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Waxworks Records Covers December 12th, 2013

Thrilled that my husband Jamie Lawson (from Poly Studio) and I are teaming up with the incredible Waxwork Records to do the art for classic horror soundtrack LP covers! It’s going to be awesome to collaborate together on something so near and dear to our hearts.

Waxwork Records is the label behind the amazing, ghoulish-green Re-Animator vinyl soundtrack by Richard Band, John Harrison’s classic 1985 score to Romero’s Day of the Dead & the soon to be out Rosemary’s Baby soundtrack by Christopher Komeda. We have the first two and can’t wait to get out hands on Rosemary’s Baby. That sounds a tad strange doesn’t it? The Day of the Dead & Rosemary’s Baby package features art by Jay Shaw & the Re-Animator art is by Ghoulish Gary Pullin. We can’t wait to join the ranks of this talented team.

Waxwork-Records-logo-600

Here’s a little sneak peek of my painting process so far. What film might this be?

WAXWORK - Jacqui Oakley - Painting Process

Here’s the striking Day of the Dead art and design by Jay Shaw:

Waxworks Records - Day of the Dead - Jay Shaw

Check out the stunning colours of this vinyl.

Waxworks Records - Day of the Dead - Jay ShawWaxworks Records - Day of the Dead - Jay Shaw

Art for the 1985 horror film, Re-Animator created by Ghoulish Gary Pullin with contains a massive 18″ x 24″ full color poster of his eye-catching cover art. This totally captures the vibe of the film.

Waxworks Records - Re-Animator - Ghoulish Gary Pullin

Waxworks Records - Re-Animator - Ghoulish Gary Pullin

Up next is the haunting score for Rosemary’s Baby with cover art by Jay Shaw which you can pre-order now at Waxwork Records.

Rosemary's Baby - Waxworks Records

Waxworks Records - Rosemary's Baby - Jay Shaw

Cityscapes & Fortune Magazine August 27th, 2013

Usually I get contacted by art directors to draw portraits or animals, so this job was quite a unique and a fun challenge! I always have such a good time collaborating with David Powell at InRe (South Texas College of Law Alumni Magazine). The article that I illustrated was about law graduates choosing to work at smaller law firms rather than joining bigger corporations, and this is what I came up with:

I wanted to do something slightly different with this job and rely more on pattern, adding a nice contrast between the small court house and the bigger corporate buildings. Neither of these options could be shown in a negative light, so I had to come up with a way to differentiate them from each other while still making each feel a favorable career choice for the recently graduated lawyers.

Here are some of the project’s process including my pencil linear, some reference and my inked illustration before I added colour digitally. For this project I wanted to go for a less vibrant palette than I normally would use and so I looked to other reference for inspiration and some new ideas.

Some business/corporate magazines can be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to design and illustration but this was not the case with the Fortune Magazine covers of the past. In particular I was taken with the colour palette and the gorgeous way the city was abstracted in this 1954 cover by the very talented Neil Fujita. With my illustration I wanted to have buildings as focal points since I wasn’t particularity excited to draw lawyers, so I took these illustrations (shown below) as jumping off points to try something different and go a little more stylized than I usually would.

Here’s a gorgeous 1951 Fortune cover by Jerome Synder which has a similar feeling to the Fujita piece and was also a source of inspiration. (via Unkee E’s Fortune Cover Tumblr)

Jerome Snyder Fortune Cover - from Jacqui Oakley IllustrationAnother piece by Jerome Synder (il duomo), that caught my eye for the way it smartly stylized buildings. Sadly I had to draw law offices and not a cathedral, so no fun steeples for me. Jerome_synder - il duomo - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Obviously I didn’t want the illustration to copy Fujita’s or Jerome’s style and so I’ve combined them with my own look using organic cloud forms, and trees and tweaking the colours slightly. What I loves about this project is that is helped me incorporate something new into my toolbox that I can use again down the road. Those moments in illustration where you try something new and it works out are always satisfying. It’s nice to know that as an artist you’re continuing to experiment and grow and not to just rely on tried and true techniques and subject matter. Throwing something new into the pot every now and again is always a good idea.

