Category Archives: Art

A Peacock Named Padgett







I’ve been all wrapped up with a peacock named Padgett. He’s French and smokes cigars and swears with every other word. I think it’s love.

 3′ x 4′ mixed media collage on canvas



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Cuts&Pastes: New series

Glitter & Glue

Over the past little while I’ve sort of been working in three different styles. I have my digital illustration work, my pen and ink sketching style as well as my traditional collage work done using paper and fabric. Although all three have their similarities and tend to overlap in a finished piece, I’ve wanted to start focusing on one style in particular and drive toward a specific goal.

When I was in my last year of University at Sheridan College I did a piece for my Sketchbook Course and later, was commissioned by my sister to do two more as a series. I loved doing them and got a really great response. Ever since I’ve had the intention of doing more. It’s a style that comes very naturally to me and brings together everything I love about art.


So here it is: Cuts&Pastes The Series. A series of collages done entirely in paper, fabric, glitter and glue. I’ve put together a number of pieces already, with several more to come. The intent is to show these in some capacity within the next few months because they really are meant to be experienced in person. These images are an attempt to capture their essence as a preview of things to come and what you can expect from me over the next little while.

The Flowers




The Jellyfish


The Octopus


octopus-detailHere is a detail from the octopus piece so you can get an idea of how these pieces are done. As I said, they’re meant to be seen in person so I’ll keep you all posted once I know where/when these will be showing. I’m super into birds and sea creatures right now but if anyone else has suggestions on subject they’d like to see feel free to shout it out. I’m totally open!

Next up are some large scale pieces I’m really excited about.

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Subway Sketches 2

Faces of the Underground

I see their faces and I wonder who they are. Where are they going? Where have they been? Here is my second installment of subway sketches.









We pass by so many strangers everyday. We never know who these people are. Sometimes we catch a glimpse into their lives, other times we make them up ourselves. I weave a story around each person; who they are, what they do. I wonder what they think my story is.

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What an Artist Does When Her Heart Has Been Broken

The Broken Heart Series

Sometimes there are just no words to express how you feel. This is a series of hearts I put together as a therapeutic exercise to get through a hard time in my personal life. I can actually say it’s made me feel a lot better to focus my energy on something creative and expressive instead of dwelling on things that I cannot change.

Here’s to moving on and new beginnings.

– alyssa


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Being an Artist


I need to share this recent experience with you all not only to vent personal frustration but to open up a topic of conversation that I think is really important.

I recently responded to a post on LinkedIn by a publisher from India who was looking for Children’s Book Illustrators. It is one of my dreams to have my own children’s book published and I was really happy to get a response from this publisher, asking for a pdf portfolio and my expected income to do a project for him.

I quickly grabbed my GAG Handbook (Graphic Artists Guild) and found that a lot of illustrators charge a flat fee for Children’s book or otherwise quote based on a Royalty Contract in which the artist received a percentage of sales. I then emailed him back with my portfolio and explained that my rates were based on usage and I needed to know how many copies he intended to print and where they were to be distributed in order to quote a flat fee based on the briefs he had sent me.

In the end this publisher wanted full rights to my images while paying next to nothing per illustration. He wanted to pay me based on possible sales of the book without being tied down to the number of copies he would be printing but along with worldwide printing rights. He told me experienced illustrators in Europe are working for “very competitive rates” and that he had been offered “fantastic prices per illustration”. I was asking only  $200 a spread!

This is the email that I sent him:

What do you think? Was I too harsh? Was I unreasonable? How much would you expect to get paid to illustrate seven 16″x8″ illustrations? Would you do the work on the possibility of getting paid? How little?

I’m really interested to hear the feedback on this so please comment below, share your experiences and let me know your thoughts!


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Dictator Babies

The Power of the Mustache

I’ve been spending my spare time drawing mustaches on babies. Here’s some of my newest work inspired by some sketches I did a few years back while I was in first year university at Sheridan College.




I did these sketches after we had a discussion in class about how one feature can change one’s entire perception of someone. Something like a mustache can speak volumes when it comes to an illustration. This got me thinking about juxtaposition and how I could use this idea in my own illustration. Then I thought about how a lot of dictators have very distinctive facial hair and it came to me; Dictator Babies!!

I’ve had the sketch for years and always had a fondness for it so I decided to redo it digitally in my current style. I’m getting into doing more portraiture and am going to be focused on that more in the near future. Eventually I want to have a separate Portraits section on my website but in the meantime the site has just been updated with new work including these little babies so if you get chance drop by, have a look and let me know what you think!

Until next time.

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Subway Sketches

Taking the Long Way to Work

I’ve been working a lot lately and the time I have had to pursue artistic endeavors has been limited but I’ve really taken to sketching people on the subway, on my way to and from work at the Royal York Hotel.

I thought I’d share with you some of my drawings from the past week as a quick post before I put up a bunch of new pieces early next week for you all to see!












I hadn’t sketched in pen in a long time and I’m really enjoying it. I used to do a lot of pen and ink before I started to do a lot of digital collage and I actually went out and bought a new pen today so you’ll probably be seeing lots more sketched in the near future (and maybe they won’t be on lined paper!!)

It’s always funny sketching people in public because, even though I try to be discrete most people figure out  that they’re being sketched and it can make them feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, some people love it and try to talk to me or ask me to draw them so there are the two extremes.

So even though I have been working full time graveyard shifts at the hotel and sleeping during the day, I’m still keeping busy and keeping at it and expect to see some new work and an updated website in the near future. In the meantime I hope you enjoy my little sketches and I hope everyone has a gorgeous weekend!

