This year we are celebrating our 10th anniversary as a freelance graphic design studio. It has been a fun journey, and I am proud of the clients I have made and kept. Things weren’t always easy, but we’ve managed to keep a toe hold in the marketplace for a while now, and I can only see things getting better and better.

Trying some new art direction styles this year, and breaking into packaging after a whirl wind stint with the good people at Molson-Coors. Taking my love of design, illustration and Photoshop to the masses this year!

Also making the effort to spend more time sculpting, model making, and wood working. Going to bring my creativity level up a notch of two with a wide variety of DIY projects around the house and garage. I also have a good number of items I’m going to produce for my daughter. I currently have a “mini” 4ft Tie Fighter® in the works, which is waiting on a final sanding, prior to painting. That little beast swivels on a lazy Suzanne, has cannons and both wings at an 18″ extension. I am building foam padded seating, and a central console to round out the whole process.  The second project is an art hanging station, with router work, and maybe some inlay?, not to sure yet, we’ll see how cold it gets and how long I can work with numb fingers in my cold, cold, cold garage.

Also on the list is a Potato Box for the garden, and some planters for Strawberries and Raspberries. We are looking at a very delicious summer bounty this year if all goes well!

So a warm thanks to everyone I’ve done business with, it is my pleasure. The reward for good work, is more of it!  “And that’s a good thing” ~ Martha Stewart.

GWStudios_10 Years

Celebrate 10 Years with us!

Ready for 2016

Posted: January 3, 2016 in Uncategorized
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So here we are a couple of days in and two of my family’s birthdays are done and accounted for. The final projects of 2015 have been all wrapped up, and the Christmas decorations have been packed up and put away carefully for another year. Now, since it is the last day of the Christmas holidays before reality is due to kick back in, we turn our attention to Monday. Seeing as how I am self employed, and I don’t pay to advertise, and work primarily off of people I knew from previous jobs, and the associated connections I made, I feel it is worthwhile to once again let you all know what is available to you from my Graphic Design business GreatWall Studios: Graphic Design.

In my LinkedIn profile, you’ll notice that I have worked most ardently in the Beer (alcoholic) beverage industry. I will now name drop the breweries and companies I have done design work for : Evolution Design works, Molson-Coors, Moosehead Breweries Ltd, The Boston Beer Company, The Twisted Tea Brewing Co, The Bruce Ashley Group, the C & C Group, Heineken, Dos Equis, Creemore Springs, Estrella Damm, Shepherd Neame, Paulaner, Hop City Brewing Co, Mill Street Brewing, Rickard’s and Boris Beer to name the largest portion. For these companies I have created can and box packaging, logos, design and layout of copious sell sheets and ppt templates, apparel, and retail displays. Working with so many different brands, I am well aware of possible restrictions via Brand Standards and Guidelines.

I also have production experience, where having a creative eye can make the transition of your product from one size packaging to another that much smoother, as I am paying attention to not only the legal requirements but to the overall composition of the piece.

I also am available to do concept work for packaging; anything from cellophane bread wrappers,  pet food packets, to beer cans & bottles, and their associated labels, cartons and trays.

I am also able to produce 3D carton renders, and bottle and can renderings.

I am also available to produce Catalogues, (of various lengths), and  Flyers,  Posters/Infographics, Logos, Print Ads, Web Banner Ads (Static & Animated), Fleet Graphics and Vehicle Wraps, Illustrations and Photoshop Composites.

I however don’t do back end web development, and I do very little multi-media (video editing) at this time. I did six or seven “Win a Grand A Day” video spots for Moose Light in late 2014, set to music, with pop up text and that was that.

I work with companies from both the East and West coast, so I am very comfortable working via e-mail, telephone or video conference calls.

gwstudios@rogers.com

GWS_Can Product Advertisement

Hello, let me introduce myself.

My name is Mark Holyome, and I have worked as a graphic designer for the last ten years. Seven of those years have been spent working diligently in the alcoholic beverage industry (think malt based beverages. In other words, Beer!)

