Alison Garwood Jones

Jann Wenner

October 14, 2017

Jann Wenner sketch by Alison Garwood-Jones

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Push your talent

October 10, 2017

Comic strip by Alison Garwood-Jones

This is my first attempt at a page for a comic strip or graphic novel. The hardest part, so far, is unifying the look and the palette.

In this romp through the forties (above), I came up with the drawings before I had a story in mind. Now I’m gathering them up in sequence to see how they look together and what story emerges. Not bad.

In another project I have on the boil, I have an entire story, but no drawings. It’s a short story I wrote four years ago that I want to try and map out visually.

Most illustrators I’ve looked at can draw in many different styles, but they choose a style appropriate to each story or assignment so it reads cohesively. All of these are revelations to me as I delve back into my childhood pastime: art.

Over the last year, I have posted drawings in every illustration style imaginable to my Instagram feed, from hand-drawn sketches to digital posters. I’ve been doing that to test the what I like doing, and find out the limits of my talent. Some styles (like loose brush strokes) hide what I haven’t mastered yet in human anatomy. Line drawings, on the other hand, force you to be accurate with things like hands and foreshortening. I have a multitude of challenges ahead of me that regular life drawing classes could fix.

All in all, I love seeing my progress. It’s impossible to miss since Facebook keeps throwing up anniversary posts, showing me what my drawings looked like a year ago. I’m getting better.

#GraphicNovels #cartoon #illustration #pentelbrushpen

#LearningNewStuff

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More than words

October 3, 2017

Bar scene, watercolour by Alison Garwood-Jones

The proposal, watercolour painting by Alison Garwood-Jones

Watercolour sketch of guys in bar by Alison Garwood-Jones

This blog started out as a place to write. That was ten years ago.

Today words have lost their lustre for me. I’m shocked and put out by the way language has being kicked around, mocked, and misused. I used to rely on words to express truths. My love for and response to them was intense and loyal. It still is.

But now that so many careless hucksters are messing with the reputation and integrity of language, the power words have over me has diminished. I find more truth in drawing.

I’ll continue to write and read, and read and read, but I’ll mend my broken heart over all the post-truths passing themselves off as language with colour and lots of lucious, inky lines.

Above: “Your local,” “She said ‘no'”  and “Mulling over her answer”— three brushpen and watercolour drawings by Alison Garwood-Jones inspired by life in the 1940s.

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New York State of Mind

September 28, 2017

New York Subway, Illustration by Alison Garwood-Jones

A bygone newspaper era. New York, 1945.

Today it would be phones. In France, everyone still reads novels on the Metro.

#illustration #watercoloursketch #subway #MTA 

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Packing List

September 14, 2017

 

This is what I managed to capture right before our trip to Vancouver this week.

I did some en plein air pencil sketches of Port Moody, but now I’d like to capture a couple of our day trip activities,  including our visit to a glacial lake, renting a canoe, and eating salmon jerky on a friend’s back porch.

I didn’t want to sketch during the trip. I was having too much fun experiencing it. But I have pics in my phone, so I’ll capture those here in Toronto at my drawing table.

Watercolored line drawings by Alison Garwood-Jones

 

 

 

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Student Success Stories

September 1, 2017

Do what you love - Illustration by Alison Garwood-Jones

Illustration by Alison Garwood-Jones

If you are on this page because you’re thinking of enrolling in my U of T  Digital Strategy course this fall, I can see you! Hehe. Seriously. I’m glad you stopped by.

Whenever I take a course — which is pretty often — I always Google the instructor. I want to know who they are, what they are accomplishing outside of class, and if they have an original spark before I commit to spending several months with them.

I’ve been teaching Digital Strategy and Communications Management since the fall of 2014 — an eternity in digital years.

In that time, digital communications has evolved by leaps and bounds. My course has adapted with every twist and turn social media has taken, and it provides up-to-the-minute strategies on how to build and market your blog, vlog or podcast.

As a digital journalist, illustrator and web series host, I know a thing or two about combining creativity with an entrepreneurial spirit, and how key digital tools are to showing your work.

