First Coin Design for the Royal Canadian Mint!

Soooo, guess what? Yeah thats right… I’ve been MINTED! I can’t tell you how proud and honoured I feel to have designed my first COIN for the Royal Canadian Mint. Not in a million years (as a small town west coast island girl) did I ever think this would happen, and I’ve been bursting at the seams with this little secret for the past YEAR. The final product may be small in physical size, but it is definitely one of the BIGGEST highlights to my career thus far. 

As you know my usual subject matter is much more nature oriented, but this was a really interesting challenge to do. I have a full history around boats and ships… everything from growing up around or on the water most of my life, to my parents being involved with the Merchant Navy and Cruise Ships, and even my great great great uncle worked on and survived the sinking of the Titanic! I grew up hearing many maritime stories, and was surrounded by shipping paraphernalia so I certainly felt a familiarity with it. 

This totally unique shaped, special edition, 2oz pure silver, commemorative coin is designed to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the St.Lawrence Seaway (you can even see my tiny initials at the bottom right). It was definitely difficult trying to envision what my drawing would actually look like as an engraved coin during the process, but the engravers did such an incredible job and brought it to life! THANK YOU so much to the Royal Canadian Mint for including me in their collections. There are only 2,000 made so I’m ordering mine right now. Haha!! 

Ebb and Flow - Colouring Page

Decided it was time to revisit an old friend, and an integral part of our rugged, rocky landscape.

Bull kelp is still one of my favourite marine plants. It grows and thrives in rough coastal waters literally ‘growing’ with the flow of the current. It's held down by a little root ball that anchors it to the ocean floor. The stem then grows and reaches towards the surface from 30 to 60 feet long at a rate of up to 10” per day! It eventually enlarges and forms a single, round float with many as 30 to 64 long thin blades that grow from it to form a golden brown canopy on the water's surface… perfect for creatures to hide in, or to use as an anchor to stop them from drifting too far (like sea otters do).

You often see piles of bull kelp on the beaches after the winter storms tear the kelp from the seafloor, washing it ashore. Kids drag them around as little beach pets, and my puppy is always trying to eat it... and then often throwing up later so I’m not a fan of that part. Haha! I love how they gracefully move in the water, their blades like mermaid hair.

Look out for it is this months Tofino Time magazine.  I haven’t included this one in my new colouring posters, but maybe next print run! Enjoy!

colourpage_ebbflow_72dpiweb.jpg

West Coast Swell - Colouring Page

I’m a little blown away that it’s the end of March already. Feels like this winter was pretty amazing. Only 6 weeks of stormy weather this year, falling during that stretch when Finlea, my older daughter, came home for Christmas. She only barely ‘tolerated’ boat life so the stormy stretch was Murphy’s Law like timing. Now being almost April, and I feel the urge to decorate the boat with spring flowers and hopefully soon start slapping some Cetol on the cabin sides. I also get to show you all a BIG SECRET next week that I’ve been holding close to my chest for a YEAR now.

This colouring page was taken from a poster illustration I did recently for this years CSA Canadian Surf Nationals competition. I had some fun colouring it so I figured you would too.

colourpage_westcoastswell_72dpiweb.jpg

The 'Otter Side' of Tofino

Yes I know… the river otters again, but they’re so cute to watch until they start crapping all over the dock. I still love them. The last few days, as I have returned from the shower, they’ve just sat there... blocking my passage to the boat. They stare at me as if to say, “where do you think YOU’RE going?”  I don’t back down. I just snap back at them... “move over varmits, mind your manners!” There are 5-7 of them at a time... a pretty big wharf rat pack if you ask me. I think it’s time I give them names.

These characters HAVE had me thinking how cool dock life is down here at Fourth Street though, and it is about time I gave you all an introduction to the ‘otter’ side of Tofino (har har)… the side that isn’t often thought about when you think about this magical place. Tofino (according to Google images and most media articles) is a place of wilderness and mile long beaches, beautiful sunsets, clustered specks of surfers in the waves and world class food. It is a tourism destination for sure, and a perfect place to unplug and get out of one’s busy city life. Visitors to Tofino flock here from all over the world, saving their pennies for months for their annual (or singular) visit, and they need to book ahead (like MONTHS) or they will be out of luck for prime accommodation here. Annual rainfall aside, I never to take for granted my daily beach walks, or dockside sunrises and sunsets, as it fills my creative well on a daily basis.

