Alison Garwood Jones

Covid-19 Poster

July 17, 2020

Guess what? I added your suggestions and created “Business Is Up – Part Deux” THE POSTER (11”x17”) ✏️ 

In mid-March, still stunned that gyms and restaurants had suddenly evaporated, ☁️ I started pulling together a list of businesses that were growing during the Coronavirus Pandemic. 📈

I posted the first edition on Instagram last week, and asked you to weigh in with more ideas in the comments. 💬 

Turning the list into a poster felt like a good way to capture this weird moment in 21st-century history. Think of this as a silver linings list of businesses who are thriving right now.🌻

Here is the page in my shop.

Again, I didn’t include toilet paper or hand sanitizer; those were too obvious. 🚽 🧻 

I’m sure this is not the final word. 

Happy Friday! 🏖 


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Hotel Art

July 17, 2020

In 2018, the designers at Mason Studio commissioned me to paint a series of tiny watercolour portraits for the Kimpton Hotel in Toronto.

The Kimpton St. George, Toronto

It was a cross section of local talent, from Drake and Deepa Mehta to Frank Gehry and Robbie Robertson. 

Canadian Icons Poster by Alison Garwood-Jones

The small format makes you lean in and listen hard to their secrets about life. 

Canadian Icon Portraits by Alison Garwood-Jones in the Kimpton St. George Hotel in Toronto.
Watercolour portrait of Robbie Robertson by Alison Garwood-Jones



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Custom portraits

July 17, 2020

If you haven’t heard of Dawn Bazley, you’ve seen her on TV (@CBC) talking about the proper way to use masks during #Covid19.

Portrait of biologist Dr. Dawn Bazley by Alison Garwood-Jones

@DrBazley is field biologist, #STEMStar, and mentor to hundreds of #STEMgirls and guys who gather around her like ducklings at York University in Toronto.

In addition to being a full professor, she is the former Director of York’s Institute for Research Innovation and Sustainability. 

REWIND: I met Dawn at @PodCampToronto a couple of years ago and quickly realized that her knowledge of tech was as wide and deep as the grasslands she studies. 

In June, Dawn asked me to draw a portrait she could use for her social media channels and user ID in podcasts and webinars. 

I sent the image this morning and by this afternoon it appeared in a virtual interview she did with @JoVEJournal, who wanted to hear more about how she has pivoted during the pandemic from IRL instruction to virtual field courses.

Dawn is not outfitted with brakes.

Like Jane Jacobs, she is what I call a true #KickAss Woman. 


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House Portraits

July 17, 2020

PROCESS PORN: I think the architecture of a house determines my drawing style.

Houses in Toronto's Annex drawn by Alison Garwood-Jones
Annex houses drawn by Alison Garwood-Jones

I suspect there are a few other mysterious factors that go into it. I haven’t settled on a cookie cutter style. When I do, I’ll stop and draw something else. 

My latest commission, an ivy-covered Georgian in Toronto, was a birthday present for a client’s husband. They now live in Victoria, B.C. but wanted a keepsake of the Toronto residence that was the first home for their daughter, Olive, and the last home for their Redbone Coonhound, Rooney. Here’s a peek into my process, from photograph to sketch to final.

Showing my process from sketch to final. These houses are in Rosedale and High Park, Toronto.
Houses on hills require standing on the top of my partner’s truck to take a pic.

PS: I hope to get back to printing my house portraits on pillows and totes. If you are a local printer who is eco and ethical, let’s talk!

Custom house drawings by Alison Garwood-Jones
I am looking for a new printing partner (local to Toronto, eco and ethical) so I can go back to creating custom pillows, totes and tees.

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Food trucks could help us in a pandemic

July 3, 2020

Quarantine pods of people sitting in a park, being fed by food trucks.
Cities should make it easier for food trucks to serve the public in parks during a pandemic

And just like that restaurants evaporated. 

But the need to gather, gossip and drink never left us.

We are water. Obstruct our flow and we’ll find other outlets.

During Covid, the park next to my house has been relatively active during the day, but at night it comes alive: dozens upon dozens of quarantine pods bobbing on checkered rafts across the grass, all sharing food, drinks, gripes, and observations. 