Along with this opening illustration I got to draw a whole bunch of lawyer portraits and David and I thought it might be fun to link them together with the building patterns and colours of the main spread. It was interesting to combine the black ink portraits with these graphic shapes. Again, here’s something new that I was excited to see work.

Thanks again to David and the lovely job he does designing InRe with his exceptional attention to detail.Buildings - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

 

Here’s some more vintage Fortune covers that really stand out. Love how these are simultaneously both very painterly and really graphic. Artists/designers back then could really do it all couldn’t they?

Below: FORTUNE July 1952 – Illustration by Jerome Synder (via Unkee E’s Fortune Cover Tumblr)

Fortune Cover by Jerome Synder - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Below: FORTUNE January 1968 – Illustration by Romare Bearden & Art Direction by Walter Allner (via Linda Rubes‘s brilliant Vintage Fortune Tumblr)

Fortune Cover by Romare Bearden 1968 - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Below: FORTUNE April 1953 – “Jet Airliners”, another one from Neil Fujita with Art Direction by Leo Lionni (via Linda Rubes‘s brilliant Vintage Fortune Tumblr)

Neil Fujita - Fortune - Jacqui Oakley Illustration
Below: FORTUNE May 1952 – illustration by Jim Flora (1914-1998) (via Unkee E’s Fortune Cover Tumblr)

Jim Flora - Fortune - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Below: FORTUNE July 1949 – illustration by Ben Shahn with Art Direction by Will Burtin (via Linda Rubes‘s brilliant Vintage Fortune Tumblr)

Ben Shaun - Fortune - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

 

King Kong Mural / Agenda NYC August 1st, 2013

It was a great to be able to go to NYC and do a live art installation with my husband Jamie Lawson for Basecamp (and Flexfit) at Agenda’s NYC show this past July 10th and 11th. The Agenda Trade Show is a forum for streetwear lines, such as Brixton, Reebok, Herschel, Vans etc., with a strong emphasis in style, art, music and culture. We were given a big 12×8′ freestanding wall and kindly given free reign by the awesome Basecamp folks to do as we please. We thought since this was the NYC Agenda show we’d go with a New York theme and the first one that came to mind was obviously everyone’s favourite monkey, KING KONG!

KING KONG mural  - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

Day 1. We arrived at Agenda’s Soho location armed with paint, brushes and coffee.

KING KONG mural  - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

Here’s the time-lapse video of the whole thing!

It began with a whole lot of yellow….

KING KONG mural - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

KING KONG mural  - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

KING KONG mural  - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

KING KONG mural  - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

…. and then at about the 3 hour mark blue was added and I discovered I was too short for this kind of business.

KING KONG mural  - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

It was pretty fun painting to the Agenda crowds. Even the most intimidating dudes decked out with sunglasses and $800 sneakers were really enthusiastic and sweet to chat with.

KING KONG mural  - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

At this point Jamie meant business, bringing out a clipboard. You might be wondering about the addition of the baseball hats. Well, Basecamp is the visible face of Flexfit one of the largest vendors of custom, private label hats, hence the baseball hats added to the mural. They had a pretty great Wu-Tang hat that we are now the proud owners of. Basecamp promotes the intersection of art and culture and sponsored the artists at the Agenda NYC show as well as past shows in Long Beach and Las Vegas.

KING KONG mural  - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

KING KONG mural  - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

Nearing the 6pm deadline of day 1, it’s hard to stop painting. We’re having such a good time.

KING KONG mural  - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

…and this is the end of the 1st day. Time to eat Chinese dumplings and rest our weary legs.

KING KONG mural  - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

DAY 2. Surprisingly we got so much done the first day that on Thursday we could take our time and add some fun details and of course the finishing touches of neon orange.