Fourth Street Docks inhabit a micro-culture of its own here in Tofino. For wildlife, we have river otters (as you well know by now), raccoons, sea lions, eagles, ravens, crows, seagulls, kingfishers, swallows and a myriad of other birds (of which my daughter’s besties Cedar and Toby are the local birders and can tell you more than I can). We even have Orcas visit the harbour on occasion too which can be a treat in itself.

Wildlife aside, there are many interesting people with really unique backgrounds and cultures of their own too. We have a whole dock full of crab fishermen who are up before the crack of dawn, and still going well into the evening. You’d never guess you were in Tofino when their day is wrapping up as the smells of spices in their cooking and the chatter and laughter on the docks at the end of the day makes you feel like you are stepping into another country. In the summer months there is a constant coming and going of sport fishing and whale watching boats. Gangs of eager tourists in their big floater suits with their “zoot, zoot, zoot…” (like a loud pair of corduroys) sound is all you hear when that wall of bright red comes piling down the dock. We have a brilliant silversmith who makes beautiful First Nations jewelry on his boat, THE Tofino choir conductor and her little dog Peepa, heaps of oyster farmers, T’aaq-wiihak/Commercial fishermen, as well as smaller dinghies and skiffs from offshore and/or off grid families who commute to Tofino regularly or head off to other islands for work. Our finger is usually pretty quiet (except for the otters and the guys who head off to Vargas to build the new Cedar Coast Field Station each morning), but in the summer months bigger sailboats and power boats will start to show up. Only the hardy ones come here as it is a really long way from the popular cruising grounds of the east coast of Vancouver Island. Oh… and there is Luke and Maddy who are running the harbour and navigating this eclectic crew of people (bring them donuts…really… they deserve it). I am sure I am forgetting a TON of people (sorry if you are reading this and I missed you), but these are the ones I see most regularly down here and came to mind. I could easily go into more detail but I am by no means a writer and I wouldn’t do them justice! Essentially, Tofino Harbour may seem quiet compared to everywhere else in town, but it is a busy working harbour. Between the float planes, and all the boats zipping off to wherever they are going, there is no end to entertainment down here. This is my home and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

So here are some otters… and a cameo of my ‘six knot studio’. ;) This colouring page can be downloaded for free here or on Tourism Tofino’s website, as well as in the pages of Tofino Time magazine’s March edition. Enjoy!

Black and White - Colouring Page

Killer Whales, Orcas, or Kakawin (in Nuu-chah-nulth) are making headlines these days. The Southern Resident Killer Whales (comprised of J, K and L pods) that live in the waters off BC’s Gulf Island’s and Northern Washington are threatened. With their populations dwindling, efforts are being made to educate the public on how to help protect these beautiful creatures. Threats include toxins in the ocean, noise pollution and reduced Chinook salmon stocks (their preferred diet). In the spirit of #oceanoptimism, some ways you can help the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) : https://www.whaleresearch.com/orca-conservation

Here in Clayoquot Sound we often get visited by Bigg’s (Transient) Orcas. Unlike the larger family groups of Resident Whales (which show up on rare occasion), Bigg’s Orcas travel in smaller family groups and hunt marine mammals (seals, sea lions, porpoises etc.). Sometimes, we are lucky to get front row seats as they cruise by Tofino Harbour!

I decided to celebrate these beautiful marine mammals for February’s colouring page. Keep an eye out in next months Tofino Time magazine and on the Tourism Tofino website.

Globe Sustainability in Business Expo - HSBC Project

Last winter I had the opportunity to paint live at the HSBC booth at the Globe Sustainability in Business Forum and Expo in Vancouver BC. Pin Point Productions did a great job time lapsing the 3 day event. This is only a small part of it but you can see there sure were a ton of squats done over that weekend. Simply amazed at how 22 hours of painting can be condensed to 45 seconds! Wish I could work that fast… haha!!

Logo Design Process + Pricing Guide

The work that goes into a good logo is understandably a mystery to most people. My goal as a designer is to come up with a concept that contains the most amount of meaning to you in the least amount of elements, effectively creating a clean design that represents your business in the most memorable way to your clients or customers. In order to help you understand whats actually involved, I decided to break it down so you’ll have a better understanding of my process. I know it may seem like a fairly broad range, but generally most of the logos I have done can take from 15-40 hours ($900+) with the average small business being between 15-20 hours ($900-$1200). After you've taken a gander at the following, please feel free to fill out my branding questionnaire (button at the end) so I can get a clear idea of your project!


