03 Oct


In Daily grind,Illustration by Leslie Dean Brown / October 3, 2016 / 0 Comments

This is not the final version. But it does show some of the effort I put into creating each of the twelve layers in this illustration. I have signed it “van den hooven”, because, frankly, it sounds better than “leslie dean brown”.

Seriously though, ever since I had this idea of the big M coming alive, I have not looked at the big golden arches the same way again.

So this artwork is merely an observation from travelling all around the world and having lived overseas. I have seen with my own eyes that some restaurants (such as McDonalds and KFC not to single anyone out), they do tend to take over the older towns a lot. And they are not always welcomed either.

The underlying message of this artwork is not that they particularly ‘destroy’ regions. It’s just that… they do kind of invade areas don’t they? It’s kind of like this all-pervasive business. You have to try fairly hard to go somewhere without seeing a McDonalds restaurant. The damage that you see caused here in the background is more… the fault of the West. So in that sense, the letter M represents Western intervention.

Now before I get sued, I should also probably mention that I ate in the McDonalds’ Engadine restaurant many, many times these past few months. Just to get more of a feel of the place. So, no I don’t hate McDonalds or anything. In fact I quite enjoy their food (sometimes). I do think they should add two new items to their menus though:

  1. a new McSoy burger
  2. a new McMushroom burger

Because like many people today, I am slowly becoming a vegetarian — and the salad option that they offer is horrible. And I can another scene where the big M has great big circular saw blades and it’s chasing after chickens and/or cows.

27 Sep

Using layers in CorelDraw

In Daily grind,Illustration by Leslie Dean Brown / September 27, 2016 / 0 Comments

So I have decided to share a few of my personal projects. They are works in progress. This particular one is called “MÄKÄTÄÄKKÄ” is a continuation of the McDonalds series.

I got the inspiration for the name from the Finnish language, which generally has lots of double consonants and double vowels with umlauts.

When I was living in the Canary Islands, I was always very tempted to travel to Morocco because it is only a few hundred kilometres away. But I never really got the chance to go because I was either too busy working or never had enough money saved up in the off season. The scenery is inspired by four Morroccan cities: Fez, Rabat, Marakesh and Casablanca. So I have always really wanted to go because it is quite an exotic destination. Hopefully one day I will be able to make the journey from Australia!

The idea behind the drawing is that corporate giants like McDonalds seem to invade foreign regions. The irony (for me) is that although I don’t like huge multinational companies, I have actually eaten at McDonalds about once a week for several months now. Because it makes me get in the mood. So although I encourage young people to always buy local food from privately owned businesses², no, I certainly don’t hate McDonalds.

Every time I look at the McDonalds M now, I imagine it turning into a big giant robot and the legs moving and flexing around organically like an octopus. So in this illustration, I imagine it that it has just frees itself off its perch and goes and destroys all the surroundings. And what would it use to destroy everything? Why, chips shaped like bullets or missiles of course!. And they would have to come from the base of its legs…

I noticed that there are usually loads of antannae on top of buildings in this region, so I decided to put in a load of different antannae and satellite dishes, all pointing at the big M in order to defend themselves against this “mig mac attack”. McDonalds in Australia used to use the phrase “Big Mac Attack” to advertise their Big Mac Meals. So then some Australians used to say they got a “mac attack” to refer to their time when you get a craving for eating McDonalds food.

But we all know that McDonalds’ teams of lawyers are very powerful, so that was just another reason I decided to make up my own word for it, mäkätääkkä — so as not to infringe upon any of their trademark laws.

This is the first time I have made a conscious effort to use layers when illustrating. Some of my drawings are now getting quite detailed and it is becoming difficult to select individual elements within the drawing.

Usually I work in one layer with CorelDraw. From what I’ve heard, most CorelDraw users only work in one layer. I think the main reason for that is that the selction tools are so good, Corel users don’t have to work in multiple layers. I’ve been asked why I prefer CorelDraw over illustrator and I’ll probably make a few videos explaining that choice.