My partner has taken to calling it, “Pub in the Park.” Like a floor manager, he did a headcount and the covers exceeded 100.

This week, as cities across North America test the reopening of restaurants (based more on hope than science), over half the public say they plan to stay away until a vaccine is found. 

Restaurants can’t survive on 50% capacity, not even 80%. 

That sent my brain into “What If” mode: 

Applying the old marketing axiom, “Fish where the fish are,” WHAT IF municipal governments made it easier and more affordable to operate food trucks so restaurants could take their concepts to park gatherings? Pre-pandemic, miles of red tape and exorbitant permit fees made food trucking a losing proposition for almost all small to medium-sized restaurants. WHAT IF city councils waived the permit fees for restaurants trying to generate rent for their brick and mortar locations? After all, build it and they will come — or, open it and they will come — is a pipe dream right now. 

I’m told, food trucks are expensive and take a long time to manufacture. Installation is quite complicated. If we could step up the production of tanks during WWII, why not food trucks during an equally serious and transformative moment like this? New circumstances call for fresh thinking. Humans need to eat, but we also need to socialize safely. Body, mind and soul must be fed during a deadly crisis. 

On a parallel note, I have a few friends, who skew more towards the hippy end of the spectrum, who are selling/ subletting their city apartments and living in RV’s for the foreseeable future. It all ties back to this theme of taking to the road, living safely at a distance, and rejecting the pressure of rent and mortgages. 

I invite the experts to pick apart this idea.

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The Ink Spot: Drawing Faces

June 10, 2020

In today’s 60-second art lesson, I show you my way of drawing faces. 🎨

Loose is better and fun is key.

Making art should feel like going down a hill on your bike.

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Monday sketches

May 11, 2020

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Showing emotion

May 6, 2020

Do we telegraph our emotions through our eyes 👀? Or is it a combination of our eyes AND our mouth? 👄

It’s a good question!

My friend Jean Chow (@Entrepreneurgal) teaches a course on effective networking at the University of Toronto (@UofTSCS- 3587). 

Jean says good networking is about confronting your fears, and understanding other people’s fears. “Small talk is big,” she says, “when you ask the right questions.”

Jean uses my first set of faces during class discussions on facial recognition. “Most people in social situations wear masks,” she says, unlike the character in my drawings who holds nothing back! 

Are the eyes the best way to read someone's emotions? Illustration by Alison Garwood-Jones.

At Jean’s request, I’ve updated the illustrations and added pandemic masks to the faces.

Are the eyes the best way to read someone's emotions? Illustration by Alison Garwood-Jones.

I still think it’s almost all in the eyes. What do you all think?🧐😫

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The Ink Spot: learn perspective

May 5, 2020

In today’s 60-second art lesson, I’ll show you my very un-mathematical trick for capturing perspective. No rulers were involved! 🎨

If you would like to practice the steps I teach, swipe left and use my Neighbourhood Trampoline drawing as a tracing tool.

Or, go crazy and colour the houses! Featured here: the marker magic of Megan Garson. Thanks for enjoying the challenge, Megan!

Colouring page by Alison Garwood-Jones, coloured by Megan G.

You can get the download by visiting my art studio and signing up for my newsletter at

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Coloring during Covid-19

April 29, 2020

It’s been very funny looking out my fourth-storey window and seeing little heads jumping up between the rooftops. 🧒🏻 🧒🏻 👦 🧒🏻 👦

Gif of Kids Jumping on a Trampoline by Alison Garwood-Jones
Illustration by Alison Garwood-Jones-Jones

I checked Google Trends and, just as I suspected, search for “Trampolines” during the Covid quarantine is WAY UP! 📈

No alt text provided for this image

Have you caved in and purchased a backyard trampoline for your little jumping beans⁉️

GIVEAWAY: ✏️Would you like a coloring project? ✏️ Sign up for my design studio newsletter at and download my Trampoline image (uncolored) for free. ♥️

Illustration by Alison Garwood-Jones at

I recommend coloring the picture using pencil crayons or markers. 

🖼 Show me your masterpiece by tagging me on Instagram: @AlisonGJ and adding  #TrampolineDrawing

You are free to unsubscribe whenever you wish. 

Happy coloring! 🎨 

Alison xo

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