I have had the pleasure of doing packaging design & production for bottle labels, cartons and cans, as well as print & web advertising for more than a few breweries. It doesn’t stop there, I also do fleet graphics, apparel, illustrations and logo design, but my true love is print advertising. Whilst with Molson Coors, I was lucky enough to pick up some skills in 3D rendering for cartons, fit for print publication & OOH advertising.

I hate to name drop, but here are a few of the brewers I’ve done work for: Molson Coors, Moosehead Breweries Ltd, The Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams), Creemore Springs, The Twisted Tea Brewing Company, Hop City Brewing Co, Mill Street, The Bruce Ashley Group, C&C Group, Shepherd Neame, and last but not least The Southern Bay Brewing Company. (*Please note that in some cases it was freelance, and in others it was in an in-house capacity.)

I’d love to add your company to such a distinguished list. I’m available for Freelance work, or some other arrangement you might require.

Please feel free to e-mail or call, I’m in and out of my studio all day but I’m never far from where the action is. I am also available for catalogue work, flyers and corporate posters, and social media postings.

e: gwstudios@rogers.com

Mholyome_Mini Portfolio.

Change is in the air

Posted: January 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

I have had the pleasure of being able to work in the same place for six and a half years, and after many long weeks of thinking and discussion I have decided to leave. I am going to pursue a more focused role with a competitor. It wasn’t an easy choice to make, but one that will affect my family in a positive way over the weeks, months and years to come.

I was hired on at this company as a pilot project. A small, simple initiative to save money and regain creative control over as much design work as was possible. In late 2008, October 6th to be exact, I began building the art dept for one of Canada’s oldest independent family owned breweries, and their distribution wing. It has been a pretty wild ride, and I’ve had the ability to leave the company in a better state (relatively) than when I joined up. There has most certainly been a considerable cost savings undertaken by my being able to contribute 3D rendering, carton design, retail signage, doing both creative & studio work, production, video and countless print projects, thereby cutting out many of the design agencies invoices and work back charges.

In total, I had a few years with 1000 projects, and years with 800+ projects. I have set a high bar for whomsoever follows in footsteps. I’ve tackled projects from more than 70 brands over the 6 plus years I have been here.

But now I look to the future, with a new role as part of a team, and I am no longer a one man show. I seek to learn new skills, make new friends and create new memories. I will always remember the good times I had, with some great people, and that I had so many wonderful milestones in my life whilst working here. I got engaged, married, and had my first child all in the last five years.

I hope that the position gets filled by a few good designers who are able to expand the department above and beyond what I was capable of. That hopefully I am remembered fondly, and that I left behind me a legacy of tight, concise designs, a solid work ethic and a can do attitude. Not to mention a well organized archive of my last six years worth of work!

I wish them the best, I’ll miss some people more than others, and I’ll miss some projects more than others too. I look forward to seeing the new things you come up with as I become an outsider once again.

January 30th, 2015 isn’t far off, so I best get back to finishing my last few tasks. It has been a slice.
-M

After finding an amazing sculpture of Raphael done by Prime 1 Studio, I challenged myself to do smaller scale version of it for my own amusement. The below set of images takes you through from start to nearly the final product. I made some small changes to the face that I have not yet photographed. The likeness is off, but for my seventh sculpture ever, I am pretty happy with how it turned out.

Roughly 1/6 scale Chavant Clay Medium sculpture

Roughly 1/6 scale Chavant Clay Medium sculpture

I have started a companion piece of Michelangelo to go side by side with Raph. Michelangelo is in a much softer red tinted Chavant clay, and I am uncertain as the the level of detail i’ll be able to manage with such a soft material, since I am not a real sculptor by any means.

Several months ago I had a quiet day at the office, must have been during one of the quarterly meetings or near a holiday, as I don’t really recall at the moment. But I was tired of working on cut and dried advertisements so I scoured the internets (read Google images) and pilfered a couple of clean head shots of various actors and actresses. I did more than the snippet I’ll post here today, but some didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped, and some people are just too similar to notice any kind of a mash up; for instance Johnny Knoxville and Joshua Duhamel just look so alike that you couldn’t tell I had super imposed one over top of the other. Others were just badly executed, a Tara Reid & Kate Upton mash up was simply horrendous, and plain frightening to behold.
Anyway, here are the three most successful mash ups. Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston, Putin and James Masrden, and Daniel Craig and Zack Efron. Share, comment and enjoy.

