Alison Garwood Jones

Live with art

September 20, 2021

French Interior illustration by Alison Garwood-Jones

Come and sit down. Let’s catch up.

Inspo: A country house in France from the October issue of Victoria Magazine.

Tool: Drawn with Procreate (Chalk brush).

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The pooch

September 12, 2021

My ode to Jules Feiffer’s mix of energy and malaise. It’s the story of one child-free gal’s pooch.

Comic by Alison Garwood-Jones

Comic by Alison Garwood-Jones
Comic by Alison Garwood-Jones
Comic by Alison Garwood-Jones
Comic by Alison Garwood-Jones
Comic by Alison Garwood-Jones
Comic by Alison Garwood-Jones
Comic by Alison Garwood-Jones

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Control of the Ball

September 4, 2021

1. The battle for control of the ball will never end.
Republican Control - Illustration by Alison Garwood-Jones
2. “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When Government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.” ~ Ruth Bader Ginsberg

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Today’s Old Master Copy

August 30, 2021

Look how the dog’s ear drapes over his leg like a neck tie!
Today’s old master copy is after P.D. Eastman’s classic 1960 storybook cover, Are you My Mother?
P.D. (Phil to his friends) was an American illustrator and screenwriter who trained with Walt Disney Productions and worked with the Signal Corps film unit during WWII, headed by Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss).
Phil went on to write and draw the storyboards for the Mr. Magoo series and to direct educational films on flight safety for the United States Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics.
In his down time, he co-wrote and illustrated the Academy Award-winning animated short, Gerald McBoing-Boing.
Here is Phil in his Walter Cronkite glasses.

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Paris in Muskoka

August 27, 2021

Illustration of Parisian Café by Alison Garwood-Jones

Last week, we had the most delicious croissants, crêpes, and coffee from the food truck, Frenchie’s Bakery and Crêperie. You can find their truck parked on the sparkling shoreline of Huntsville inner harbour. 

You don’t go to Muskoka to leave it, but while the food was on our plates we WERE IN PARIS!

We dedicate this drawing of the Café Bar du Brésil to the owners of Frenchie’s and their petit bébé. 

The care and dedication of small business owners everywhere makes the human race glow from the inside out.

Drawn in Procreate with the Chalk Brush (under Calligraphy category).

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A Stroll Through Allen Gardens

August 25, 2021

Illustration of a couple walking through Allen Gardens, Toronto by Alison Garwood-Jones

Anita DM’d me on Instagram to ask if I could capture Toronto’s Allen Gardens, the place where she and her boyfriend, Scott, first got to know each other. Here’s to love! 

I had the freedom to interpret the scene as I saw fit. This is my favourite kind of working relationship. 

Tools: I drew this in the Procreate app. I used the Peppermint Brush in black (under the Sketching category) to draw the scene. After going through the entire roster of digital brushes, I thought this brush came closest to the boldness and assurance of a black pencil crayon or a Chinese/Butcher’s pencil. Next, I used the Wet Sponge brush (under the Water category) to paint the scene. The effect of this brush is a cross between a watercolour wash and the bloom of a Copic marker. Phone pics of some planters in Huntsville, Ontario served as the inspiration for the colour scheme of the flowers: red, magenta, orange and yellow. When the snow flies in a few months, this scene will remind me of the explosive beauty of Toronto’s summers.

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Reaction to The 2020 US Census

August 15, 2021

Cartoon of an angry man reacting to the demographic changes outlined in the 2020 American Census

Evolving demographics and more nuanced approach to data collection on the US Census form has revealed, for the first time, a drop in the non-Hispanic white population. 

For many Americans of Northern European descent, this racial diversity is challenging their sense of the social order and their understanding of America. 

Some responses (above) have been pretty raw and unfocused. Others are more organized. They are pushing back on demographic changes by intentionally setting up barriers to voting, including redrawing the electoral map (called racial gerrymandering). 

To understanding the findings in the 2020 US Census, go to the source at the United States Census Bureau. You can also read this New York Times piece, or this article in The Wall Street Journal


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Tea at The Carlyle

July 31, 2021

Tea at the Carlyle - Illustration by Alison Garwood-Jones

The 1955 murals by costume designer Marcel Vertès at the Café Carlyle in New York wrap the room like a diaphanous silk scarf. 

