Gavin McCarthy is a freelance illustrator and graphic artist. This blog is a collection for various sketches, experiments and new work. Comments are always welcome and encouraged. All blog content © Gavin McCarthy

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Friday, 6 March 2015

Mergers and Greetings - Animating for a Corporate Law Firm.

Last year a good friend and colleague Benjamin Rivers, who was busy with his new game Alone With You, referred me to a client he had worked with for years. I was both flattered and terrified that I was to be vouched for in such a long standing relationship, especially considering the client was a very reputable corporate law firm. I am happy to say that one project turned into two and both jobs went very well.

The first project was an animated seasonal greeting for Torys LLP. The final animation needed to find a sensitive way of portraying the charity they had contributed to for that year while also being somewhat fun and uplifting. I learned that doing a panning shot in Flash is tricky but possible and I am very pleased with the end result.

The second project was slightly less whimsical in it's purpose and presentation as it was a series of animated info-graphics that helped illustrated market predictions in Torys' Mergers and Acquisitions report for 2015. This project presented some other interesting design tricks to work out for the "suspended die cut" style I wanted to use. Overall I am very happy with this one as well.

The teams on both projects were a pleasure to work with and I would happily work with them again. I also had the added benefit of challenging myself to try some new approaches in both animations and learning a great deal in the process.

Let me know what you think

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

We can Redraw Him... Better, Faster Stronger... (Learning the Boards)

As promised, here is my first installment in my attempt to get my blog caught up on my work over the past few months. I think first off I will talk about my work as a storyboard artist.

I have had some experience boarding in the past (the drawing kind, not the surf, snow or skate ones, I have no skills in those departments). However, most of my experience was for myself or side projects as well as a fairly strong understanding of sequential narrative from my work in comics. Over the last year I have been working on building a portfolio and client base and I am happy to say that I have a fair number of project under my belt now. It's an odd feeling to be watching TV and have an ad you worked on pop up, it's like extreme déjà vu or commercial clairvoyance. Here are a couple examples

Here is one I did for a First Choice Haircutters ad (one of my first full advertising boards). Here are a few panels and a sample of the final spot. This ad has a couple variants with different genders and ages.

You can check out the final video Here

Next is one I did for a Life Brand advertisement. This one has a stronger sense of tone and space. It was also helpful to have some really good reference shots from the location scouting that was done prior to my work on the project.

Overall I am really enjoying the work and have gotten a good feel for the pace I need to render. My work storyboarding has also been a fantastic drawing exercise as I am being forced to draw scenes/objects/poses that I usually would never think to draw. I look forward to showing off more of the boards as the projects get launched.


Friday, 27 February 2015

Emerging from the Mound

Hello Everyone!

It has been waaaaaaaaay too long since my last post. So long that I would not blame you for thinking I had fell off the planet or been lost to the Bermuda Triangle. The real reason I have been neglectful of my little blog here is that I have been tunneling my way out of a mound of work and projects.

I have been very fortunate over the past few months to have a generous amount of jobs come my way and some opportunities to work with some fantastic people.

Over the next few posts I will go in depth on some of these projects and also announce some projects that I will be working on this year.
Until then, Cheers!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Monster Sketches

So last night I was playing around in my sketchbook waiting for some water to boil and decided I would sketch some monsters with a tech-pen. After I was finished up with cooking and eating our meal I continued drawing while watching a gloriously bad sci-fi movie staring Mark Dacascos (that guy from Iron Chef America). Here are three of my favourites.

I might do some more monsters soon or perhaps explore these ones some more.
Hope you enjoyed them

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

MEGA POST - Web Comic - Mythic Disappointment (and some other drawings)

It has been a while since my last post and even longer since my last comic. Because of this, I thought I would do a nice, big post with a new comic and some things you who might have missed from my Twitter posts.

The following comic was created from a transcript of an actually conversation I had with my wife last Friday. And yes, I was genuinely sad.

Next is a new self portrait I made for all my various interaction. It was either this or a wedding photo.

And here is what I would look like in (and how I would survive) the apocalypse.

One day this month I asked the Twitter cloud to give me some suggestion on what to draw. Brian McLachlan suggested I draw either a dragon octopus or mermaid Captain America. So I did both.

And here are a couple drawings I did the other week because the internet needed some happy vibes. One is a BadAss Orange (based off a doodle by Myriame Pilgrim). The other is my dog and his joy of finding cheese.

And there you have it, most of my fun drawings this month. Once some of my work related drawings are published I will be sure to post about them. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @Artbygavin and enjoy what's left of your summer.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Torontaru and the Quest for Nice Folks

I don't get out much. This is not because of social anxiety, shyness or a grumpy disdain for other humans, but merely a byproduct of working from home. I get out frequently enough with friends but really never had that group of comrades one gets from a studio environment or similar to that of my college years. I had been searching for this for some time but I was having trouble finding that social "je ne sais quoi".

