Alison Garwood Jones

Advice from an astronaut

March 23, 2020

It helps to understand your place in the world right now. 🌎

Thank you, astronaut Chris Hadfield, for giving us some perspective. 🚀

Source: YouTube – “An Astronaut’s Guide to Self-Isolation”

Comic by Alison Garwood-Jones inspired by Chris Hadfield

Comic by Alison Garwood-Jones inspired by Chris Hadfield


Comic by Alison Garwood-Jones inspired by Chris Hadfield
Comic by Alison Garwood-Jones inspired by Chris Hadfield
Comic by Alison Garwood-Jones inspired by Chris Hadfield

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I’m looking for a new printing partner

March 14, 2020

Graphic Illustrator Alison Garwood-Jones

Graphic Recorder Alison Garwood-Jones

Graphic Recorder Alison Garwood-Jones

Graphic Recorder Alison Garwood-Jones

Graphic Recorder Alison Garwood-Jones

Some of you are asking how I’m faring in my search for a new business partner to print and ship my pillows, totes, scarves, and tees at Pen Jar Productions. 👚 👕

First, THANK YOU! 😘

The answer is: I’m doing my due diligence, researching my options online, talking to friends, drinking tea ☕️, and building a chart in Excel. 💻

I put said chart in the cloud ☁️ so I can share it with other creatives who are also looking for the same thing. We are building it together!

In a perfect world this printing partner would:

Be in Canada 🇨🇦

• Use fabrics Made In Canada ✂ (ethical/sustainable)

• Utilize POD and DTG technology 🖨

• Integrate with Shopify 🛒

• Take shipping off my hands 📬

• Be committed to sustainability 🌎

• Have no minimum spend (my loft is cute, but it’s not big enough to take on inventory)

If anyone has any ideas, I’m all ears. 👂

My chart includes the pros and cons on:

Art of Where





Supply & Demand

Pigeons & Thread



Raincoast Digital



(and several more …)

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Beauty Geeks features my “Spring Branches” pillow for Valentine’s Day

February 10, 2020

Beauty Geeks Valentine's Gift Guide

Beauty Geeks Valentine's Gift Guide featuring Spring Branches PillowThe magazine editor in me still appreciates round-ups of pretty things.🎀

Just like in the movies, the packages arrive at your office. 🛍 📦

You unbox them with glee and line up the object on your desk looking for patterns in ingredients, colours and textures. 💄🌺

Then you pull them together to tell a story. It’s all very Diana Vreeland! 👩🏻

To quote the great Diana: “My dream in life is to come home and think of absolutely nothing. After all, you can’t think all the time.”

The soft textures and scents in this Galantine’s and Valentine’s Day round-up by Liza Herz for Beautygeeks is like 10 minutes with the Calm app, but not 10 minutes with Diana. 💗

Liza’s keen eye saw what I never imagined: she paired my “Spring Branches” pillow with soft cashmere throws, Viva Scandinavian mugs filled with white tea, Gucci perfumes, and amber potpourri nuggets.🍵

All of these things will help you think of nothing but your breath.

Thank you for the story mention, Liza, and Janine Falcon! 💋

My “Spring Branches” Throw Pillow is available at @PenJarProductions until February 28th

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Sketching at the mall

February 2, 2020

Nordstrom Canada Winter Boots by Alison Garwood-Jones

There’s a hightop table facing the shoe department at Nordstrom Canada’s Toronto location. 👢

It’s for people to stop, sit, play with their phones, or wait while they get a clothing item repaired at a nearby sewing station. 🧥

It’s also great if you’re an urban sketcher. 🎨

There’s always something to see and sketch.

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Saturday at the AGO

January 18, 2020

The Marchesa Casati, AGO - Illustration by Alison Garwood-JonesI asked the Marchesa to tell me about her life, while Calder bent in to listen.

#snowday❄️ at the @agotoronto


Saturday sketching at the AGO – Illustrations by Alison Garwood-Jones

The Marchesa Casati, AGO - Illustration by Alison Garwood-Jones

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Dear Facebook

January 14, 2020

Dear Facebook, comic by Alison Garwood-Jones

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How I learned to create a Gif

January 11, 2020

“If you deal in quality, not awards, what you do will always feel real.”

