Meet Illustrator Carl Wiens

A versatile artist with lots of clever and curious ideas, gives us a glimpse into the world of his art.  Introducing illustrator, Carl Wiens, represented by i2i Art.

This self-portrait titled, Work and Play, is a tribute to the life of an illustrator – chasing deadlines and relaxing with a pint at the end of the day. Image created for a group show at the Land Gallery in Portland.

This self-portrait titled, Work and Play, is a tribute to the life of an illustrator – chasing deadlines and relaxing with a pint at the end of the day. Image created for a group show at the Land Gallery in Portland.

i2i Art: How long have you been illustrating for a living?

Carl Wiens: I’ve been drawing pictures for as long as I can remember. I started illustrating full time 26 years ago. That sounds like a long time, but my work has evolved an grown over the years. Even after all this time I am always looking for new directions and sources of inspiration.

This signature piece is titled, The Dragonfly Effect: How to use social media for social good. Cover image for the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

This signature piece is titled, The Dragonfly Effect: How to use social media for social good. Cover image for the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

i2i Art: Describe a dream assignment?

Carl Wiens: It’s hard to pick a favourite; I work on so many different projects. I like to get involved with a series of images or dive into a book project.

A couple of years ago, I was contacted by publisher Brian Kaufman, and offered the chance to illustrate an entire issue of a magazine, cover-to-cover. SubTerrain is a Canadian arts and literary review, offering short stories, poetry and art. Its tagline is ‘Strong Words for a Polite Nation’. I haven’t had the chance to work illustrate fiction and poetry very often. I reviewed the articles, scribbling down the images springing to mind. I wanted to create strong images to go with the words.

Working on this project was like a night at a gourmet restaurant. One tasty dish after another, each with a different flavour. The work I did for the magazine was recognized by The Society of Illustrators and published in their annual, Luerzer’s 200 Best Illustrators and won a gold medal from the Western Canadian Magazine Awards. Here’s my favourite piece, for a short story by Lee Kvern called ‘Detachment’.

i2i Art: What would be an illustration assignment that you’d love to land?

Carl Wiens: I would love to work on a book project, illustrating a novel or developing visuals of characters and settings for a fictional novel. I have done some fantastic cover assignments for and worked with writers like John Scalzi, Rudy Rucker and Bruce Sterling. If I could find the right vehicle, I would love to see my Mecanismos characters developed into a book, animation or app.

Loco – Cover image for a Science Fiction short story, involving organic memory storage, scientists and exploding heads – for

Loco – Cover image for a Science Fiction short story, involving organic memory storage, scientists and exploding heads – for

i2i Art: What personal interests have most affected the direction you’ve taken with your art?
Carl Wiens: When I started out in the business, I was interested in whimsical illustrations and cartoons. My work matured as I moved through my career, and I was able to add more depth and conceptual strength, expanding into serious subject matter and op-ed illustrations. At a certain point I returned to the subjects that have inspired me throughout my life and decided to focus on nature, science and collage. I alsogot back to producing prints and creating art for gallery shows. That focus has driven my work to new levels and allowed me to establish new assignment work along with greater creative satisfaction.

I like the idea of an eccentric scientist, creating experiments in the lab, as a model for my creations. I think that sense of curiosity and playfulness still informs what I do.

Title: Wavelength – Illustration for NPR calendar – these are the little beings that live inside your radio.

Title: Wavelength – Illustration for NPR calendar – these are the little beings that live inside your radio.

i2i Art: How do you get started with a creative brief for an assignment?

Carl Wiens: It is critical to sit down with paper and pencil and allow things to flow. Sometimes the act of drawing can bring to mind associations and concepts that lead to a series of visuals that solve a problem or arrive at an image that never would have presented itself. I also have an extensive library of old ephemera, encyclopedias and reference books that I can pour through to get inspired. I collect a lot of obscure manuals, vintage textbooks and other sources of odd and unconventional ideas.

i2i Art: Tell us a bit about your process?

Carl Wiens: I work primarily in Illustrator. I know my work doesn’t necessarily look as though it’s vector-based, but it is how I developed my technique and prefer to work with. Vector illustrations give me the flexibility to edit and experiment with colour and balance. I also like the way that the final illustrations can be scaled up or down without compromising detail and resolution.

I always start with pencil sketches and usually present initial concepts as such. I fill in the details once sketches are approved. I ink the drawings, scan them, then vectorize the linework. I can add in other elements from my large collection of vectorized vintage objects and textures. The mechanical elements in my illustrations come from my archives. I spend a lot of time balancing the elements and getting them to work together as a whole. So yes, the finished pieces are often a hybrid of traditional and digital work. I don’t want the pieces to look to digital, unless I am working on small icons or on a quick-turnaround assignment.

i2i Art: You created this illustration for the Work/Life series published by Uppercase.  Tell us about this image?