It was discouraging to not have a "group" I could talk about work, life, food or whatever. Where I could socialize and meet new people, compare drawing/animating tricks, hear about interesting projects they where working on, weekend adventures... I felt like a nomadic high school student trying to find a club.

Then this purple, inebriated octopus came into my life.

About a year ago Kris Piotrowski (Capy), Marie-Christine Bourdua (Polytron) and Renaud Bédard (Capy) made this thing called "Torontaru". It was inspired by a casual social night for game developers that they had attended in Japan called "Otaru". I had already been going to game development events, collaborations and presentations and caught news of this new social night.

When I arrived I was immediately greeted by Marie-Christine as if I was a childhood friend she had not seen in years even though we never officially met until that night. This welcoming wave continued throughout the evening with everyone I met and I knew I was in the right place. Since then I have attended each one and have met some incredibly friendly, talented people, many of whom I have became friends with.

Torontaru recently celebrated it's first year anniversary. I was trying to think of something I could do to say "thanks" and that's when I was approached to design a new logo (obviously I said "yes"). I was nervous because Dominique Ferland did such a great job on the first one, but I took my best crack at it and think it came out quite nice. I also made this little announcement animation just for kicks.

If you are in the Toronto area and looking for a fantastic evening to spend with the game development community and friends, then be sure to check it out. Additionally, I must add as a beer drinker, Get Well is a great bar with a awesome beer selection, friendly staff and arcade cabinets. Details can be found at...
Twitter: @torontaru


Thursday, 3 July 2014

My Return From Europe

It's OK... I'm alive. Some time has passed since my last post as I have recently been gallivanting around Europe with my lovely wife. We traveled for a little over two weeks and visited London, Paris, Amsterdam and Bruges. It was a packed 16 days of sights, sounds, smells and experiences. Here are a few images from the trip. Not many drawings but lots of sights.
I will be annoying my friends and family for years with stories from this adventure. Thanks to my wife for putting this all together, she might need to consider tourism as second career.

I was lucky to come home to some very fun projects and can't wait to show some of them. Now that I have gotten my routine back in order I should be posting more often.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Toronto Game Jam 2014

This past weekend was the Toronto Game Jam 2014, otherwise referred to as TOJam 9. For those unfamiliar, this is a weekend collaboration that brings together people working/interested in the game industry to create something (anything) in three days.

I was a graphics "floater" (a name that usually gets a giggle out of the more juvenile part of my brain), meaning that I would wander about like a helpful art-hobo. I got to work with some very talented folks on some interesting projects. Here is a selection of work.

This is the cover image I did for Alex Hayter's narrative game LEIF.  The game focuses on a young boy interacting with a training simulator for his predetermined job as a janitor. Thing is, the world isn't really what is use to be, the computer just didn't get the memo. Check it out at

Next is a one of a couple backgrounds I designed for a fighting game called Fight Club Sandwich. The team Funky See Funky Do were super ambitious and had some great little bits of humor going on. I am really looking forward to seeing how the game polishes up and will post a link once I get one.

Last but not least was some goofy fun for Jason P. Kaplan featuring a game with graphics composed entirely of Jon Remedios (with Jason as the enemy to thwart). Apparently word got around that Jon has a slightly healthier than normal sense of worth, those word ended up on a T-Shirt and spread like wild fire. This made for one of the funniest things I have ever been witness to, so naturally I had to partake. I will post a link once the game is ready.

I have to say, this was one of the most entertaining and productive TOJams I have every been to. There were some fantastically impressive games from some very hard working people. I need to point out the generosity of the organizers, volunteers and sponsors. Without them the weekend would have fallen apart, thanks again.

To learn more about the Toronto Game Jam, visit and check out for a selection of the games.
Until next time

Friday, 4 April 2014

3 Things I Learned Watching Masters of the Universe

Last night I had the pleasure of watching the live-action Masters of the Universe movie with some cool folks. I have seen this movie many times but never noticed some interesting details brought to light by the group I was with. I thought I would share some of them the best way I know how.

Hope you found this educational, you should really check it out if you have never seen it.
Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

New Work - Chris Hadfield Mission Patch

Good afternoon everyone

So I have some new work today and this piece is for a show I am participating in this weekend. The show is called Canadian Icons and it will be at the Leslie Jones (1182 Queen St E, Toronto) this Sunday from 3-6pm.

When thinking of who I would like to do a portrait for the first person to come to mind was Chris Hadfield, and not just because of his recent popularity. You see, as a kid I really, REALLY wanted to be an astronaut. I loved everything about space exploration and would go to lectures held by astronauts like some kind of space groupie. I have had the pleasure of seeing Col. Hadfield speak on a few occasions (before he commanded the ISS) and actually got to meet him once. Although I never decided to pursue a career as an astronaut his inspiration to always aim high and never give up has carried into my other pursuits.
So I thought it only fitting to use the skills that my inspired dedication has helped grow to create a tribute to someone who I feel is a modern, Canadian Icon.
Let me know what you think and if you are free this Sunday please come on out.