During my graphic design diploma, they encouraged the students to put one element on it’s own layer using Adobe Illustrator. They also encouraged us to name all of the parts of the drawing. This is so that other people in your team can work on your illustration more easily. But that generally means dozens and dozens of layers for even relatively simple drawings. And sorry, but I don’t have the time or patience to name a hundred things within my drawings.

So I’ve come to a bit of a compromise here. The idea is that I have only about half a dozen layers corresponding to different ‘depths’ of the drawing. I then put those elements into their respective layers. The advantage of doing this is that I can hide an entire layer with only one mouse click. So I have a a layer for the word mäkätääkkä, a layer for the “chip missiles”, a layer for the buildings, a layer for the antannae, a layer for the background, a layer for the trees. I’ll probably have to separate the layer of buildings into two separate layers, the buildings in front of the big M and the buldings behind the plane of the M. That way I can put the M on it’s own layer too.

Yes I think it is worth naming the layers, otherwise you lose time by trying to figure out which layer is which.

So it’s a little bit like working on 6 different documents at once, except that they all overlay one another. I could just as easily work in a completely new document. And sometimes I actually prefer to do that. For example, with the staellite dishes + antennae, I drew all of them completely separately to the main drawing in a fresh new blank document, and then placed them in their own layer at a later stage. But the main advantage of using layers as opposed to separate documents is because the all line up like transparencies over the top of one another.

² If everyone did that, I believe there wouldn’t be such a vast gap in wealth and income distribution.

24 Sep

What carcass magazine

In Daily grind,Illustration by Leslie Dean Brown / September 24, 2016 / 0 Comments

One for the Red Dwarf fans!

20 Sep

The dangers of poppyseed tea.

In Daily grind,Illustration by Leslie Dean Brown / September 20, 2016 / 0 Comments

In the absence of real, paying commissions, I have decided to just… draw whatever the hell I want. One of the most moving articles I have ever written can be read here. It’s about addiction. So I’ve decided to draw it.

I love poppyseeds, especially on cheese on toast. Judging by that young man’s exceptional writing ability, I found this story to be a great tradegy for those parents. Their whole website is about informing other parents of the dangers of poppyseed tea. Poppyseed tea can kill!

Their website is almost completely text-based. I tend to notice this because I am a visual person. So I wanted to draw an illustration for them that was so cool that people would be a little bit more pursuaded by what the website has to say. I also want to send a message to a generation of youngsters — that you don’t need to take drugs to be creative.

Read more →

15 Sep

Book cover illustration redesign

In Daily grind,Illustration by Leslie Dean Brown / September 15, 2016 / 0 Comments

Here’s my latest illustration. This is a theoretical book cover redesign experiment.

On the left is the current book cover, ranked #1,004,963 in Amazon America and #1,607,617 on Amazon UK.

On the right is what I came up with (just for fun). This was quite a complicated illustration. All the fish were hand drawn and there are many, many layers.

Do you think the illustration is more attention grabbing?

Do you think the illustration helps to tell the story?

Do you think the illustrated version would see increased sales?

Do you think the authot could charge more for the illustrated version?

Which version would you buy?

#feedback #opinion?

30 Aug

Cross section

In Daily grind,Illustration by Leslie Dean Brown / August 30, 2016 / 0 Comments

Here are a couple of recent illustrations. One is a creative cross section, the other is a realistic or scientific cross section.

I chose a nautilus because they are a bit like submarines (they can control their depth) and you often see cross sections of submarines. I am proud of the command centre & control room that features a brain in a jar.

For the McDonalds meal, I just had to complete something, so I thought it would be fun to cut something that is not normally cut.

21 Aug

New drawings for #ilustaller

In Daily grind,Illustration by Leslie Dean Brown / August 21, 2016 / 0 Comments
10 Aug

Learning to draw in three steps #Ilustaller

In Daily grind,Illustration by Leslie Dean Brown / August 10, 2016 / 0 Comments
07 Jun

Recent commission for the biodiversity alliance.

In Illustration by Leslie Dean Brown / June 7, 2016 / 0 Comments

Here is a recent series of illustrations commissioned by the biodiversity alliance. The four illustrated dragons depicted here represent “overpopulation”, “non-sustainability”, “global warming” & “the fragmented nature of conservation movement”.