Aaron_Bryan_mash up Zac_Daniel Mash up_REV Marsden_Putin_mashup 2014

This has to be one of the most amazing corporate team building activities that I have ever done. This place is just amazing. The driving instruction is top notch and the track driving coaches are very well trained. Thanks to them, this noob can now successfully drive a stick shift from a standing start. How awesome is that.

The facilities are clean and bright, not to mention brand spanking new. The gear is super comfortable. The cars themselves are 1000 lbs and 170 horsepower. They top out at 130 km and feel as though they are welded to the track. Superb.

I can’t say enough good things about this place, their team of pit crew techs and all of the phenomenal instructors. This place kicks ass and takes names.

I suggest you check it out if you get the chance. I’m still grinning.

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This was such a great experience. I hope you get to enjoy one just like it some day.

Cheers!

So this weekend was a holiday here in Canada, it was the May 2-4 weekend, also known as Victoria Day for those of us who follow the royals.

I promise you that there is a review buried in here, but first off, I have something else to say, which has a lot to do with my reviews of the two films in general.

I think the main reason people get off on the wrong foot with movies these days, is that they fail to temper their expectations about what they are, or are not going to see in a 2 hour movie. I had the ability to sift through reams of reviews on both movies, and I had a reasonable idea of what I was and was not going to get to see or feel from either film. There are still people out there in the wider world who expect to see a panel to scene play by play from their favourite comic book or story. They are two totally different mediums and in most instances the same material doesn’t hold up when transplanted from one to the other.

We all have fan-boy/ fan-girl dreams of what we are going to see, but what us outsiders seem to fail to know, is that, these projects aren’t created by individuals with all of the creative control. You start throwing around $150 – $200 million dollars in production costs alone, not even mentioning the costs of advertising in print and television, and you are going to have to design by committee (which usually ends up meaning a diluted, chopped story, with shoe horned elements to sell merchandise and tie-ins/ cross overs etc etc…). These two movies were no exception. If you understand that going in, then you will thoroughly enjoy these films for what they are, fiction / sci-fi / fantasy movies that are big on spectacle and have little to no character arc. The characters (i.e.) villains in Spider-Man® are as cartoonish and 2 dimensional as you could expect. The only time you feel you’re watching actual fleshed out humans, are when Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are schmoozing on camera together (not a bad thing, basically the best parts of that particular movie, and very touching at that!).  The cgi is pretty good, some spots with Rhino looked rushed and less than stellar, but if it’s a set up for a Sinister Six® spin off, then perhaps they’ll upgrade the visuals for Paul Giamatti’s character then. He really was just a throw away character in the film, but in it’s defence it was a fun way to book end the action sequences of the film as a whole, and let’s you know Spider-Man® isn’t going anywhere, he’s right in the thick of battle, so expect more to come. Great!. If you are looking for a comic book feel, this movie has it, cheesy one liners, 2 dimensional bad guys, lots of great action, slow motion action sequences, tracking shots that take you straight through the heart of the action, web slinging and damsels in distress, funny costumes and a daily life that just seems to get in the way. Fun, all of that is fun. Not great, not earth shattering, just fun. Good clean PG-13 fun. No oscars will be awarded for the story or plot, but if you are going to see a Comic book film, other than say, Sandman® or something equally cerebral looking for Casablanca or something of that ilk, then you have a perverse sense of this pop cultures worth.

So to continue my wife and I ventured out to see Spider-Man® on Saturday evening, that was a lot of fun, because I had been able to do something, that other’s didn’t do. I managed my expectations. Expectations are what are standing between you really enjoying something for what it is, Vs. You hating something because it didn’t pan out like you had envisioned in your head. Shake off your expectations. Cast them aside! I say. Do yourself a favour, and don’t go sifting through every single trailer, every single on set snap shot, worry yourself over news about production. Take a hit then pass that bad boy onwards. All you are doing is building up the hype, and setting unrealistic expectations that in most cases, but not all, you’ll never be able to meet. Which leads to much ranting and raving and gnashing of teeth on-line.

