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As you can see, my new website is up and running.  The site is cleaner, more efficient, easier to maintain and update, and incorporates all of the features I wanted, but could no longer create on my own.  To get the job done, I hired Erik Bernskiold with XLD Studios, and couldn’t be happier with his work.  I’ve included the testimonial I wrote for him at the end of this entry, which pretty much says it all.

If you look around the site, you’ll see that things have changed a fair bit.  Much of this will be self-explanatory, but here are a few details of some significant changes.

Editorial Cartoons

Rather than present them in a gallery format, I’ve used more of a blog post format, showing only the most recent ten cartoons.  Judging from traffic reports on my previous site, I had many regular visitors looking at the current work each day, but few people actually spent a great deal of time going through galleries from years past, so I did away with them, in favor of keeping everything more current.  I’ve turned the comments off on these images, as I would prefer to keep political arguments off this site.  I do post daily editorial cartoons on the Cartoon Ink Facebook page, if you’d like to see them there as well.


I’ve now got three portfolio galleries.  My totem animal paintings in one, paintings of people (caricature and portrait) in another, and commercial illustration work in the third.  I can easily add new images to each gallery as I create them and add more galleries if I find them necessary in the future.


For many years, I was a jack of all trades, accepting almost everything that came through the door, but recently I’ve decided to focus on my strengths.  I’m a cartoonist, cartoon illustrator and digital painter.  That’s what I enjoy and what I’m best at.  For everything else, I have a very large network of incredibly talented friends and colleagues who excel in their creative fields and I’m more than happy to recommend them.  For example, Elizabeth Gast with designed the evolution of my logo you see at the top of the page.


This is a very exciting addition for me as it showcases my first training DVD through PhotoshopCAFE.  I’m working on the next one right now, with plans for more in the future.  Additionally, I have more training opportunities that I’ll be able to talk about soon, as well as others on the horizon.


As regular followers of my work and ramblings will know, I have a line of limited edition giclée canvas prints for sale at Two Wolves Trading Company in Canmore, Alberta and Editions Gallery in Banff, Alberta.  Those can be purchased and shipped from each of those venues, and I won’t be selling them from this site.  I am, however, offering open edition matted paper prints of the four totem paintings you will see in the Shop, with more to be released this year.  The prints are available in two standard framing sizes, so framing them won’t cost you an arm and a leg.  The Shop operates through PayPal, and I’ll ship any purchases via Canada Post.  Takes a little longer, but then you avoid duty fees if you’re shopping from outside of Canada.

If you do happen to be in the Canmore area, or plan to be in the future, I would ask that you buy them directly through Two Wolves Trading Co. They’re wonderful people there, and they treat me very well.  The prices are the same, and you’ll also get to see the work of other talented artists when you visit them.

The Blog

All of my blog entries from the past few years have been imported from Blogger to WordPress.  Most of the transfer worked well, some of it did not.  I’m still updating categories for the older entries, and some of the links need to be repaired.  Bear with me if you find a broken one, as I am making these fixes here and there when I have spare moments.

It’s going to take me awhile to get used to this site, but I’m very happy with it.  It will allow me to keep moving forward, and is designed so that I can edit and expand it when it becomes necessary.  Some of the best parts of my business, the work that I enjoy most, were not things I’d planned for long term.  I love trying new techniques and believe in being ready for opportunities, so I wanted a website that would be ready to handle things I haven’t even thought of yet.  And if something does come up that I can’t handle on my own, I know who to talk to help me out, which brings me to the testimonial I wrote for Erik Bernskiold at XLD Studios.


After years of creating my own websites for my freelance cartoon illustration business, I had recently realized that my online image wasn’t keeping pace with my recent successes.  As such, it became apparent that I could no longer create my own site with the limited knowledge I had and still put forward the image I wanted to.  I needed a professional designer and found one with XLD Studios.

Erik Bernskiold came highly recommended from a number of colleagues and having seen the work he did for them, I knew he could build the site I needed.  While I fully expected him to have the technical skills necessary to get the job done, I was pleasantly surprised and very impressed with the service and support Erik provided as well.  He listened to what I needed, asked all the right questions, and offered suggestions I hadn’t even thought of to take my site to a higher level than I’d expected.

Having never used WordPress before, I was apprehensive, but Erik assured me it was the best solution for what I wished to accomplish, even going so far as to give me a very detailed walkthrough tutorial via Skype when it was time for me to begin populating my site with images and content.  During that process, he patiently answered all of the questions I had about functionality and addressed each concern quickly and efficiently.

Erik provided a level of service and professionalism that is far too often lacking these days, and I am very pleased with not only the site he built for me, but with how I was treated as a client.  I wouldn’t hesitate to hire Erik again, and would recommend XLD Studios without reservation.

Patrick LaMontagne  Cartoon Ink


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Now Available at PhotoshopCAFE!