I worked in construction and have done a lot of hands-on labour over the years. I bring a workman-like approach to the things i do. It’s important to understand process, and how to build and image, to plan things out and bring all of the elements together to produce the final. I built my last studio in a dusty old barn. I cleaned it out, re-framed the inside, put in the drywall, wiring, windows and trim. When it was finished, I took a lot of pride in what I accomplished It’s important to have a space you feel is your own, where you feel comfortable and can make things happen.

i2i Art: What was the inspiration behind it this image, which you have available as a print?

I love to cycle, so drawing a bicycle and creating a print was a natural fit. I used a pair of old kids’ bikes as a basis for the drawing. I overlapped the images and screen printed them in different colours on a collaged background. There is a faux 3D feeling to the pieces. Remember the feeling of freedom and joy you had as a kid riding a bike? Those memories get fuzzy over time and this piece is meant to evoke that.

i2i Art:  Have you ever worked in animation with your art or had a client animate it?
Carl Wiens: I did some character design for Nelvana when I started out in the business. I also helped to develop and design segments for a show called Freaky Stories. My work lends itself well to motion and it is something that I intend to develop. I recently did a test, with a walking cycle for one of my mechanical collages.

See more of Carl Wiens’ work. Represented by i2i Art. 

Mark Hoffmann's Mural at the Montserrat Gallery

The exhibition SEVEN: A Peformative Drawing Project at the Montserrat Gallery was a perfect opportunity for illustrator Mark Hoffmann to spread his creative wings even further. Mark, along with six other artists, put their creative process on display by executing a large mural on one of the gallery's walls in an open studio environment. The mural itself was meant to be the "residue of an artistic performance." We found both the process and the final product pretty spectacular.  

Mark Hoffmann's 'Men of Mountains' Mural

Mark Hoffmann Mural

 Close up of Mark Hoffmann's lettering

Mark Hoffmann Mural Close Up


We chatted with Mark Hoffmann after the show...


i2i Art: How were you approached with this project?

Mark: Leonie Bradbury (the gallery director at Montserrat College of Art, where I teach) contacted me in the fall to see if I had any interest.  They usually try to get one faculty member involved and thought I would be a good fit with the other artists.


i2i Art: Was this your first mural?

Mark: Yes, and it was quite overwhelming.


i2i Art: Tell us about the piece.  What was your inspiration?

Mark: I really wanted to paint a giant horse and started to research. Somehow I ended up reading about the early exploration of what would later become the first national park of the U.S., Yellowstone. In my research I found the story of the Cook, Folsom, Peterson expedition to explore and survey the land. I thought this might make a fun image with them, a horse, and geysers. I also had a previous color palette worked out that I wanted to apply to the piece.


i2i Art: What was it like working on that scale?

Mark: Difficult. It's hard to get a sense of the scale until it is right in front of you. I found that I had to stand back and look at it a lot, otherwise I wouldn't take the scale into full consideration.


i2i Art: The gallery was open while you were working on the piece, tell us about the atmosphere.

Mark: As I was working, quite a few folks stopped in to look, but very few chatted with me. They later told me they were afraid to interrupt. I must look deep in thought when I paint. It was nice to have the freedom to paint and explore at that scale and really knock people over with an image.


i2i Art: Do you have any tips, tricks or lessons learned you want to share?

Mark:  I realized that some of the techniques I planned to use are hard on that scale and surface. Use a paint with primer in it (I used house paints) so you don't have to apply it twice to get good coverage. Bring plenty of Aleve and Tylenol, the work can be a little back breaking.

Hyperlapse: Watch Mark Hoffmann's mural come to life


On view through March 28, 2015 at the Montserrat Gallery.

Mark Hoffmann offers a playfulness to his americana, folk art style.  View Mark's entire portfolio.





Introducing new i2i Art illustrator: Anna Godeassi

Anna Godeassi attended the School of Design in Milan, before launching her freelance illustration career. She has contributed her illustration to Vanity Fair, Elle Decor, Conde Nast Traveler and Rolling Stone Magazine as well as numerous advertising campaigns.  

Anna is full of brilliant ideas and enthusiasm.  She often delicately integrates photographic elements into her mixed media conceptual illustrations, adding another layer of interest to her evocative images.  Now without further ado --- we share a sampling of her work with you.

Portrait of Roberto Bolle
©Anna Godeassi_AG118_i2iArt
Love Tree

©Anna Godeassi_AG130_i2iArt

Why Men Disappear
©Anna Godeassi_AG128-a_i2iArt

©Anna Godeassi_AG135_i2iArt

Facebook Privacy

©Anna Godeassi_AG126_i2iArt

Check out Anna Godeassi's portfolio.

Aside from editorial and advertising work, Anna is an accomplished children's book illustrator.  Contact us at for a pdf portfolio of her children's book samples.