However in the case of Spider-Man® I did feel a bit left out in the rain, because the plot points shown in the trailer are no where to be seen in the actual film, which is a textbook case of bait-n’ switch. I felt duped. Well, no not really. Like I mentioned before, I had read and watched several reviews which relate this point in better details than I have. But still, Peter & Harry’s relationship looked a bloody sight more interesting in the trailers, when you think there is a conspiracy going on behind the scenes.

On to Sunday evening we go, now it was time to take on Godzilla®. The large, city stomping, family killing, infrastructure busting behemoth from under the ocean. Next to the hulking monsters ruining city scapes and causing natural disasters along the way, this movie was far more touching and grounded than the 1998 version, which was odd to watch when I was 18, as it didn’t quite hit the mark. This new version has all the hallmarks of the original, building up suspense, unease, trauma, anger, capturing the effortless way in which nature makes us feel weak and ineffectual. Showing us just how uncontrollable the world really is, even when we strive to make every inch of our lives as managed as we are able. It just isn’t so. And the new Godzilla® shows us this in a way that was pleasing. Mind you, I could have done with Aaron Taylor-Johnson being a tad more emotive on screen, but you know what, his vanilla blandness actually makes it easier to transpose yourself into his position. If he had of shrieked and wailed the whole time, we’d have been put off by his hamming it up. He really is just a proxy by which we experience Godzilla®, and a softened generic avatar makes that easier to do. To all the haters who wished for 2 + hours of Godzilla® smash, that gets tedious and boring. I mean Pacific Rim did a good job of giving us nothing much other than battles, and it gets old very quickly. Case in point, how many ways can you lose a beast behind a building, or get punched through it before you get numb to the idea or the spectacle. Just look at Man of Steel, the last 30 minutes felt redundant and overly repetitive.

I’d give them both a solid B grade. Well worth the price of a 3D ticket.

Your thoughts, and or comments?

-M

Yes, you read that correctly, we’re looking to fill our internship positions once again, specifically for the role of graphic design. This is a 40 hours per week position, working on site from our Liberty Village down town Toronto office. Working in Mac platform, with Adobe CS 5.5. Starting in early may and running straight through until the end of August. This position pays $1000 / month. There is the possibility to earn more money with trade shows, events and staff events.

The ideal candidate will have 2 to 3 years of schooling under their belt, have a passion for beer, both domestic and imported. Enjoy the freedom of an open concept office space. Be able to manage the custom pos program as well as any other design tasks that we can throw at you (ie.) Maps, ppt slides, social media advertisements, t-shirts & uniforms, banners, tent cards, posters and menu’s…

The possibilities are endless, but I warn you now, this isn’t for the faint of heart or the fair weather friend. The hours will fill up quickly, the learning curve is both steep and unforgiving but ultimately rewarding.

Gather up your portfolio, cover letter and resume and e-mail them directly to:
Mark.Holyome@moosehead.ca

Interviews are slated to begin the week of April 21st – 25th, 2014.

Spread the word far and wide, and get a foot in the door with a great Canadian family owned business. Learn the ropes of in-house graphic design, and work as part of an extensive marketing team spanning from coast to coast, the USA and Quebec.

Good luck to you all.
-M

In the spring I had been watching various different Youtube videos on air brushing and resin model kits (Godzilla®, King Kong®, and some supremely well crafted Predator® kits that were being produced out of Thailand). I really wanted to get back into air brushing and tried to track down a model kit of modest price on my own. I did not succeed, but then, our friend announced she was headed to China for the summer and I asked her, if she were out and about one day, and it didn’t impede on any other events she wanted to undertake, could she look for a model kit of King Kong® or some other such hollywood creature when on a walk about. So several weeks passed, and we were not in contact, but I felt the urge to look around Markham to see what I could see. Well not much luck in the few places I was looking, but I found a Warhammer 40K® titan robot model, which I promptly built and thoroughly enjoyed putting together.