While the hard copy of my first DVD will be making its debut at Photoshop World this coming week in Orlando, it is now available for purchase as a download from PhotoshopCAFE. The hard copy will be available in the next couple of weeks.

This is a little surreal, having my own training DVD, but part of the natural evolution of being an artist. ‘Learn it, do it, teach it’ is a fairly common saying, and it does tend to bring things full circle. While I will always have more to learn, and will never be finished working to make myself a better artist, it’s been an interesting experience teaching a little of what I’ve learned so far.

This was a huge undertaking for me, and I wondered if I’d ever get it done, but I’m very pleased with the result, and already planning my next title. By all accounts, the second one should be a lot easier.

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Coming Soon: My First Training DVD

Regular readers will know that I’ve been working on a DVD for PhotoshopCAFE for a number of months, now. With a final push through a very busy week, I managed to get everything finished this past weekend. The final editing days were difficult, but I managed to meet deadline, and the DVD is now in production.

Entitled ‘Cartoon Illustration Techniques in Photoshop,’ I recorded over 4.5 hours of training, taking the viewer through the entire process I use to turn a sketch into the finished image you see above. The majority of the lessons are done in real time, so I’m actually working while talking, and only a couple of painting sessions are sped up and narrated. This is the process I use every day when drawing my syndicated editorial cartoons and when creating cartoon illustrations in the same style.

This is my first DVD for PhotoshopCAFE with plans to record more on other techniques in the near future. It will be available for purchase online and at the PhotoshopCAFE booth at Photoshop World in Orlando next week. As soon as it’s available, I’ll be posting links.

While the entire process was difficult, and more than a little frustrating at times, I learned a LOT about audio and video recording, had incredible support from Colin Smith at PhotoshopCAFE, and am pleased with the result. My intention at the beginning of this was to record the DVD I would have liked to have had when I was first starting out cartooning in Photoshop and I think I achieved that.

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Great Horned Owl

This is the latest painting in my Totem series. Hard to believe I started this image in November. I’ve worked on it at a few live painting demos, and when I could make the time, but I’ve gone weeks at a time without touching it, due to my heavy workload.

I’ve received a lot of publicity and attention over the previous paintings, especially the Wolf and Moose after the Photoshop World Guru Awards in September, but I’ve been frustrated lately that I hadn’t been able to get another one finished, even though I’ve had two on the go for months. The last thing I want is to be halfway through 2011, and still be talking about paintings I did in a year ago.

With that in mind, I took whatever bits of time I could this past week to get it done, as well as a home stretch effort on Sunday of about 6 hours of painting. I nitpicked this to death at the end, and probably could keep doing so for a number of hours, yet, but eventually it gets to a point where you’d only see a difference on extreme closeup, and it would be minimal at best. My biggest concern was that I wanted the end result to be better than, or at least as good as the Wolf and Moose paintings. Hopefully I achieved that, but I’m too close to it to be objective.

In the end, I easily spent over 30 hours on it, and at this moment in time, it is my best effort. I found myself smiling a number of times while painting, because it seemed I was being smiled at, and that’s always a good feeling. Even had a few moments where the image seemed to be painting itself yesterday, and that never ceases to surprise me. With my headphones on, music playing in my ears, painting without thinking and no distractions, that’s as close to a perfect moment as I get.

While I’m pleased with the final image and that I have finally added another painting to the series, I would like to find more time to devote to these paintings, so there aren’t months in between each one. Next up will be the Bighorn Sheep, which is the other painting in progress at the moment.

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iPad Painting: Daniel Day-Lewis

Here’s another painting drawn on the iPad for fun and practice. This is Bill ‘The Butcher’ Cutting from the movie ‘Gangs of New York.’ According to the DVD extras, Daniel Day-Lewis was so committed to the role, that he stayed in character while on set, even when the cameras were off. I’ve seen this movie a few times, and for me, the character of The Butcher is the best part of it.

Had a few requests for progress shots from the last iPad painting I did, but since I hadn’t saved any file copies, I kept that in mind while painting this one. Click on any of these images to see them a bit larger, although size is limited by the iPad resolution.

Image 1-3

Image 4-6


Now that I’ve done a couple of paintings and a number of cartoons with the iPad, I’m aware of a few limitations, aside from the resolution, that make it difficult to ever really do any finished work.

First, the brightness of the iPad. If I paint on full brightness, it’s a little hard on the eyes, so I paint with the brightness set to about half or 60%. When I send the images by email to my desktop computer, they’re a fair bit darker than they are on the iPad, so all of these images have had exposure adjustments in Photoshop.

My desktop and laptop computers are colour calibrated, so it’s a little unnerving to paint in colour on the iPad, because it doesn’t look the same when I bring it into Photoshop. This is why I painted in black and white first, in order to get the values right. After that, I added a colour layer in the ArtStudio app, then I flattened it and continued painting. As you can see, most of the work, however, was done in black and white.

