Archive for the 'Workspace' Category

Asian Carp

Two summers ago, I tried out fly fishing for the first time. Up until then, I had viewed fly fishing as some sort of lazy, privileged sport that old men do in retirement. I blame Freedom 55 commercials for that.

But, after a day-long introduction, guided by my friend Rob Cesta of Drift Outfitters, I saw the sport in a completely different light. Fly fishing wasn’t the same as simple bait and hook fishing: it was an art. And to acquire such an art and be successful at it, one had to possess a deep understanding of the complex ecosystems they were stepping their feet into.

flies

I learned that those Dr. Seuss-looking lures are actually handcrafted to mimic very season-specific prey, and like a puppet on a string, the fly fisher must maneuver it convincingly. It’s a dance that celebrates one’s awareness with their environment.

flyfishing2

Okay, so I got a little philosophical there, but it leads me to my next topic: The Asian Carp Invason.

“What is the Asian Carp invasion?” you might ask. Well, that was my same question when Art Director Steven Balaban of Evermaven contacted me concerning a public awareness video they were making on the topic. (The clients were the ROM and the Department of Fisheries & Oceans Canada.)

After a simple YouTube search, I was horrified. There I saw the amount of damage this particular species of fish can have on entire lakes and waterways: nothing but carp and more carp, jumping every which way as boats motor through them.

It’s been a growing problem along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, and sadly, those rivers eventually lead up to the Great Lakes. The only way we can help stop the invasion is to recognize the four species of invasive carp and report if we see them.

carp_paperfish

Here’s a process shot of the five species of carp I made for the video. Starting at the top and going down are the following: Bighead Carp, Common Carp (not a threat), Grass Carp, Black Carp and Silver Carp.

Below are some of the scenes I illustrated for the video. Thanks to animator Alan Osborne, these scenes were brought to life!

Here’s the video link: http://evermaven.com/portfolio/asian-carp/

evermaven_carpvideo

moose, marsh, heron

fishing, boat, asian carp

So, perhaps we should be a little more like my friend Rob, the fly fishing guide. Opening our eyes and being aware of the native species that share our environment just might help save them.

How to make Kyle!

I’ve cut out a lot of sloths this past year. The one I created for this video was by far the most memorable, thanks to the mechanics involved in shooting a time-lapse.

Although a little hard to see, the photo below shows where the camera was situated above my desk. What is just outside of the frame, to the top right, is the large strobe we used for lighting. (Kevin is pictured setting up the laptop to receive the files as we shoot. Our two cats, Toy and Nori, are passing through, clearly unaware of the movie-making masterpiece we are about to create.)

Kyle Goes Alone, studio shot, video shoot, time-lapse, sloth video, how to make a sloth

The camera was programmed to shoot every 5 seconds and so coinciding with each shot came a blast of light from the strobe. That awareness of time passing in the form of strobes makes for a very interesting art-making experience. The pressure felt kind of similar to writing a high school exam with minutes ticking away.

Kyle Goes Alone, Owlkids, sloth, paper cut illustration, children's book illustration, Ashley Barron

People often ask me how long it takes to produce my art, and I never have a clear answer. Thanks to the mathematics of this shoot, I can confirm that this particular Kyle piece took just under two hours. (I had initially typed “half an hour” into this post before asking Kevin to confirm…that just demonstrates how flawed my memory is when it comes to this stuff!)

So thank you, Kevin, for making this time-lapse possible and for reminding me how long my art actually takes. And thank you to Allison MacLachlan and the rest of the Owlkids team for putting this video together to help promote Kyle Goes Alone.

If you want to see more videos like this, I suggest checking out Owlkid’s new hub for behind the book features called The Inside Track. It’s an especially great resource for teachers and librarians.
IT NEW

Kyle Goes Alone

Last year around this time, my life seemed to revolve around this desk.

Studio shot, Kyle goes alone, sloth art

Amidst piles of green and blue painted sheets of paper, penciled up tracing paper, stacks of book-marked reference materials and a confetti explosion of foliage and vine pieces, a little sloth named Kyle was being born.

Kyle Goes Alone, children's book, kid lit, sloth, sloth book, three toed sloth

Kyle was initially shy and fearful of the vast rainforest I was creating around him. All of those blues and greens made him feel cold and lonesome. His little brown body eagerly clung to the vines I cut for him.

leaf cutter ants, kyle goes alone, rainforest, paper collage

Little by little, and I mean little, I introduced some friends into the scenes for Kyle to meet. Some had six legs. Others had two. Some were green while others were red. And some had tiger stripes even though they weren’t actually a tiger.

tiger striped tree frog, rainforest frog, kyle goes alone, paper art

I didn’t want to startle Kyle, so I made sure to introduce the friends gradually, only showing pieces of them at first. Can you spot two in the scene below?

Kyle goes alone, sloth in tree, paper illustrations

After a while, something changed in Kyle. The greens and blues of the rainforest didn’t feel cold and lonely to him. A little smile even started to form on his face and he was ready to share his story with the rest of the world.

Kyle Goes Alone, three toed sloth, kid lit, sloth book, Ashley Barron, Jan Thornhill, owlkids

Kyle Goes Alone is a delightful story about a baby sloth’s first taste of independence and how he overcomes his fear of “going alone”. It’s written by Jan Thornhill, published my Owlkids and illustrated by yours truly.