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Do It Yourself:

Being the collage fanatic I am, when the Daily Bread Food Bank asked me for some creative input on their annual hunger report my mind immediately pictured a collage made up of packaging materials from various nonperishable food sources. In my mind the collage could act as a reoccurring theme throughout the report to tie together the various paragraphs, headings, infographics and statistics. The food bank commissioned this 8.5″ x 11″ collage and is going to use it as a type treatment for the titles and headings in the report and for this blog post I documented the steps that went into making the finished type, from blank slate to .pdf final.

Step 1: Blank Slate

I worked on a gessoed masonite board that I reused from a past project. It doesn’t matter if the board is perfectly white because you’re going to be collaging right over it.

Step 2: Add Paint

The Daily Bread wanted white as the predominant colour in this piece but also asked for red, orange and yellow to be the main palette. When using recycled materials it’s hard to control exactly what you get in terms of colour so I wanted to use paint. Adding in a background colour in which to paste on top of also speeds up the collage process.

Step 3: Cutting and Pasting

I like to start with large pieces that are going to act as background once everything else is on. Make sure you wait until the paint is fully dry from step 2. I use matte medium to paste down thin materials like tissue paper, newsprint or paper towel and a craft glue for more solid materials like cardboard or fabric.

Step 4: More Paper, More Paint

When I do a collage, even if it’s just for use as a texture, I treat it like a painting. It needs to have balance, it needs to have depth and like a painting, I’ll know once it’s done.  Once I’ve got enough paper down I like to go back in with a paint brush. For this piece I went back in with white, being the predominant colour in the piece.

Step 5: Finish & Photograph

Once I’m content with the finished product I take it outside and photograph it. I’ve tried scanning but find the end product always comes out best when photographed on a bright day (not necessarily sunny, even overcast is okay if it’s bright) It’s INSANE what lighting can do to your original piece so try several different spots and see what you get. I upload the file into my computer and crop it to the edges of the board.

Step 6: Photoshop/Illustrator

Once I have the cropped collage saved I bring it into photoshop to play with the levels. I adjust brightness, saturation and hue to get it exactly the way I want it. I also sharpened this one to reduce slight blur from the photograph. I then went into illustrator to choose the fonts I wanted to use.

Step 7: Finished Type

Once I have my fonts chosen I select Type…Creat outlines and copy and paste the outlines on top of my collage in photoshop in a separate layer. From here it’s as easy as using your magic wand tool to select the type, selecting the collage layer and clicking copy and then paste it onto a separate layer. Now if you hide your type and collage layers in the layers palette all you’ll see is your new type treatment out of the collage you just made! I like to add drop shadows to give the 3D effect from the type.

You can create multiple treatments with one collage by just adjusting the levels in photoshop to different settings each time. It’s a really cool, easy way to do fun things out of type.

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Daily Bread Food Bank Illustrations

The Hunger Report

A while back I had mentioned that I had been asked to do some illustrations for a not-for-profit that is near and dear to my heart, The Daily Bread Food Bank. Originally we talked about doing a series of small portraits for the cover of their annual Hunger Report of different demographics of people who use the food bank because the theme of the report is “The Face of Hunger” and the aim is to break the stereotypes on the sort of people who use the food bank.

Instead, they opted to go with a series of three larger images for the inside of the report that correspond with different quotes from real people who were surveyed from the report.

One talks about a mother with her kids and how happy and smiling the kids were even though they didn’t have enough food on the table.

Another spoke about doctors from other countries who had come to Canada and now were struggling to find work to put food on the table.

The last quote spoke about elderly people forced into early retirement without enough in pension to sustain themselves.

I had a lot of fun working on these illustrations and it was nice to get back to doing the sort of work I did in University on different projects like my children’s book “Things I’ll Miss When I’m Grown Up”. It’s a really versatile technique that allows for a lot of detail and expression and combines my love of traditional collage and digital work. I was also happy to do illustrations for a cause that I believe so strongly in. My boyfriend, Matt, and I had been volunteering at the Food Bank since December when I was asked to do this project and I loved being able to volunteer my time in this way as well.

I will post images of the finished Hunger Report once it’s done at the end of the summer but for now I would love to hear your comments and criticisms.

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Baby’s Fourth Website

A New Website for a New Start

Now that I’ve been out of school and on my own in the big bad world for an entire year I’ve gotten passed my initial laissez faire attitude to the “what am I going to do with my life” part of graduating. I took the first year of freedom to travel, move out, spend time with my friends, family, work on some personal projects and enjoy myself. Now I’m starting to think big picture like “How am I going to make a legitimate living?” “How am I going to save for retirement?” “What do I really want to do with my life?”

I’ve always wanted to be involved in something creative, and when I discovered Illustration in high school I felt that I had found my calling. I know that it’s not the most reasonable career choice (although my plan A was to be a rockstar and that didn’t work out) but I feel like after spending 5 years in school and earning my degree in Illustration it would be foolish of me to give up so easily.

So this brings me to the topic of this blog post, which is the (re-re-re)launch of my new website, which I’ve been working hard to complete over the past few weeks. The aim of this site is simplicity. I want the viewers to see my artwork in all its glory. There are many online outlets that allow for me to ramble and rant, this site is straight to the point, here’s my art…look at it!!!

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and criticisms on my site, my work and my crazy goal of becoming a professional illustrator. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments and in the mean time ENJOY!!

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