Fresh New Talent: Illustrator Angelica Yiacoupis

i2i Art is proud to introduce illustrator Angelica Yiacoupis--the latest addition to our roster.  Based in North London, Yiacoupis graduated from the London College of Communication with a degree in Graphic Design and Illustration.  Her infographic style, combined with her light-hearted humorous nature always makes a bold statement.  Angelica loves to develop characters (and alternative worlds inhabited by them).  Her passion for animals and the environment are also recurring themes in her work.  See Angelica Yiacoupis' complete portfolio.

Proposed Campaign for Orange, mobile and Internet company, UK.
©Angelica Yiacoupis_AY147_i2iArt
Meet Vera the Explorer!  An enthusiastic crusader created for the promotion of Aloe Vera Products.

©Angelica Yiacoupis_AY142_i2iArt

 Below a very cool mascot designed for Mad Grads' Student Planners, for Nottingham and London Universities, comes to life as the character illustrates aspects of student life.

©Angelica Yiacoupis_AY119_i2iArt


©Angelica Yiacoupis_AY120_i2iArt


©Angelica Yiacoupis_AY121_i2iArt




Introducing new i2i Art illustrator, Dave Murray

Meet Dave Murray. DM131_personal_dave










We wanted to share with you a recent conversation with Dave Murray to give you a little insight into the person behind the art.

i2i Art: Why illustration?

Dave Murray:  Well, I've been drawing for as long as I can remember, and it's something I've always enjoyed. I started with drawing my favorite characters from comic books, and went from there. My illustration career formally began at Sheridan College, I guess - I always thought it was kind of a funny thing, to go to school for art, but it's what I loved to do - so giving myself the chance to make my living from it was really the only decision.

i2i Art:  What makes you tick?

Dave Murray:  Maybe it's a boring answer, but it's keeping my life pretty simple and finding pleasure in the small things. Making interesting work, walking my dog, spending time with my wife, and friends...that's pretty much it.

i2i Art: How do you come up with new ideas when presented with a brief? Tell us a bit about your process?

Dave Murray:  I find a lot of success when I break down ideas and concepts into words and definitions - I'm a bit of a crossword fanatic. At that level, I feel like there's a lot of freedom to play with meanings and definitions - and then translate that wordplay into visual metaphors. From there, small thumbnails and sketches in my sketchbook, larger sketches on the computer, and then a mishmash of stuff to create the final piece.

i2i Art: What other creative projects keep you going aside from illustration?

Dave Murray:  I like to keep myself busy. Aside from illustration, I have an ongoing text-based mapping project. It's mostly focused on Toronto, but I've been brought out to cities such as Stratford and Halifax to apply my work there. I'm also a co-founder of the Garrison Creek Bat Co., which is an artisanal baseball bat company based in Toronto. At GCBC, we focus on making each bat a piece of work in itself, and occasionally curate events where we invite other illustrators, artists, and craftspeople to customize our bats however they like.

i2i Art: How do these projects influence your illustration?

Dave Murray: My other creative projects allow me to take a step back from illustration, and put other creative aspects of my brain to work. It's like a breath of fresh air, which allows me to come back invigorated and often with new perspectives in regards to my illustration work.

i2i Art: What are the best parts of being a freelance illustrator?

Dave Murray:  Probably the whole thing. The fact that I'm doing something I love to make my living is incredible in itself, but it's the opportunities and experiences that I've had solely because of illustration that make it truly special.



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Green Hotels



Commission Dave Murray to contribute to your next campaign or feature!  Check out Dave Murray's entire portfolio here.

Introducing Eric Chow, conceptual illustrator + powerful narrator

A UK-based illustrator from Hong Kong, Eric Chow started his illustration career soon after graduating from the London College of Communication in 2012. He produces his illustrations digitally using a powerful surrealist, often humorous style.  

When asked about his inspiration Eric Chow outlines his process, "my portfolio is based on the idea of recording life and thoughts."  Rather than creating just another good-looking picture, Eric makes his illustration speak.  The sign of a great conceptual illustrator and one of the many reasons i2i Art Inc. is proud to represent Eric Chow.


Eric won second runner-up for the prestigious Serco Prize 2014 with this piece, 'Lady Bridge".  The story behind this thoughtful illustration: Waterloo Bridge was reconstructed mostly by women during the wars in 1945, while men were doing national service thus the bridge's other name – The Lady Bridge."

©Eric Chow_EC139_i2iArt'Lady Bridge'

Eric's work has also been featured in Creative Boom, Shellsuit Zombie, Creative Review, Computer Art and Wired magazine.

©Eric Chow_EC123_i2iArt'Father and Son'
©Eric Chow_EC111_i2iArt'Brain Market'
©Eric Chow_EC143_i2iArt'Mutant'
©Eric Chow_EC119_i2iArt'Creative Review'

View Eric Chow's entire portfolio at i2i Art Inc.