PROCESS 

STEP 1: CONCEPT AND CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT // 4-6 HOURS

This is the research stage of the process. I go through your questionnaire where I learn more about your business history, design requirements, personality. I’ll check out your Pinterest links or instagram. I will create mood boards for my reference, where I will collect ideas until I have an A-ha moment!

STEP 2: SKETCHING + INITIAL CONCEPT PRESENTATION // 4-5 HOURS

This is the fun part for me. I get out my pencils and paper, or my iPad and I will scribble and doodle some ideas. Don’t worry… I won’t show you a napkin with a bunch of scribbles on it. I will clean 3-4 initial concepts up nicely for you and then send them to you via email.

** REVIEW FEEDBACK, MODIFICATIONS AND REVISIONS **

Changes and modifications and re-formatting. This is where I would repeat the previous step or move forward. Time is dependent on amount of work.

STEP 3: LAYOUT AND ASSEMBLY // 6 - 12 HOURS

Once you (and/or) your team has had a chance to review the designs and have chosen your favourite, I’ll then take that and render it (drawing any illustrated components if applicable). After that I will carefully select fonts (or hand script) and work on the layout, initial ‘brand’ colour choices. I will then format 2-3 versions to present to you.

** REVIEW FEEDBACK, MODIFICATIONS AND REVISIONS **

Changes and modifications and re-formatting. This is where I would repeat the previous step or move forward. Time is dependent on amount of work.

STEP 4: FINAL FORMATTING

Here is where I take your new logo, and format it in a variety of formats for different uses (print and web). See deliverables below.

OTHER // 2-3 HOURS

Client communications and meetings. I am always happy to keep the lines of communication wide open so if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.


DELIVERABLES

What you’ll receive when it all done!

  • Unlimited usage rights - this means you can use on any media (print, web, signage, apparel and other merchandise etc.) for an indefinite amount of time.

  • 2-4 Colour Versions (where applicable) - Full colour, Greyscale, Black (single colour), and white (singe colour) for overlay on colour or images.

  • Print and Web formats - Vector PDF (for print media, indefinitely scalable), high resolution (300dpi) JPEG and transparent background PNG (for print), low resolution (72dpi) JPEG and PNG for web use in all the versions.

  • Brand Style Guide with colour codes (CMYK, RGB, Web Safe RGB), font names, and file reference.Any Fonts that are ‘purchased’ for your logo will be extra, but I don’t often need to do that unless you are set on a particular font I don’t have.

  • All files will be uploaded to a Dropbox folder for you to download. If you would like me to save the files on a USB stick, please provide one at your convenience or I can pick one up and add it to the invoice.

Let me know if this falls within your budget, or if you do have a budget in mind please let me know and I can see if I can work within it. The button below is a little homework for you… a branding questionnaire that you can fill out and send back to me at your convenience. The more information I can get initially, the more efficient the design process will be. :)

“We had the pleasure of working with Claire at Tourism Ucluelet for a rebranding project to refresh our logo of our major resort town in Western Canada. After an in-depth RFP process we narrowed down our search to Claire. She delivered outstanding communication, amazing work on time, and on budget. She is top notch talent you can rely upon when doing important work at the highest levels. It does not get any better and we could not recommend her enough!”

— Brent Hohlweg - Tourism Ucluelet Marketing Manager

Winter Hideaway - Colouring Page

Happy New Year! As the holiday season wraps up, many of us in these cold, damp and stormy climates start dreaming of 25 degrees, warm bones and a hefty shot of vitamin D. It is also a time to clear the slate, and buckle down and prepare for the upcoming season. With lots of new projects happening in 2019, I am definitely looking forward to this year (although those who know us know we always seem to be in a state of flux)! Thank you all for your support in 2018 and prior, and I wish you all a fresh new year full of juicy adventures, wild experiences, wow moments, big changes, creative mind blows and general awesomeness!  

