Photo: See how this illustration came to be in the photos below. (Photo: Rick Sealock)

In the October issue of Canadian Geographic, the Hawksley Workman story was illustrated by Rick Sealock. Here, he tells us a bit about his process, and reveals how he made the illustration (scroll down for photos.)

What was your inspiration for this piece?

Workman had won critical acclaim for his blend of glam rock with cabaret pop, so I knew this would be a cool piece.

I’ve always been an avid devotee of the sketchbook - there’s one habitually tied to my hip - and so I began creating various sketches of Hawksley. Each drawing visually explored his character, music, and rural locale. The lush English landscape of ancient oaks and quaint pubs was rejuvenating, inspiring, and for me echoed Workman’s attachment to the panorama of the Canadian Shield.

After each jaunt through the forest I would further refine sketches over a pint of inspiration. The things one does for their art.

Describe your process?

First “fear and loathing” as in “how did I get myself into this, I want the image to be simple, sophisticated and now it’s busy, gauche”. Then “fear of failure” so rework the sketches, slow down the drawing, breathe!

Next collect your bearings and find the zone, then Commit, Attack, and React.
Commit to the ink line drawing that dictates the detail of the subject’s features and expression. Scratch away at the surface till the textures and line-work are in harmony.
Attack with whatever I can find in the studio. Throw washes of watercolor and splashes of acrylics on the image to create density of color, hierarchy in the composition, an emotional attachment to the media manipulation. Employ collage for contrast, for detail, for fun. Splatter, sand, and blast away at the image, keep moving!
React to the result, the fallout of the media marathon. Does the image convey the concept, the portrait, the right “vibe”? Have I gone too far, not far enough, should I clean up the edges, or edit the mistakes? Move on.

I have to confess once I started producing the final art I listened to music for creative inspiration (even divine intervention). I listened to Hawksley Workman’s music the first day when painting his portrait.

How would you describe your style?

The jury is still out though messy, manic, and over-kill has been suggested. Early in my career I would inform art directors that my images were avant garde; it made my stylistic approach sound cool and rebellious, ahh the brashness of youth.
I’ve found it more interesting and insightful to let the objectivity of others describe my stylistic approach. Will it be defined as thought provoking or causing viewer fatigue?
For myself I love drawing, painting, and creating pictures. One hopes and strives to create images that are relevant, engaging, and thought provoking…and if they’re entertaining too then I’m a happy camper.

What did you like about the finished product?

It’s difficult to put into words. In a way the image is about the sensation of movement that sweeps the trees and terrain of the Canadian Shield over and into the music of Hawksley Workman.


(Photo: Rick Sealock)

(Photo: Rick Sealock)

(Photo: Rick Sealock)

(Photo: Rick Sealock)

(Photo: Rick Sealock)

(Photo: Rick Sealock)

(Photo: Rick Sealock)

(Photo: Rick Sealock)

The final version. (Photo: Rick Sealock)