Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Talk about a small world!

My illustration 'Porcupine' was commissioned by Wildlife Conservation Magazine out of New York. The article I was to illustrate was a true story about a man who had problems with a porcupine gnawing at one of the supporting timbers of his cottage on Lake Huron's Georgian Bay. If this animal's demolition project continued the man's cottage would have been in ruins in a matter of weeks. He shouted at the porcupine, waved his hands wildly and finally chased it away with a two-by-four. Knowing only too well the porky would return, the man put on his thinking cap and came up with a solution. He urinated at the base of a nearby tree. It worked. The porcupine returned, sniffed the tree, took off and was never seen again.
But the funny part was that as I was reading the manuscript, I looked at the man's name- Dave Mott. "Don't you know a David Mott?" I asked my husband. Turns out it was the same guy, my husband's Kung Foo instructor!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Letter to Prime Minister Harper

Just sent a letter to Mr. Harper today regarding InSite, North America's only Supervised Injection Facility.

Dear Mr. Harper,
I am writing to implore your government to support the marvellous work done by Insite Supervised Injection Site.
The evidence from several studies in peer-reviewed academic journals has made clear that providing citizens with a safe injection site is critical to rehabilitation. For many drug users, this facility is their only connection to health care professionals who can help get them off drugs. Since it opened in 2003, Insite has seen 700-800 visitors a day, prevented nearly 200 drug overdose fatalities and increased references to drug rehabilitation centres by 30%. Not providing this assistance means these mostly homeless, poor citizens return to filthy conditions on the street where many die. Insite has been proven to save lives.
According to the resident physician of Insite, Dr. Gabor Mate, virtually all his drug addicted patients were either abused physically or sexually as children.  Let’s stop punishing them!
I stand behind the ruling of the BC Supreme Court which found that Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act is inconsistent with the Charter in regards to criminalizing use of Insite. I urge you to let this decision stand.
Barbara Spurll

I urge you to send one too. It's fast and easy at
Just click on the "Show Your Support" button.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Work-in-progress pictures, Emma at the Fair

I took these work-in-progress pictures
while working on pages 4 and 5 of Emma at the Fair, 
written by Margriet Ruurs.
I started out with an indigo blue coloured
outline in watercolor to give the objects

distinct edges.

Then I added layers of colour until 
it got deep and colourful enough.





Oops! The pumpkin got a little too dark and


8 I used some yellow /orange gouache (opaque

watercolor) to lighten it up.

Then I worked on the rest of the picture 
working in the same way, building up layer 
upon layer of watercolour and/or dye. 








In the last 2 frames I added the border. 

Notice on the left hand side I did a 
little test run for the border colours before 
applying them to the final illustration. 
Sometimes it saves time to do a test first, because 
it would take a lot more time to redo a whole border,
especially one this detailed.
I use watercolours and watercolour dyes
(which can be mixed together). The watercolours have 
a natural quality but sometimes don't have the brightness 
I want. That's when I use or add some dye, because dyes are
really bright.
My favorite surface to work on is cold pressed acid free
illustration board.