Nook Holiday Sale!
29 November 2011

Here's a sneak preview of two of the little hand-made spirits I'll be selling this Saturday, December 3, at part one of the Nook Holiday Sale! It's happening again on December 10, so if you're in Kensington Market here in Toronto, swing by Nook (156 Augusta Avenue), and check out the veritable treasure trove of hand-made holiday treats for sale.

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Mecanismos by Carl Wiens
18 November 2011

It's still a week and a day away, but the opening of the Mecanismos show by illustrator and all around great guy Carl Wiens promises to be amazing. Comprised of an impressive 100 unique screenprints, the idea for the collection began as a series of experimental digital collages based on Carl's collection of old textbooks and catalogs. Channeling his inner Dr. Frankenstein, he remixed 16 heads, 16 bodies, 45 background elements and 7 colours to create the charming robotic characters, "animating the inanimate" to use his own words. Domo arigato Mr. Mecanismo! The show opens on November 26 at Oeno Gallery in Prince Edward County. More info here.

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Trio Magnus at Beatbox Canada 2011
14 November 2011

I'm not sure how you spent the evening on Saturday, November 12, but along with my mates Steve Wilson and CTON, I spent it doing live drawing at the 2nd Annual Canadian Beatbox Championships. We were there representin' as our collective Trio Magnus and doing a 5 x 9 ft live drawing with red and black Snowman™ markers while the contestants onstage used only a microphone to churn out sounds and beats I didn't think humanly possible. Check out the final showdown here, and thanks to Gary for the opportunity!

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Draw like a kid
08 November 2011

This Thursday will be part two of my Subconscious Sketchbook class at Nook, and if last week's class was any indication, it's going to be fun. Donuts were eaten, sketchbooks were started and an important point arose: it's way more important to simply do something in a sketchbook than worry about what to do.

If you want a perfect example of this approach, watch a kid draw. All kids can draw because no one has told them they can't, and it's full steam ahead from the moment they grab the pencil until the drawing is done. Then it's on to the next one, without any worry or need for reference material. Of course, we can still all draw with such reckless abandon – we just have to give ourselves permission to. For inspiration, here is a drawing courtesy of Harper (five), the daughter of one of my class members. Look and learn!

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Happy Halloween 2011!
31 October 2011

It's the most wonderful time of the year...Halloween! Best wishes to you and yours for a truly terrifying day, and if you're not busy creating toilet paper artwork tonight, swing by the Nook studio here in Toronto (156 Augusta Avenue, Kensington Market) for the Occult Q&A. Boo!

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Occult Q&A
25 October 2011

What are you doing for Halloween night? Sitting on the porch giving away your hard-earned candy is noble, of course, but wouldn't you rather spend the evening discussing all things paranormal? If so, join me and illustrative wunderkind Drew Shannon at the Nook studio for an Occult Q&A! Bring your stories, your questions and your metaphysical musings as we delve into what occultism actually is and isn't, sharing some arcane lore along the way. For instance, did you know plants have auras? Or that there were real-life wizards? Or that the word "occult" simply means "secret" in Latin? Proof is boring. Let's celebrate Halloween by embracing extreme possibility!

The Occult Q&A is a free Nook event happening Monday, October 31 at the Nook studio, 156 Augusta Avenue in Toronto's Kensington Market. It will run from 7:00 pm until whenever we get scared. Please RSVP by e-mailing me at info@aaronleighton.com.

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Kelsey Heinrichs
06 October 2011

Kelsey Heinrichs is another one of my recently-graduated students whom I like to call the young god of character design. Well, OK – I've never called him that until now, but it's an apt title. His stretchy day-glo characters, alternately playful, menacing and completely insane, were a constant source of inspiration whenever I flipped through his epic sketchbook. Imagine Ren & Stimpy creator John K having a mutated baby with all of the Expressionists at once. Yes, he's that good. Check out this stuff here. Also: happy Canadian Thanksgiving everyone!

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Douglas Fraser - After Print
04 October 2011

My good friend and illustrator par excellence, Douglas Fraser, is having a show at the Winchester Gallery in Victoria. Titled After Print, the show is a collection of Doug's new personal work which showcases not only his technical skill, but also his ongoing visual investigation of structure and his reinterpretation of "normal" objects and moments with almost spiritual significance. Plus, he paints a mean hot rod. The show runs from October 1 until October 22nd, so go check it out if you live on the west coast!

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Dialog Mural
30 September 2011

I recently had the pleasure of helping out local illustrator extraordinaire Ben Weeks with a mural project he was hired to do for an architecture firm called Dialog here in Toronto. Also lending an able hand was illustrator Ian Turner. You know a company like Dialog is forward-thinking when they hire an illustrator to create a mural on a 50-foot black wall which is the first thing visible upon exiting the elevator. We used china markers to draw, and although trying to keep them peeled wreaked havoc on our thumbs we had a blast covering the wall with our three respective styles, the sum of which ended up becoming something new entirely. It was a great example of how illustration can be applied in a non-traditional manner for a truly unique result.

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The Subconscious Sketchbook at Nook
28 September 2011

Hey, in November I'll be teaching a four-part class at Nook: The Subconscious Sketchbook! Come join the fun as we fill pages with nonsense, gorge on unhealthy snacks and drop-kick mental blocks. All the info is here at the Nook blog.

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