This is what happens when people’s determination to produce gets greedy and misplaced.

Switching gears. Understanding how to tell your stories in multiple formats is a power thing.

Hats off to Melissa Lee (@MelissaLeeDesign).

Through her @Skillshare class, “Create a Hand-Drawn .Gif in PhotoShop,” I cobbled together my very first tiny animation.

Like a Disney animator, I used the onion skin technique.

Rainy days and Mondays are for chasing inspiration.

Thank you, Skillshare for being such a great resource!

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The Queen’s Speech

December 26, 2019

The Queen's Speech 2019: Illustration by Alison Garwood-Jones

The Sound of Music and Love Actually, yes, but the Queen’s Speech is not normally part of my appointment television habits at Christmas.

This year, I watched it twice.

The pacing and coordination with the b-roll cutaways felt especially poignant.

And I’m not talking about the drone shots of ancient castles and verdant hills, or the pans across the string section of the Royal Philharmonic —the usual Royal blah blah blah.

This year, I watched it twice because HRH transcended her non-partisan function and made the personal political.

Lillibet’s heart and throat were caught up in this year’s message of global co-operation.

There was the way the camera held on the angelic face of a black boy in the choir, followed by the family portrait of Elizabeth, Philip and Doria, Meghan and Harry enthralled by the presence of Archie, the newest member of their family.

We can do it and so can you, Elizabeth was telling the world.

It is also tradition for the Queen’s Speech to combine the sweep of history with a laser-beam focus on the human values that matter most, in any age.

This year, vague platitudes were replaced with clips from the most recent NATO summit showing clear examples of past political divides broached: France (Macron) hugging Germany (Merkel) at the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and a long pause on Canada (Trudeau), so key to the Allied victory in WWII and the decades of peace keeping that followed.

As the Queen spoke, the line-up of family photos next to her wasn’t just a display of succession for the monarchists in the front row.

It was a daughter finding support in the memory of a father whose errant lock of hair she cleared from his eyes in newsreels from the early 1930s.

She must have stroked his face again when he unexpectedly ascended to the throne as the world went to war.

As binge watchers of The Crown know, George VI became king not just so his brother could marry the divorcee he loved, but so that Great Britain and the Allies could be spared the King’s fascist networking.

Edward needed to be sidelined.

As a young Queen, Elizabeth pored over every last document proving her uncle’s ugly, divisive views.

Like her father, Elizabeth is determined to play a role in bending the arc of history back towards justice and cooperation.

Her generation, she said, had D-Day.

Today we have the armies of young people working in racial justice and environmental activism, two issues a resurgent fascism is twisting.

The Queen made clear she approves of the work the young activists are doing.

More than anything, this year’s speech was delivered by a great grandmother.

It had all the markings of “the great grandmother effect”: it was an example of extended kin networking designed to strengthen the entire world.

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In the Spotlight: KBarlow Design

December 13, 2019 works with KBarlow Design

As a #bossbabe, I can’t do everything on my own.

I’m already the executive editor and artist in chief for all of my websites, but I still have a beginner’s grasp of code.

Yes, coding is on my list of things to keep learning, but in the interest of time and my sanity I choose to delegate certain tasks. Niggly coding issues is one of them.

My go-to gal for website fixes for my store, Pen Jar Productions and and my longtime eponymous website, is Kathryn Barlow

She’s an arty tech nerd. I like that.

Here’s an example of our working dynamic: Neither of us were digging the dark grey bar across my colourful pillows on my Shopify landing page. The bar was front and centre as soon as the page loaded.

Kathryn asked if I chose that or if someone else had set the site up like that? I explained that it came with the template. And I no idea how to change it.

Kathryn did a quick mockup to show me some better options, and I picked the beautiful aqua tone featured up top.

As Kathryn says, “Website makeovers don’t have to be huge, overwhelming ordeals. They can be tiny tweaks that update your website to better reflect where your business is at now.”

Check out Kathryn’s Instagram profile and website and consider teaming up with her in 2020 to keep your websites in top working order. ~ Alison

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The truth about the world

December 10, 2019

RuPaul sketch by Alison Garwood-Jones

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