To me, they are a mashup of Chagall, Schiaparelli and Moulin Rouge (1952, not 2001). I saw them come to life last night in the documentary, Always At The Carlyle.

Today’s drawing challenge: take Vertès’s meandering mid-century fashion illustrator lines and pastel splashes of paint and apply them to another subject. 

I’m calling this one “Tea with Marcel.” Imagine Bobby Short at the piano in the background.

Tools: Procreate (brushes: 6B Pencil and Wet Sponge).

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Goodbye, Instagram. Hello again, WordPress

July 30, 2021

What? You didn’t hear the news?

Instagram’s 3-column scrolling gallery loved by illustrators, photographers and influencers alike is going away. 

Instagram photo sharing is going away

The very thing that makes Instagram unique — its square photo sharing feature (and filters) — is about to be wiped out and replaced by all video all the time.

But why? you ask.



Shock, illustration by Alison Garwood-Jones



Here’s why: Instagram (owned by Facebook) is being trounced by the video sharing app, TikTok, so it’s creating a clone to compete. Whenever Facebook is not winning it buys or copies the competition. 


Verge Article on Instagram

You can read this article here.

If you’re still thinking, “But wait …  I like what differentiates Instagram from all the video-sharing apps, and so does everyone I know.”  

CEO Mark Zuckerberg knows how you feel, and he doesn’t care.

Pigeons & Elevator Buttons, a children's book by Alison Garwood-Jones

Here’s the thing: none of what you or I learned in school or in online webinars about audience-first business models applies to Facebook.

Alison Garwood-Jones at her desk

Listening to us and serving us has never been a priority. Mark’s measurable objective is total domination (a la Caesar Augustus). Customer feedback doesn’t stand a chance in that headspace.

Caesar AugustusCaesar Augustus, Artist Unknown. Vatican Museums, Rome

And here is where I admit to slipping up. Despite everything I know about Instagram’s rotten record as an online partner, I got lazy and I let it do my work for me.  

Instagram become my Louvre, the main line to my audience. 

Salvador Dali Illustration by Alison Garwood-Jones

And as I was merrily posting to the Gram, I got lazy and stopped archiving my illustrations on my website, a property I own and control. 

To my current and former students: yes, I know better, but I’m human like you.

Alison Garwood-Jones instructorIt’s worth repeating: we are all renters on social media platforms, from Facebook to YouTube to Instagram, and even on the straight-laced and seemingly reasonable LinkedIn. Meaning, once you post to any of these platforms, you lose control and copyright over your content — not to mention your ability to organically reach your entire audience.

So now I’m playing catchup. I’m trying to recreate the Instagram gallery format on my WordPress site.

I’m comparing and contrasting WordPress gallery plugins like Modula and Envira and weeping because they don’t even come close to the gorgeous layouts in Aeolidia (a Shopify design service) or Cargo (not WordPress compatible) or even SquareSpace, all the next best thing to the Instagram format.

Here’s what I mean:  

Instagram is going away

Instagram is going away


Instagram is going away

Instagram is going away


I know what I want and I can lay it out in PhotoShop, but uploading a jpeg showing a gallery images is no way to build your SEO. 

Instagram is going away

So, it’s back to the drawing board. 

How do all of you feel about Instagram going away? Are you as bummed as I am?

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How I Drew This

July 6, 2021

Process Porn:

I drew this landscape in the @Procreate app using the “Peppermint” pencil ✏️ (in the Brush Library under “Sketching”).

Paul Cézanne was my guide. His angled brushstrokes had a consistent rhythm. They look like the wind blew them all in the same direction.

I prefer Procreate’s pencil tools to it’s oil brushes (at least for now). The oil brushes look too slimy and feel uncontrollable. Also, I don’t like digital drawings to look digital.

The Peppermint pencil I used here looks like hard colouring with a Prismacolor pencil crayon or an oil pastel.

I’d say the layers in Procreate (and Photoshop) have taught me to think in terms of building up a canvas in steps — from dark to light.

I still prefer to draw with real paper, pencils and brushes, but I probably would not have taught myself how to build up a canvas this way using the old fashioned methods.

This is quicker and less expensive, and fun because you can play it back!

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