So off to Amazon.ca I fled in search of another robot, and there I found (re-discovered) Gundam model kits from Bandai. I remember seeing these when I was younger and wondering “How on earth do you fit such a massive robot in such a flat box?”, well let me tell you, it’s because they come shipped to you in about 500 pieces and you get to assemble the whole lot yourself with instructions written in Japanese. So, obviously as a youth I didn’t care for the idea of spending money on a model kit and then either losing pieces to my family’s dogs, or losing interest in it and not bothering to finish. I guess now that my day job consists of multi faceted projects, and a myriad of shifting project needs, I now have the attention span and desire to spend 10 – 30 hours working on these incredible mechanical items.

And my God there are so many of them!, so many different shapes and sizes, which meant I had to do a bit of reading and research to figure out the whole HG, MG, PG kit ratings. Although to be honest I started with a 1/72 scale Armored Core item from Kotobukiya which nearly drove me crazy. Those pieces are so damn small!! My manual dexterity is in the toilet. But I spent around 9 – 11 hours on that Armored core item and was really proud to get those couple of hundred pieces together.

A new obsession is born. After that kit, I went on to build a whole slew of other items:

1/60 Strike Freedom Lightening Edition • 1/72 Valkarie Macross • 1/60 GAT-X105 Strike • 1/100 Sinanju Stein • 1/100 EXS Gundam • 1/100 Hi-Nu Gundam • 1/100 Nu Gundam • Just starting a 1/100 Geara Doga with a 1/100 MSN 04 Sazabi Ver Ka on the way.

Needless to say I’ve taken to this hobby. I will admit to never having watched the show in any of its iterations. I tried to watch one of the movies on Youtube, but I just couldn’t get into it. This is really something you can dive in to though, holy cow! You can lose yourself in hours of details if you want to. There are pistons and wires, and joints and plates you can mess with, not to mention those modellers who create battle damage or dioramas. It can get pretty insane, and depending on how obsessive you are, it can be a long journey. Hence, a long walk to Mecha. A not to subtle knock on the pilgrimage to Mecca, but not really. More of an interesting head line than anything else really. I digress.

The culmination of this model building was to be a full on 1/60 scale resin mecha model kit. I went through G-System Best (did not have a good experience with them), and ordered an AGX-04 Gerbera Tetra that looks pretty awesome. See images below.GBT 1 GBT 2 GBT 3

Now the on-line spec’s list a few things which once received, proved to not be true: (a) This item was not cast in multiple colours as advertised, it all came in tan resin. (b) the electro plated thrusters were in plain resin, with no plating on them. (c) the pre-assembled NewG internal structure came in pieces not in a separate gift box. (d) I ordered on Oct 4th, had a shipping notice on Oct 10th, and then by Dec 1st, 2013 I had not received anything. So I wrote back to them again asking after my order (realize that paypal lists your address and details for vendors to see) and had to supply them with my address and shipping details for the fifth or sixth time. But I will say this, after the second set of emails asking for my item it arrived from Hong Kong in six days.

The only kit that I have tried to paint was the 1/100 EXS Gundam: Below you’ll find a few of the steps I took. It turned out ok, but if I could do it over again I would paint the white pieces individually, rather than on the sprue (worked great for the few blue items). And I would have painted in a spot with far better ventilation. I also didn’t bother with too many of the stickers. It was my first time with Dry Transfers, and I should have practiced first, because I came away with some good chunks of the logos on my fingers from handling them improperly.

Which reminds me, I am scared to death of the Photo Etch parts that came with my GSB order, oh my!

All in all I’d say it is a fantastic hobby, if you are trying to maintain some sort of manual dexterity, working on your focus, or just trying to do something physical where you can see the advances you make daily. I work in a digital setting on a computer, so having a physical item constructed right in front of me is a great feeling that i don’t get much of on a day to day basis. Also fun fact, learning to follow instructions in a foreign language you can neither read nor understand is a great way to let off steam, once you begin to rant and rave!

Later – M


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