KING KONG mural  - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

KING KONG mural  - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

KING KONG mural - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

We had some time on Thursday to check out the other Basecamp artists. The lovely Sofia Maldonado did this amazing piece bringing in some cloud installations. She was also sponsored by the amazing art blog Hy.gen.ic.

Mural by Sofia Maldonado / for Agenda & Basecamp

There was another beautiful mural on the first floor by Javier Bergasa. We also got to chat to a bunch of the companies there and met some great people at HB Super & Outdoor Tech.

Javier Bergasa mural  for Agenda & Basecamp

AGENDA_KINGKONG_outdoor_tech_600

A close-up of King Kong. He’s getting there.

KING KONG mural  - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

KING KONG mural  - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

Thanks so much to Rubens Benchimol for this photo of Jamie and myself painting the final red touches. It’s obviously very serious business.

KING KONG mural - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

… and we’re done!

KING KONG mural - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

KING KONG mural  - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

KING KONG mural  - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

KING KONG mural  - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

KING KONG mural - by Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson / for Agenda & Basecamp

Thanks so much for having us in NYC Andy Song & Andy Chang of Basecamp / Flexfit and Corbin Cones and Stephan M. Timonier of the Promote & Preserve (formerly Hy.gen.ic) art blog. Many of these beautiful photos, especially the black and white ones, were taken by the talented Stephan. All these guys were so much fun to hang out with and so enthusiastic. It really was a pleasure to work with them.

 

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to be asked to do this job by Cassidy Zobl the Art Director at Hour Detroit. It’s always great working with them and it’s wonderful to have an opportunity to do a cover inspired by the Farmer’s Almanac, garden gnomes, topiary and flowers. It’s like they read my mind.

DETROIT HOUR green magazine cover - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Here is the Farmer’s Almanac cover from 1902 that I was asked to work from. It’s a beauty isn’t it? I’ve definitely learned a thing or two working from its gorgeous detail.

109 Farmers Almanac 1902-2 - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Here’s the linear I sent to the art director. As you can see I’ve squashed some of the elements of the Almanac design to allow room for the title and the different illustrative elements I planned to add.

DETROIT HOUR green magazine cover rough drawing - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Here’s the start of the rather long but fun inking process. I used a very very fine brush and ink for this and went through a lot of podcasts.

DETROIT HOUR green magazine cover process - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

The cover is filled with hints to the stories inside including topiary hairstyles, baseball and gardening.

DETROIT HOUR green magazine cover process - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Nearing the end of my night’s work. I think I was hallucinating gnomes at this point.

DETROIT HOUR green magazine cover process - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

The next step was to add colour! I scanned in my inked page and then started adding in painted textures, making sure to focus on greens. The line-work I changed to greens and browns, bumping up the contrast in some important focal areas. Then a sprinkling of some warmer colours to add some contrast and further emphasize the green. Here’s a breakdown of some of the colour layers….

DETROIT HOUR green magazine cover process - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

more green!

DETROIT HOUR green magazine cover process - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

….and here’s the final version with the very green background. Hour wanted the cover to look super green, so it was a welcome challenge to not add all the colour I usually do but to still create some focal points amongst the intricate detail.

DETROIT HOUR green magazine cover - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

I went a bit crazy on the detail on this piece, which I have a tendency to do, adding all sorts of little elements that probably no one else will notice but that I enjoyed.

DETROIT HOUR green magazine cover - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Not sure what the weather is like in your neck of the woods but around the Toronto area it’s still cruelly clinging to Winter. We’ve had a few tempting peeks at Spring which has been enough to get me excited to start working on our new garden. It’ll be the first growing season we’ve had in our new house and I can’t wait to see what we’re going to do with the yard. It’s pretty barren now, but in a few months I’m sure it’ll be as green as this image….. hopefully!

 

 

Last year I was asked by Ryan Cox to contribute to a book filled with his poetry about the musicians he loves, A Circus Mind. Since I was asked to paint Elvis and Paul McCartney I jumped at the chance, especially since I got to work with a bunch of talented artists: Elissa Parente, Andy Potts, Julia Minamata, Samone Murphy, & Zela Lobb and my friend and one of the talented illustrators,  Dushan Milic was the designer of the book. Everyone did a beautiful job and I was so excited to have the book delivered to me this week.

