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Buzzer illustrator interview: Samantha Leigh Smith

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For our special anniversary edition of the Buzzer, we celebrated 100 years by having the fabulous Samantha Leigh Smith illustrate our transit timeline!

Samantha gave us a look behind her illustrations to understand her inspiration, tools and process.

Enjoy!

What inspires you as an artist?

Just being outside! Whether it’s hiking, scuba diving or a exploring a new city and I find all the colours, patterns and shapes a constant inspiration.

What are your favourite subjects to illustrate?

I have a soft spot for illustrating really cute, happy things. Whether it be a little octopus or a girl jumping it puddle, I love drawing something that will put a smile on someone’s face. I don’t get to do it as often, but I really love hand-lettering and custom typography.

You had the chance to design this huge illustration for the 100th anniversary of the Buzzer. How did you tackle this?

A lot of research! I jumped in and learned all things transit in the lower mainland. I enjoyed discovering all the great forums and websites devoted to transit. It’s awesome to see how people collect and archive a big piece of Vancouver’s history. Once I had an idea of how transit changed and developed, I created a few different sketches planning the timeline. With each iteration I added more detail, then finally scanning and digitally illustrating it on the computer.

What are your artist tools of choice?

Depends on the project. Typically I start out with pencil and paper, then scan and move it into Adobe illustrator, sometimes adding texture in Photoshop. Lately I’ve been enjoying experimenting with brush, ink and gouache paint.

What has been some of your favourite projects you’ve created?

What a hard thing to answer. This illustration for The Buzzer is definitely up there, I never knew how much I would enjoy illustrating little buses! As well some of my favourite projects have been for CBC Music, I had so much fun creating the Canadian Music Alphabet and exploring the complexity in Björk’s genius.

What are some of the fun projects you’re working on now?

I’m currently working on a fun Canadian animal themed alphabet, I’ll be posting updates on my instagram and website soon!

Thank you to Samantha for creating such an amazing anniversary illustration for our dear, ol’ Buzzer.

Quick! Pick up this special edition on SkyTrain, SeaBus, West Coast Express and buses before they’re all gone or download it here.

Author: Adrienne Coling


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