Monday, 24 November 2014

Fast Forward

Seasons by Vanessa MacLeod

I've always loved comics that explore the passing of time; the changing of one particular spot over the years.  Robert Crumb's Short History of America comes to mind.  Chris Ware also explores the passing of time in his amazing graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid On Earth; in fact Ware often explores this theme, which is one of the things I love about his work.  

It is sometimes hard to accept how quickly time passes.  I feel it every day.  When I look at my son's face; suddenly he's a 24 year old man and not the 7 year old boy.  It also makes me think of my own aging; all the things I still want to accomplish in life.  

It's amazing how easy it is to imagine your entire lifespan in the time it takes to pour a cup of coffee.

Here's my own version of the passing of time.  Inspired by a tree that I pass on my way to my son's school.  

Monday, 3 November 2014


We've been seeing a lot of rain in ol' Vancouver these days, which inspired this cartoon.  Splashing someone while driving has become a legitimate fear of mine!  Or being the one getting splashed!

"Puddle" by Vanessa MacLeod

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Etsy Vancouver

In September, I had the opportunity to be a vendor at the first Etsy Vancouver Marketplace, downtown at Robson Square.  It was a gorgeous, sunny autumn saturday and a great turnout.  I learned a lot through the preparation process and had a great time chatting with people.  I even sold some stuff which was great!
Here are a few pics from the day.  Thanks to anyone who stopped to talk to me, or bought something or grabbed a business card!

My table and wares.

Another table shot.

The view from my table; Vancouver Art Gallery in the background.

I sold a button!!

I did some quick sketches of people as they wandered by.  

Tuesday, 23 September 2014


Click for LARGER image!

I've been doing a lot of experimenting with different styles, colours, pens, techniques etc.  Sometimes I feel weird being all over the map but then I think, That's OK!  Sometimes it takes years before a person can really get comfortable; if they ever do.  In any case, I'm having so much fun trying out different things.  This comic is one of a series of 6-panel comics I'm doing in a new sketchbook.  My goal is to fill the whole sketchbook up with these random little stories! All the drawing and colouring is done by hand; I used a Pigma brush pen, Staedtler fineliner pens in various colours, and a blue mechanical pencil.  I find these satisfy my need for instant gratification all the while working toward a larger goal.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Travel Comic #1

Travel Comic Page 1 by Vanessa MacLeod

For the last five or so years, I've been sporadically working on a comic about the European backpack adventure I went on when I was 21.  At the time of my travels, I kept a journal and wrote nearly every day, along with poems, drawings and little bits of memorabilia that could be taped onto the pages ( empty sugar packet from a cafe in Spain or train ticket stubs, for example.)  Thing is, after 200 or so pages of "story boarding" (stick figures and word bubbles, basically), I became extremely scared of drawing the real thing.  I didn't know how to start!  It's so easy to get caught up in over analyzing everything, not feeling like you're good enough, and getting caught up in "perfection."  Yes, it's great to have standards.  Yes, it's great to continue to strive to get better and to learn and grow as an artist.  But sometimes you get to a point when you need to let go of all that; just have fun, not be too precious about everything, and don't be afraid to experiment and try things out.

Well, so here it is.  Page one of my travel comic.  I used paper, pencils, ink pens and gouache for this.  Denied myself the temptation of doctoring it in Photoshop.  Plain and simple.  It's a lot different than my regular full-page illustrations (where I mostly do digital colour.)  But I really went with the flow and I feel pretty good about it.  Of course, I'll probably end up hating it in some way.  Even as I write this, I see flaws and little bits I could change.  But that's ok!  Sometimes it's good to just do it and then move on.  

Friday, 20 June 2014

Roller Girl

Roller Girl by Vanessa MacLeod

I had so much fun with this one!  Not hard to see what inspired me here; a bit of grunge, a bit of punk, springtime, loads of colour.  Her sly smile remains a mystery to me though.  Not sure what she's thinking!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

In Paradise

In Paradise By Vanessa MacLeod

This illustration was very summer movie influenced; a little bit of Blue Crush, Pauline At The Beach, and Gidget.  Also inspired by the beautiful French actress Anna Karina.  If you haven't seen the 1965 film Pierrot Le Fou, please watch it now!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Miss October

Pin Up of Miss October by Vanessa MacLeod

As of late I've been working on some character Pin Ups while also trying to getting better using Photoshop.  While I still draw everything by hand, I like to colour digitally.  It's a lot of fun, but also forgiving.  Allowing me to learn as I go without totally destroying my work.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

A Couple More Rachel Rising Contest Submissions

Here are a couple more entries for Terry Moore's Kill Me Zoe contest.  I was inspired to put the image on a couple of large cans and take a few pics at the grocery store.  I did ask for permission but still got some weird looks!  Worth it.

The other image was, of course, inspired by Minecraft.  Might as well put a "mild" video game addiction to good use.  It was fun setting the scene, and pasting the images together.  Here is a link to the tumblr site featuring mine and other contest entries:  Please feel free to comment or like it!

Whole or Diced?  Photo by Vanessa MacLeod

Survival Mode! Image by Vanessa MacLeod

Thursday, 6 February 2014


Other than the graphic novel I've been working on, which is often a slow process, I've been wanting to practice my speed and also inking skills by doing these practice portraits.  The instant gratification is nice, and it's also useful to see something finished that I can properly analyze.   Seeing the mistakes is often the best way to train the brain; like paving a gravel road.  Here is Annie Oakley.  

Annie Oakley (pencil, ink, gouche on vellum paper) by Vanessa MacLeod

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Rachel Rising Contest Submission # 1

It was a beautiful sunny day.  Cold and windy.  I wandered up to the road that runs behind my house and spent a couple of hours with some chalk I picked up from the dollar store.  The road is generally empty other than a few dog walkers, so it was a nice place to work.  I took this picture after I picked Chase up from school.

Rachel Rising with Sidewalk Chalk

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Why It's Great to be a FAN

I kind of think it's a great time to be a fan.  Never before has the stuff we love been so accessible.  We are given a plethora of platforms to express our gratitude, ask questions or simply be in the loop.  It's a way of feeling linked to the stuff that we love and for this we are lucky.

So here it is.  One of my favorite comic book artists, the author of Rachel Rising, Terry Moore, is hosting a contest; the winner of which will be featured in Rachel Rising and killed off (gulp) by his amazingly complex villain, Zoe.

The contest is basically to display the words "Rachel Rising" in a creative way and take a photograph of it, whether your writing the words in the snow, getting creative with sidewalk chalk or holding up a poster in front of the people in line at the grocery store.

I think this idea is so brilliant and only proves my point.  It's a great time to be a fan of something!  It gives people a chance to be creative, get involved in something fun, and maybe be featured in a comic book!  

I'm excited to give this contest a try, and I will post any of my contest submissions on this blog as well.

For contest details and more info on the talented Terry Moore, please click on his name to be redirected to his website.

For fun, I've posted a comic I did when I was a kid, during my Shirley Temple/old movie phase.  Being a fan starts at an early age, and never goes away.

Early comic by Me

Etsy Shop