Elvis' Last Days - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

A Circus Mind - by Ryan Cox - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

My first illustration was about the urban legend suggesting that Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was secretly replaced by a look-alike. For more about this legend check out this link. So I illustrated a sad confused looking Paul in his coffin surrounded by hints of his demise and the use of his doppelganger. I love the hilarious side note that the Beatles started resenting the fake Paul and nicknamed him “Faul”.

Paul is Dead - A Circus Mind - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Alan Parson, engineer of The Beatles “White Album”, claimed that he created the phase “turn me on dead man”, which can be heard when playback “number 9″ from “Revolution 9″ in reverse direction. But John Lennon, who created Revolution 9 said that the “Number 9″ was just an engineer’s testing tape with a voice saying “This is EMI Test Series Number 9″. Believers of this “Paul is Dead” conspiracy believe that this hints to poor Paul’s death.

Paul is Dead - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Another one of these hints to Paul’s death is visual clues on the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover. If a mirror is placed horizontally across the middle of the Sgt Pepper bass drum, bisecting the words ‘Lonely hearts’, the phrase “I ONE IX HE DIE” can be seen. This was taken to mean “11 9 HE DIE”, a reference to the supposed date of the ‘real’ Paul’s death, 9 November. Another interpretation of this is that “1 ONE 1″ represents the three other Beatles, and the X represents the dead McCartney. A diamond symbol between HE and DIE points upwards to McCartney. Surely there must have been easier ways to suggest this wicked ruse? Just reading about it is exhausting.

sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-band

Paul is Dead - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

In an edition of Life magazine dated 7 November 1969, McCartney reassured fans that “Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” paraphrasing Mark Twain. “However,” he continued, “if I was dead, I’m sure I’d be the last to know.”

Paul is Dead - Process - Jacqui Oakley Illiustration

Here are my linears for Elvis and Paul. With Paul’s concept I was toying with the idea of adding even more symbols in the flowers that relate to the controversy of his supposed death as you can see from those wee pics I pasted in amongst the lilies. At the end I though this was a bit too much, although it would have been fun to paint doll and a walrus head.

Paul and Elvis sketch - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

He’s the process for chubby Elvis. It was actually really hard to do a portrait of Elvis in his last days. He really didn’t look like himself at all so I had to merge a bit of the younger Elvis with some extra flesh and a disheartened look. As usual with portraits I print out multiple images from the web and combine them so I understand the structure of the face and at the end the illustration has a more unique look. For me, the most important aspect of this portrait was for his eyes to communicate a subtle weariness over his life.

Elvis - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

At some point my Elvis was looking a bit too much like a sultry Bollywood star with his dark locks, his long eyelashes and seductive eyes, but I think I turned him around. Phew! There’s a lot of pressure to paint “the King”. Here’s some of the process:

jOakley_Elvis_process

Here’s a selection of pages from the book. There are many more beautiful illustrations by more illustrators too, so be sure to pick up the book here. Below is a vibrant Janis Joplin by Zela Lobb:

A Circus Mind - Janis Joplin - Zela Lobb Illustration

My Paul McCartney:

A Circus Mind - Paul is Dead - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Dushan Milic’s portrait of Rick Rubin has to be my favourite. Such good colours and just look at that magnificent beard!

A Circus Mind - Rick Rubin - by Dushan Milic

Elissa Parente has tons of work in the book including this fabulous Bob Dylan piece. Her loose painterly style is so expressive.

A Circus Mind - Bob Dylan - Elissa Parente Illustration

and my chubby Elvis:

A Circus Mind - Elvis's Last Days - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Elvis' Last Days - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

As I mentioned before there are tons of great images in this book, check out all the illustrators’ sites for more sneak peaks and be sure to buy a copy of The Circus Mind here. Thanks so much to Dushan and Ryan Cox for having me on this project. It turned out so great.