Here is a peaceful underwater scene for your colouring pleasure… a little more chill than the stormy surface it had been lately here on the west coast!

colourpage_rockfish_72dpiWEB.jpg

'Tis The Sea-Son Colouring Page

River Otters. We have a gang (or ‘romp’) of about 6 or 7 otters that hang out on the docks here at 4th street. They can be an intimidating at times as they don’t scare easily and are very familiar with all the folks down here… not to mention they seem to enjoy making messes on everyones boats. I discovered something interesting about them today though… did you know that River Otters sometimes eat BIRDS? I startled one this morning munching its breakfast on the dock. I couldn’t recognize what kind of bird it was but it was brown, and almost the size of the otter itself. It stared me down for a while, then quickly grabbed its breakfast and plopped back into the ocean so I could pass.  

This holiday themed colouring page is dedicated to my furry little ‘friends’ that are part of the population of 4th street dock. My instagram video the other day showed a darker side of them, so I figured I otter lighten it up!

Happy Holidays everyone!

colourpage_xmasotters_72dpiWEB.jpg

Inktober 2018

Starting a few years back a cool illustrator named Jake Parker started an Inktober Project. The purpose of this project was 31 days and 31 [ink] drawings based on different prompts through the month of October. Each year people post their #inktober drawings on instagram and other social media platforms, and every year I just watch and get inspired by them. This year I decided it was time to take on the challenge myself and here are a few of mine. I only made it about 21 this year (you can see them all on my Instagram feed @clairewatsonart), but I plan to make it to the end in 2019!!!

Coastal Ravens - Colouring Page

A little break from Inktober madness for a colouring page as we have storm force winds heading our way today for the first storm of the season. I figured its getting time to cozy up with some pencils and get at it. Drawing line work on a rocking boat provides its own challenges, but I still enjoy looking out the wheelhouse windows and seeing the weather stir up the clouds and the seas. I always know storms are coming as there are flocks of grounded seagulls on the breakwater. Around the docks you’ll find plenty of birds… Seagulls, Crows, Ravens, Eagles, Kingfishers, Herons as well as a ton of smaller birds. Ravens are one of my favourites. They are beautiful and mysterious birds, but don’t turn your back on them. They are known to unzip back packs, open coolers and take your snacks away. Smart as a whip these tricksters are!

colourpage_ravens_72dpiWEB.jpg

Surf Season in Tofino - Colouring Page

This weekend kicks off surf season in Tofino with the annual Queen of the Peak surf competition, so I felt it fitting to embrace the oncoming big wave season for October’s colouring page. Sisterly shredders come from far and wide to take part in this women’s only surf competition, inspiring young girls to get out there and have some fun in the waves. I’m just happy enough to sip my coffee on the beach and watch them rip (MUCH warmer... haha)!

 〰️

Sure the ocean seems ‘blue’, but if you look closely it is full of colours. There are hues of sunny day blues and greens, stormy shades of dusky grey, or the reflections from boats and land. My personal favourites are the early morning purples, as well as the pink and orange sunsets! What are yours? This page will be in October’s Tofino Time magazine, the Tourism Tofino website and my own website so have some fun with it and let’s see what you come up with? #tofinocolour

colourpage_surf_72dpiWEB.jpg

September Steller Sea Lions - Colouring Page

This summer has been a bit of a whirlwind and I cannot believe I am working on Septembers page already. I do apologies for August's LACK of page in Tofino Time. Between my brief holiday escape and some important articles that needed the space, I missed a month! No worry... back on track here. #tofinocolour

stellerseptWEB.jpg

BC Ferries - Sea Forward Activity Book Project

BC Ferries contracted me to illustrate an activity book, a colouring mural, and a tent backdrop for their Sea Forward program.

SeaForward is a program that “brings BC Ferries’ existing environmental activities, conservation projects, community investments, and new sustainability endeavors together under a single umbrella. SeaForward’s goal is to effectively communicate BC Ferries’ efforts to reduce our environmental footprint, improve the sustainability of our operations, and support coastal communities.”

This book was given to children of all ages at all the major British Columbia ferry terminals. The goal of this book is to help educate kids about BC Ferries environmental protection efforts in a fun and ‘colourful’ way.