U of T Learn More Illustration by Alison Garwood-Jones

Illustration by Alison Garwood-Jones

Let me share a couple of success stories so you can see how some of my former students have leveraged the course learnings to start new projects, or to land some really cool gigs in digital, marketing and PR:

Andy: Andreanne was already an established beauty blogger at  A Certain Romance  when she signed up for my class last summer. Her goal was clear: she wanted to increase her visibility and get her first paid gig as a blogger/influencer. By week 2 of the course, she had crafted a focused SMART goal (take the course and I’ll explain what that means). By week 12, she had organically increased her subscribers by 54% and her pageviews by 140%.  Shortly after the course was over, Andy was offered an unpaid community management internship with a natural beauty company (which she declined). She also interviewed for a paid position as a community manager/content creator for a beauty distributor. She decided it wasn’t a right fit, so she kept looking. In the meantime, an offer to do her first sponsored post came in. This past spring, she hit the jackpot when she was picked to be the new Web and Social Media Editor at Canadian House and Home‘s French Edition, Maison & Demeure. This week, she got her business cards! Fun fact: for Andy’s first assignment, she was tasked with translating into French one of my feature articles from Canadian House & Home, then promoting it on social. The way I see it, we’re all in this together.

Photo of Andreanne Dion, beauty blogger

Photo: Andreanne by Nick Reynolds

Kamini: Kamini signed up for my class hoping to gain some new digital skills during her job search. She created a WordPress blog about her cat Hewitt. Do we really need another cat or cupcake blog. Yes, if it’s funny and well-produced. Last spring, when Kamini was preparing for a  job interview with Portable Intelligence, she was  used her blog as her portfolio, and reviewed all 12 class decks so she felt prepared. Things went well and she ended up showed her blog and some of her cat videos during her interview.  Last June Kamini said yes to Portable Intelligence and became their Digital Marketing Specialist. It was her very first job in Canada since moving to Toronto from India. Go Kamini! PS: She has since retired her blog URL. Hewitt has moved on.

hewitt the cat

Hewitt by Kamini

Julian: Julian was the first student I had who chose to use the course to set up a podcast. The idea of creating a series of  fun and plain-speaking interviews for young gays who were new to big city living had been percolating in his mind for some time. In the fall of 2016, Julian debuted The Sassy Gay. Since then, he has kept a regular posting schedule and the show has become a recognized source of support in the LGBT community. Posts include: The Epidemic of Gay Loneliness and Coming out to your mom. He has also branched out and created a web series called Process where he interviews artists. Julian told me he was inspired by the class to challenge himself in the audio and video storytelling spaces. I’m proud of this guy.

Since I started teaching, I have witnessed many similar success stories. One more pops to mind. A lot of people who come to my class are fleeing dying industries.  David was a copy editor at The Hamilton Spectator who felt confident enough with the new digital smarts he acquired in class to land a job as a Communications Associate at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing. Before the newspaper cut him loose, he abandoned print media in favour of a communications job with more growth potential and stability.

Join me this fall is you want to learn how to adapt to the new digital economy, or apply a strategic mindset to an idea you have for a written blog, web series or podcast. Here is the link. I’m teaching section 068.

I hope to see you soon,

Alison

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Freelance life

August 10, 2017

Freelance Achievement Sticker based on series by Jeremy Nguyen

When there’s no watercooler, just silence, you have to rely on discipline and humor to beat back the latest news on #genderwars, #Trump and our pooched #environment. Did I miss anything?

Another freelance achievement sticker to add to Jeremy Nguyen’s fun series for the The New Yorker. (Bushwick Daily) #DailyShouts

I’ve rolled these into my daily PhotoShop assignments. I’m making progress.  #GetBusy #LearnMore

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Freelance Achievement Stickers

August 9, 2017

Freelance Achievement Sticker by Alison Garwood-Jones, inspired by Jeremy Nguyen

 

My addition to Jeremy Nguyen’s brilliantly spot-on series of #FreelanceAchievementStickers for the The New Yorker.

(Bushwick Daily) #DailyShouts

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Jessie Tait, designer

August 2, 2017

Jessie Tait's classic Sienna pattern for dishes from the early 1960s

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When in doubt

July 29, 2017

I love this quote by Shadi Petosky from Grace Bonney’s book, In The Company of Women. I was determined to visualize it in PhotoShop, which I’m finally learning.

It’s easier to learn a new tool when you have something you actually want or need to make. Have you noticed that too?

I learned iMovie because I needed to teach it. And then I started a web series called Willful with my friend Yann Yap, a masterful film editor, and once again I was  forced to up my game.

I’m learning watercolour because I like chasing magic.

Learning is life’s best therapy because it allows you to expand, and then share everything you’ve gained.

Everybody wins.

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