There are special times for an illustrator when an assignment comes in where there is such a strong connection to the piece and the whole process is easy, obvious and joyful. One minute, your mind is completely blank and then the brief comes in, and then, bang! - the picture just happens. It's as if you're in automatic pilot in creative cruise control. I tell my students that you don't think with your brain, you think with your hand. Once that hand starts moving a pen or brush across the surface of the paper or canvas, then you become a receptive channel to the ideas that hover over you ready to be plucked and used. When Conan Tobias, Publisher and Creative Director of Taddle Creek, a Canadian literary/arts magazine, contacted me to create a cover for the magazine (type and all), I accepted the assignment without so much as a thought. I had no idea what I was going to do until I read that it was for the Christmas issue. Then I started drawing and a man appeared, on bended knee, proud and contemplative. After a year's worth of hard work, enjoying a pipe and surveying the efforts of his work (studying the land, the harvest he busily cropped, and of course, the future) he gazes contentedly at it all. I liked the idea of creating the character in a halftone for the final art. There's something ethereal, ghost-like, as if the person is caught in suspended animation that appealed to me for this piece and made sense for the illustration. Of course, I often can't resist scrawling doodles ad hoc so they're happily included, too. The illustration is called, "Yup Sir".