All Good Things Are Wild And Free

I have Salmon on the brain. It's inevitable at this time of year as Adam wakes up every morning before the crack of dawn to take guests out exploring Clayoquot Sound in search of Salmon, beach walking bears, whales, sea otters, bald eagles and other west coast critters. He loves to show people our back yard, and feels completely blessed that this is his 'work'. He comes home, all sun/wind or rain drenched and exhausted each day for about 90 days of the year, but still retains that enthusiasm to get up every morning during the season and introduce someone new to this beautiful place we are lucky enough to call home. This page is dedicated to him and all the other guides who put in the hours on the water, taking the time to educate people of the importance of protecting our coastline. If you are interested in donating to Salmon Enhancement Projects in Clayoquot Sound then please pop over to the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust and donate to the Clayoquot Sound Wild Salmon Fund.

In the meantime... Salmon may be varying versions of silver, but please feel free to colour my salmon with a little imagination in July's Tofino Time. #tofinocolour 

colourpage_wildfree_WEB.jpg

Celebrating Our Oceans - West Coast Colouring Page

World Oceans Day is coming up on June 8th, and it is a time to CELEBRATE our connection to the oceans no matter where we live. This months colouring page is inspired by just that. In the spirit of #oceanoptimism, I’d like to share what I LOVE about the ocean and why it is so important to me…

I have spent most of my life around or on the ocean and these are just some of the things that really stand out for me. The smell… all of them… even the stinky ones. The sound of eagles, wailing seagulls, whining crows, barking sea lions… even float planes and boats have a sound of people living and working on the sea. The excitement on small children faces as they fish off the dock for little perch. Fishing for and eating fresh caught wild salmon or cracking into Dungeness. Walking the beaches and watching the waves. Watching dogs race across the sand as they experience a true sense of freedom. Fond memories of sailing at night when pacific white sided dolphins come like rockets to a bow wake with phosphorescent fairy trails. The wind in my hair and the tangled mess it leaves behind. Paddle boarding in quiet bays where there are no people. Feeling the weather changes in the pressure of the air, and the water movement in the ebb and flow of the tides. Seeing whales jump and feed, or bears digging under rocks at the beach looking for snacks. Drawing ocean creatures and trying my best to capture the essence of them as best as I can (since I do not have gills of my own). Even my fair share of frightening moments on the ocean too… yet I come back for more. I feel so lucky to be living the life I have, and I have the ocean to thank for that.  

Whether we live on the coast or deep inland, the health of our oceans affects every one of us. Being aware of the value of our oceans and the current challenges that they face is our responsibility as human beings. With all the media out there talking climate change, ocean plastics, melting glaciers, oil spills and salmon farms it can be overwhelming. We can’t fix it all today, but we can pick one. Start with one. It is our responsibility to protect what we love and I feel the best way to do this is to inspire others to love and respect it too. I encourage all of you who haven’t seen the ocean, or who live deep within concrete walls to make a trip to the coast. It is the only true way to understand. It is only a matter of time before we reach the tipping point where little actions become normal behaviour and they impact the world in a positive way.  

colouringpage_tofino_whales_clairewatson.jpg

Birds Eye View - Colouring Page

I always default on ocean themes, but after spending a week at an Island (and bird sanctuary) in Mexico I have started to appreciate birds just that much more. I always know spring is coming when I hear the Robins in the morning. At the docks, we see Gulls, Crows, Ravens, KingFishers, Barn Swallows, Herons, Bald Eagles and so many more that I don't even know the names of (my daughters birding buddies would be able to list them all off). Bald Eagles are significant in so many first nations stories and legends across BC, and I love that we are lucky to see healthy populations of them here in Tofino and Clayoquot Sound.   

Feel free to download May's colouring page (a little early treat). It will also be in May's Tofino Time magazine. Enjoy! :)

TT_colourpage_may_eagles_72dpi.jpg

Globe Forum for Sustainable Business, Vancouver BC

Felt pretty excited when I was asked about painting a large 5' x 9' painting on site over 3 days for the Globe Forum in Vancouver last week for HSBC. Here is a few photos of the progress! It went really smooth as I did my best to make sure I was fully prepared. I finished one hour before the conference was over which was perfect timing. It was a nice change to head over to Vancouver and be a part of something like that. It was also really cool to hear peoples feedback... in such a technologically minded expo, having me painting live was meditative and relaxing. Stay tuned of the pro time lapse that was taken over the 3 days! I saw snippets and could see exactly why my legs hurt so bad... the amount of squats I did in 3 days was insane!!