while reading my terrible comics, and I love sharing them with all of my friends. Lately, I’ve been finding comics the most rewarding. All the friends I have made in the community are totes amazing, and it really makes it all worth while. Well, besides drawing more wieners than ever before.

What’s you’re dealio? Why do you think you’re so special, huh? Eff!

Vicki: Well jeebs! I just like to have fun! Whether it’s a freelance gig or a short comic, I really like to put my own dirty spin on things. If I’m not enjoying it, or laughing at it when it’s done, then golly jeez, it’s not really worth it.

What/who is your inspiration?

Vicki: There are tons of people and mediums that I draw inspiration from. I love Ralph Steadman, Harmony Korine, Werner Herzog, Michael Deforge, Nicolas Presl, Johnny Ryan, Wes Anderson, and all kinds of other talented folk. I really encourage googling some of these names if you don’t know them. Thems be some cool dudes. And I can’t forget about all the AMAZING ladies in comics who inspire me every day to keep on it. Super chicks like Kate Beaton, Jess Fink, Emily Carroll, Meredith Gran, amongst many MANY others.

You like stuff, don’t you?

Vicki: Of course I do! I like jokes, David Duchovny, Dylan McKay, upper lip sweat, fish tacos, dates (the kind that you eat, and the kind that you go on), cheap ballpoint pens, a cup of hot tea with lemon, loud farts, and pie.

So like, what’s your history with that dang Lisa Bell woman?

Vicki: As I mentioned earlier, Lisa and I met in those crazy college days. We went to parties and drank in parking lots and made more boner jokes than anyone who ever existed before. I think her mustachio obsession is very becoming, I think she looks best with a little upper lip coifiture. Speaking of which, there was once a time when Lisa would cut my hair for me and wear my rats nest clippings as real human hair mustaches. Perhaps it was a sign of the wonderful furry things to come…

That about wraps it up! Learn more about this talented wiener drawer via the links below!

xoxoxo Lisa

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GUEST BLOGGER: Freelance Fashion Illustrator – Wendy Ding

Freelance Fashion Illustrator, Miss Wendy Ding

This Wednesday I would like to welcome Miss Wendy Ding to be my guest blogger! Wendy and I have spent some time together, mostly talking about cute boys in bands, doing some singing and also a little bit of dancing! She is certainly a stylish lady, which is probably why she makes such a fantastic fashion illustrator! Some of my favourite illustrations by Wendy are her food girls – make sure you check them out because they are quite delicious! Hope you enjoy 🙂

All images copyright Wendy Ding. All rights reserved 2007 – 2012 Wendy Ding and/or respective owners. Unauthorized use of any materials is strictly prohibited.

nerdbiskit: So, what’s the story? Who are you, and what do you do? How did it all start? Short bio!

Wendy: My name is Wendy Ding and I’m an illustrator with a penchant for drawing all things fashion related. It started when I was little and played dress up in my mom’s clothes. I was born in China and lived there til I was almost 9. Then I moved to England (where my parents were studying) for 1.5 years before calling Toronto, Canada my new home.

nerdbiskit: Why do you do it?

Wendy: Because I love it and almost nothing else makes me feel more fulfilled. Also because it’s the most honest way for me to contribute myself to the world.

nerdbiskit: What’s unique about you and what you do? What sets you apart from the pack?

Wendy: Hmm… I guess I always try to inject a bit of my personality and life into my work. Either in terms of quirkiness, colour choices, or resemblance to my friends/crushes!

nerdbiskit: What/who is your inspiration?

Wendy: I listen to music all the time when I work, so that definitely inspires me on a regular basis. Other than that, I guess confident, positive and go-getter type people inspire me!

nerdbiskit: What are some of your favourite things? (To do, to eat, to think about, etc.)

Wendy: I love to dance, go shopping (window or actual), drink tea, watch funny shows (Portlandia!) and movies, and most recently I’ve been getting into podcasts. “This American Life” is a particular fave.

nerdbiskit: How do you know Lisa Bell of nerdbiskit? Do you think her mustache obsession is a little ridiculous?

Wendy: We were Sheridan College classmates when we were both studying illustration! I got to know Lisa very well one summer when we bonded over Backstreet Boys and other 90’s boy band nostalgia. Good times !

I think her mustache obsession is awesome! Just another way for us gals to have fun with facial hair.

nerdbiskit: Anything else you’d like to share? Any fun facts about you?

Don’t know how cool this is but to this day I still find it easier to count in Mandarin. It was the first language I learned and although English is my primary now as I’ve spoken it the longest, the way numbers are constructed in Mandarin make more logical sense. I don’t know, I guess you’ll have to speak it to know it.

Malcolm Gladwell explains it well here in this snippet from his book “Outliers.”

nerdbiskit: That about wraps it up! Check out more of this fantastic lady’s work via the links below – perhaps even commission her for a fantastically fashionable portrait!

 

Here’s The Daily Dress! Nothing screams “spring is here” like purple snake print… uh, right?

xoxoxox Lisa

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