Recent work done for the The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

Comps used for concept.

Some of the final vector artwork.

Toronto Maple Leafs Top 100 Poster Process


 Last year I was lucky enough to be contacted by the Toronto Maple Leafs to design and illustrate a poster commemorating the top 100 Maple Leafs of all time. The posters were sold at Canadian Tire stores throughout the GTA with proceeds going to Canadian Tire JumpStart.

As a hockey fan this was a pretty cool gig but not without its challenges. The main one was that I would have to illustrate a hundred of the top Maple Leafs of all time, as voted by the fans, and it had to be done in a month. On top of the that I had to figure out how I was going to showcase each player without emphasizing one over another.

This was one of those gigs were you say ‘sure I can do it’ but you’re wary of the deadline. I wanted to paint this so badly but the deadline and the scope of the project made it pretty evident I would have to do something outside of the box.

This meant I wasn’t going to be able to illustrate it completely in Corel Painter. I would have to utilize Adobe Photoshop and "gradients" would be the key. Now I just had to come up with the design.

After a number of concepts the final idea was so simple and it fit the criteria of "not emphasizing one player over another". Before I even sketched it I knew the Leafs would love it. Thankfully my confidence was rewarded.

At this point, time was getting tight. On top of that the final list of players had yet to be decided. At least I had the top twenty to start with and Dave Keon was number one. The first two rows were tough. I had a lot of work sitting the players on the bench because I would have to draw their legs. After that was completed, it was a lot easier to do the rest because I just needed their waist up and I could duplicate the uniforms.

Now here’s my confession. As I said earlier… I would have loved to have drawn the whole thing from scratch but there was no way.

My solution or what I would like to say “technique” was to assemble the best photo reference I could find, clean them up, smooth out any pixelation and draw in anything that was missing. I wanted the players at this stage to be in greyscale for a number of reasons. First, I was colouring them using gradients in Adobe Photoshop so having them in greyscale would allow me to colour them with the same colour palette. Uniformity was important to give the illusion of the players all being together for the team photo and with the 10 decades of reference, the photos were all of various resolutions and quality. Now the process of colouring became an assembly line.

Which was huge because I was able to employ my friend and fellow illustrator Trevor Johnston to help apply colour.

The final stage was then placing the players together onto the background (which I painted separately). I used Corel Painter for all the drawing and painting and it came in very handy applying the finishing touches. A lot of work went in to creating the soft edges that blended the players together and into their surroundings.

Greyscale Drawing

Applied Gradient


 Concept 1

Concept 1

 Approved Concept

Approved Concept

 Seating Chart

Seating Chart

 Johnny Bower Test

Johnny Bower Test

 Dave Keon Test

Dave Keon Test

Daniel Afredsson WIP (Work In Progress)

I started this one about a year ago as practise then I kinda liked it... tried to finish it...then I hated it... and then put it away. Now I thought if I find sometime I'll try to finally finish it over the Christmas Holidays. I still need to finish the little Alfie and I'd like to add snow coming off his skate blade. I'd be interested in some feedback. 

Daniel Alfredsson

Another page from "Go Ahead and Dream"

Here's 1/2 of a double page spread that I finished drawing tonight. It features my beautiful wife and my stepdaughter.
All the reference photos were shot separately which didn't make things easy for me. So I had alot of work trying to figure out scale. Does it work?
I forgot to mention last time, that the pencils are drawn digitally using a tweaked 2B Pencil brush in Corel Painter 12.

© Greg Banning 2011

Back at it... "Go Ahead and Dream"

So after basically a year on hold. I will be wrapping up the final art for Karen Kingsbury and Alex Smith's picture book "Go Ahead and Dream". I should have all the art to HarperCollins by September.
Before I start painting. Here's a sneak peak at one of the pencil drawings from the book.

© Greg Banning 2011

Brawny Man featured on Live with Regis and Kelly

Kelly compared The Bachelor and Ted McGinley to The Brawny Man today. I was quite surprised to see the resemblance between Ted and Brawny.
It's kind of corny but I just had to write to them.

Here's what I wrote in my email:

I was thrilled to see that you compared Ted McGinley to the Brawny Man on your show today .
I'm the illustrator that re-imagined the new Brawny Man. So, I do agree Ted McGinley does look like the Brawny Man (I don't watch The Bachelor so I can't comment on that guy).
I wish I could also say it was a self portrait.
However The Brawny Man was based on a number of men. Including George Clooney, but it was based mainly on a model that I used for the pose.
The final result is mainly a characterization that allows The Brawny Man to be unique. 

OLG Illustration

I finished this piece last week for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. It was a great experience and a lot of fun to do.
A big thanks to the creative at Draft FCB Toronto.

OLG has a graphic on the card. To protect their copyright I substituted it with my logo.

© Greg Banning 2011

Sophia Loren painting...continued

I finally had time to get back to this painting. After looking at it the pencil for a while I decided to try another approach and not to do an exact copy.
The whole point of this was for practice.

This was the original pencil...

And this is the painting started with the base colour applied.
(Now that I look at it I'm not sure if I should have just stayed with my original plan?)

© Greg Banning 2010