While I’m pleased with the way this painting turned out, I might have chosen a difference reference photo to work from, as I think I could have found a better pose for the character. But since this is as far as I intend on taking this image, no harm, no foul. It was good practice.

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iPad Painting: James Whitmore

Here is another painting done on the iPad, very different than my usual style. This is a value study of the great character actor, James Whitmore. If I were to title this piece, I’d probably call it ‘Brooks Was Here,’ as it’s not so much the actor that I wanted to paint, but his character, Brooks Hatlen from The Shawshank Redemption.

For every larger than life Brad Pitt or George Clooney on the silver screen, there are a hundred brilliant character actors like James Whitmore. The sort of actor that everyone recognizes, even if you don’t know his name, and have never see him on the cover of People magazine. I love rich characters in movies, but those characters can just as easily fall flat without the right actor breathing life into it.

This painting was a pleasure to work on, as Brooks Hatlen has always been one of my favorite film characters. It didn’t feel right to paint this as a caricature, and even with the resolution limitations of the iPad document size, I could have spent many more hours on it. It really was a joy to paint.

Once again, I used the ArtStudio app and the Targus stylus. In a reversal of my usual method of painting on a white canvas, I filled the canvas with black, and then painted in shades of grey. This next image is zoomed in to 100 percent, so making it any larger would have given way to pixelation.

I’ve recently realized that I need to always have a painting or image to work on that has no deadline. While I spend all day drawing or working on my business, this piece was done over two evenings while watching TV, and an hour at the coffee shop yesterday morning. It was a nice break from the commission work.

With no shortage of wonderful character actors to choose from, I would imagine I’ll be painting many more of these.

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Work in Progress – Great Horned Owl

A sneak peek at the progress on the next painting in my Totem series. Other commission work and editorial cartoons have been taking up the bulk of my time lately, so I haven’t been able to spend as much time on this as I’d like, but I’m looking to change that.

This is the most challenging piece I’ve ever worked on, and there is a lot more detail yet to paint. I can’t even estimate when this will be done, but I’m just going to keep working on it, and hopefully it will be sooner, rather than later. I have many more animals I want to paint.

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Wacom eNews

The February Wacom eNews is out, and I’m very pleased to be featured in it. You won’t find a bigger fan of Wacom than me.

Having owned half a dozen drawing tablets over the past 12 years, I wouldn’t be able to do any of my work without one. I feel it’s important to note, I’ve only replaced tablets when new ones have come out with better features. I have never had one die on me and to my recollection, the only problem I’ve ever had is that a pen started acting up on me a couple of years ago, and Wacom replaced it right away, no questions asked.

I remember doing a painting demo at a gallery last year, and explaining to a parent why a Wacom was such a good investment for his daughter who was showing some real artistic talent. While I let her try out the tablet, I was telling him how inexpensive the entry level Bamboo tablets are, how they had a lot of the same great features as the Intuos4, and even told him where he could buy one.

He asked me if I worked for them.

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iPad Painting: Billy Connolly

With my heavy workload lately, almost everything I’ve been doing has been for a deadline. Even the animal paintings have now become one more item on my ‘to-do’ list. It has begun to wear a little thin, so I wanted to work on something this week that was just for fun.

I’m really enjoying working on the iPad, and despite the fact that some people lament that it’s not pressure sensitive like a Wacom tablet, the drawing apps available are incredibly versatile. I haven’t painted any people in awhile, and I’ve been itching to get back at that, if for nothing else, than to improve those skills. Billy Connolly is on a growing list of people I’ve always wanted to paint, so he was as good a subject as any.

A few years ago, I read his biography, entitled ‘Billy,’ written by his wife Pamela Stephenson. I was already a fan of his comedy, but I’ve grown to become a fan of him personally as well. ‘The Big Yin’ is such a talented musician and actor, a brilliant comedian, and a dangerously intelligent man.

At one point, I had intended to do a full painting of him, and someday I still might. But for now, this was just an exercise to take drawing on the iPad a little further than just drawing a cartoon character. With the Targus stylus I recently acquired, I felt I could finally do some painting on the device.

I could have done this in colour, but I thought for this first go ’round, I’d stick with black and white. While I didn’t keep track of the time, as I worked on this off and on over the course of a week in the evenings, I would estimate that it took about four or five hours, working on the ArtStudio app. Somebody recently asked me on Facebook if I preferred this one over the Sketchbook Pro app. Having used both, I do prefer ArtStudio to Sketchbook Pro, even though the latter is still a very fine app to work with. I just find the tools in ArtStudio easier to use, and there are more of them.

It’s doubtful that I’ll ever do finished work on the iPad, because the resolution capability of the app doesn’t allow for extreme detail, but I will definitely keep stretching, to see how far I can take it. This is undoubtedly the first of many paintings I’ll experiment with on the iPad.