I hope Kyle finds his way into your heart as he has mine.

Paper Poppies

Earlier this spring, I had the pleasure of teaming up with my art director/illustrator friend Elena Viltovskaia, on a rather pretty project.

Roohi Qureshi of Leaves of Trees was preparing to launch her official shop opening and needed a fresh window dressing to help celebrate the occasion. Winter’s stronghold was finally loosening and so we all agreed that a bright burst of blooms was well in order. Poppies seemed like the right flower for the job!

Process shot of making paper poppies, petals

Elena and I researched how to make large paper flowers that were structurally sound. Most online tutorials suggested creating accordion-style folds for each petal, but it looked a bit distracting and not true to the poppy’s form. After some experimenting, we found a way to keep the petals smooth but curved by overlapping them one by one and using staples to retain their domed tension.

elena_paperpoppy_construction

Elena and I are quite happy with the resulting crisp, graphic look of the poppies and have been told there’s a little marimekko-ness to them, which is a huge compliment! We hope to collaborate on more paper floral creations in the future.

paper poppy, poppies, window display, leaves of trees

paperpoppies_waiting3

paperpoppies_waiting

paper poppy window display, leaves of trees

poppywindow2

Our Paper Poppy window display will be up for the remainder of the summer. I highly recommend coming by and sampling the many natural lipbalms, deodorants, lotions and argon oil products Leaves of Trees has to offer. The shop is located at 177 Queen Street East, Toronto. http://www.leavesoftrees.com

Thanks goes to @fio_85 and @makerscartel for these two window shots!

Solitary Bee House

Bees are a hot topic right now, and rightly so.

Bee populations are falling at an alarming rate, which isn’t cool when you consider how essential they are to our food system. The use of pesticides and monocultures of commodity crops (like wheat and corn) that sterilize the landscape of biodiversity are just two of the contributing factors to their disappearance.

Agapostemon, Solitary Bee

Last summer I attended a Pollinators workshop put on by the good people at TheStop.org. The presenter that day was artist and bee enthusiast, Stephen Humphrey. He explained the differences between solitary and communal bees and how important it was to encourage their presence in our yards through the help of bee houses and by growing native plants.

I was especially delighted to learn that a certain emerald wasp-like insect I had photographed in my garden (see above) was in fact a species of solitary bee called Agapostemon. In fact, it’s one of Stephen’s favourite species and it’s not hard to see why. They’re absolutely gorgeous!

Stephen is part of an ecologically-minded artist’s group called Resonating Bodies. I recommend checking out their bee house installations!

paper cut bee illustration solitary bee house

Flash forward 6 months later, and there I was, illustrating solitary bees for the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s kid’s publication, WILD. (Thanks to AD, Steve Balaban)

Bee_Bungalow

The step by step guide teaches kids how to make their own bee house out of the simplest of materials: drilling holes into pieces of wood. Here’s another way of making a bee house I spotted at Toronto Blooms, using clustered bamboo sticks.

bamboo_beehouse2

The construction of bee houses combined with the replanting of native wildflowers is one small step we can all take to help improve our bee numbers.

I plan on making one for my backyard and I’ll be sure to post an update on how it turns out!

GCBC Season Opener Show

There was this time in little league when my entire team caught lice from sharing the same batting helmet. Lesson learned, my mom rushed out and bought me my very own baseball helmet…only for it to collect dust in the garage because I had switched over to soccer the following year.

I was 6 years old when I played in that league and so my memories are few. Other than the head lice fiasco, the only thing that really stands out is our coach and his pre-game mantra: “If we win we get ice cream and if we lose, we still get ice cream.”

There’s a lot of comfort in a simple phrase like that, no matter how old you are.

(I was really happy to be part of this year’s Season Opener show, put on by Garrison Creek Bat Co. Below are some process shots of my bat submission titled: Sweet Deal.)

blog_icecreambat_final blog_icecreambat_preview blog_icecreambat_process1 blog_icecreambat_process3 blog_icecreambat_process4 blog_icecreambat_process5 blog_icecreambat_process6

Still Life

Here’s an illustration that didn’t require much research thanks to all of the references already laid out in front of me. I pretty much created a still life of my desk.

My immortalized desktop can be found in the April issue of Spider Magazine, accompanying instructions on how to make a magazine holder out of an old cereal box and paper scraps. I remember making something similar to this as a kid, and I’m pretty sure it had mostly unicorns plastered all over it.

magasine holder craft, Spider magazin, paper collage illustratione


Hello

My name is Ashley Barron and I'm a Toronto based illustrator. This is my online show & tell of new artwork and anything else I find inspiring. Thanks for taking a look :)

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Big spoon / Little spoon Restricting myself to this colour palette for some much needed personal work. Scroll to see so far. #HenriRousseau 🐯 Yeti hunting Nori's tail. (From a couple weeks ago.) Baby #DinosaurKale "Make your own fairy garden" illustration for @cwf_fcf 's Wild Magazine. 🐚🌼🍄 Making a fairy garden, starting with some #butterflyweed 🦋🌿 This little guy survived the winter! #purplekale 💜