Alison Garwood Jones

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


Comment on this post »


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).

Comment on this post »


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?

Comment on this post »


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!

Comment on this post »


Butterflies and #ASMR

June 21, 2021

Sunday mornings.

Sometimes I flip through my sketchbook looking for drawings to colour.

Look, I found this butterfly!

Caran d’Ache soft watercolour pencils felt like the best way to add a hit of colour to her wings.

The colour melts into paint when you add water.

The rest of my day went well after this.


Comment on this post »


Fur Bébés

June 16, 2021

Dog illustrations by Alison Garwood-Jones

There’s someone for everyone.

Comment on this post »


Reality Bites

May 29, 2021

Winona Ryder and her Big Gulp in Reality Bites

Lainey and her Big Gulp.

#RealityBites, #TheNineties, #WinonaForever

Comment on this post »


I don’t want to be good

May 19, 2021

I don’t want to be good (yawn), I want to do good (BOOM!) That means working with doers.

One of my latest partnerships is with Lakeshore Arts, a not-for-profit arts organization just down the street from me in Etobicoke.

From Monday to Friday, the LSA team is working hard producing an array of arts programming designed to knit together this vibrant community in healthy, inclusive, and sustainable ways.

Take a look at their Instagram feed, @LakeShoreArts, and you’ll see what I mean.

I designed these 3 “Care Cards” for their Spring Fundraiser. By buying a single card ($9) or the set of 3 ($25), your purchase will help LSA continue to offer FREE arts programming.

Lakeshore Arts Spring 2021 Fundraiser

Consider donating an extra $5, $10 or $50 to your card purchase.

To help the cause, I just bought back some of my own card designs. I’ve been on a card and letter writing tear during Covid (so Jane Austen). I needed a lift and I figured so did my friends, so out came the fountain pen.

To purchase your cards/ donate, copy and paste this link:

Lakeshore Arts Spring 2021 Fundraiser

Thank you for doing good.

You’re awesome.

Alison xo 

Comment on this post »


Jane’s Walk Toronto

April 11, 2021

Jane's Walk Toronto 2021

Jane’s Walk is a grassroots movement focused on city building. It’s named after the urban activist and badass Torontonian Jane Jacobs.

Every Spring, to honour Jane’s birthday and her spirit of inquiry, cities around the world host volunteer-led walking tours that make spaces for people to observe, reflect, share, question, and re-imagine the places in which they live, work and play.*

Each event gives agency to and champions the voices of everyday people.

Jane’s Walk Toronto (Jane’s Walk Toronto) is happening virtually this year from May 7-9.

You can now sign up to lead a virtual walk.

The 3 virtual walk formats are:

• Live-Streamed Walks

• 3D Walks

• Self-Guided Walks

The Toronto organizers, Erika and Juan, have made the process super easy:

Go to and fill out a Walk Leader form, and they will promptly get back to you.

Walk submission deadline: April 30th, 2021.

*In between walks, if you’re in the mood to colour a picture of a Toronto neighbourhood, go to the resources page of and download my colouring page, complete with little kids jumping on backyard trampolines. I had to think fast and come up with a logo for my artsy adventures. I’m proud to be part of an event that gets our minds and bodies moving.

Alison Garwood-Jones and Jane's Walk Toronto 2021
Alison Garwood-Jones and Jane's Walk Toronto 2021

Comment on this post »


Coco and Diana

March 31, 2021

Illustration by Alison Garwood-Jones

Reading is my greatest joy.

This exchange appeared in Amanda Mackenzie Stuart’s biography on Diana Vreeland called Empress of Fashion.

Diana described the conversation in greater detail:
“Coco [Chanel] was a nut on armholes. She never, ever got an armhole quite, quite perfect, the way she wanted it. She was always snipping and taking out sleeves, driving the tailors absolutely crazy. She’d put pins in me so I’d be contorted, and she’d be talking and giving me all sorts of philosophical observations, such as ‘Live life with rigor and vigor’ or ‘Grow old like a man.’ And I’d say, ‘I think most men grow old like women, myself,’ and she’d say, ‘No, you’re wrong, they’ got logic, they’ve got a reality to them.’ — with my arm up in the air the whole time! Then, if she really wanted to talk, she’d [pin me] under both arms so I simply couldn’t move, much less get a word in.”

Use the Libby app for signing out books, everyone! It’s WONDA-FULLL as Diana (Dee-Ahna) would say.

Bisous! 💋


Comment on this post »

error: Content is protected !!