Sunday, December 25, 2011

Recent Work: Poster Designs on Conservation Of Resources

Along with the news that earth's population is now 7 billion comes the realisation that we all need to pitch in and use our resources with wisdom. We need to take measures to expend electricity, consume food and use water responsibly. This makes economic sense and it goes a long way to improve our lives. It also means there will be more to go around. If this makes sense when practiced by an individual, then it is no less sensible if observed on a larger scale.

The following designs are based on the conservation message. The designs were created on CorelDRAW X4. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Past Work: Portrait Paintings For My Sisters


A few years back, I made portrait paintings for my sisters, Arin and Oye. The paintings were oil on canvas with simple wood frames. I neglected to snap photos of the works on completion but later received these snapshots. Just my way of saying thanks to two wonderful women who have encouraged and supported me over the years. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Recent Work: 'Nigeria's Debt Hits N5.82 Trillion Naira' Cartoon

I read that Nigeria owes about N5.82 trillion, and this does not include state debts (Punch Newspapers, by Everest Emaefule). We have gotten so used to negative news about large sums of money we no longer realise how daunting these figures actually are, even in these times of economic distress.


The idea for this cartoon came to me as I read the news yesterday. For those unfamiliar with Nigeria's brand of locally fabricated English, the following translation should suffice.
Mother: My child, how many ten naira notes make up one trillion naira?
Son: I can not tell, mother.
Son (thought): I do not want you to suffer a heart attack.

On another note, as I upload this cartoon, I realise this is my 100th post. 100 updates! My appreciation goes to the readers of this blog. Readers from as far as Russia, India, the U.S., the U.K., South Korea, Germany and everyone else. Thanks to Google Analytics I can acknowledge your visit.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Recent Event: Reorganisation & Redesign Of My Blogs & Portfolios

I have reorganised my sites for more interesting viewing. All my relevant links can be found on my landing page at From there you can choose what you want to see or where you'd like to go. The attached image clearly explains this.

Thank you for visiting my site. I hope you always have a reason to keep coming. I promise to always have something new to show. Cheers!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Recent Work: 'Police Arrest Native Doctor' Cartoon

I read about the splendid work the Onitsha Police did over this weekend (Punch Newspapers, written by Emmanuel Obe). The culprits included a 'juju man' who provided supernatural protection for the armed thieves. Though armed robbery is a sad and serious matter, I found the superstition of the robbers and the moment of clarity, when they discover their faith in charms was futile, to be very funny. Hence this cartoon.
Copyright 2011 Olusola Akinseye.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Recent Work: Ancient Yoruba Character Designs

I am working on a project that requires period designs of six characters from the political and military life of ancient Yoruba culture. I found the Oba, Iyalode, Oluwo, Balogun, Eso and Ilari suitable for my purpose.

The pencil art has been ready over a year but I just had time to work on the painting.
I felt my first Iyalode design (below) was too modern. I decided to make her look more 'powerful' to reflect her political might (above).
All artwork copyright 2011 Olusola Akinseye

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Recent Work: Poverty And Hunger In Africa Cartoon

I just finished illustrating a cartoon about poverty and hunger in Africa. I based my concept on the wide difference between the abundance of the ‘Haves’ and the abject lack of the ‘Have-nots’. The visual might seem a bit distasteful for some, but I feel it aptly demonstrates the current state and expectation of the impoverished.

The first sketch captures the composition in profile. I later felt it was too tidy and I could have done a better job illustrating the obese man stuffing himself. A point of interest for me in this composition, is the reality of ‘trickle-down’ economics in third world society. That is, the improvement of the state of the poor is connected to what flows down from above. And we all know what flows downhill. 

The second composition took about 5 hours to complete.
I focused on visually displaying the supply difference: surfeiting against limited supply.

I did not want to resort to the common cartoon practice of sticking a label on the second man that reads ‘Africa’. I feel the observant viewer might instead notice the peculiar shape of his head.

Copyright 2011 Olusola Akinseye

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Past Event: My Struggle For Illustration Credit

These ink portraits were commissioned in 2003 (I think). Back then I did not get credit for my work. I sheepishly (and rebeliously) slipped in my initials into one of the portraits.


The illustrations were part of a commission for the biographies of two icons of Nigeria's history and politics- Sir Alhaji Amadu Bello and Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The later was reviewed in one of the nations newspapers and my artwork was praised. Unfortunately, the reviewer referred to me as 'the artist' as the book did not bear my illustration credit.

That event showed me how much damage I was incurring by not being credited. Shortly after, I totally refused to work for any client that (for whatever reason) would omit my credit in their publications. My new stance met with some resistance at first. One client insisted that I not work for any other publisher in other to be granted recognition for my works. But I have also meet clients that were even willing to add my contact details to my credits in their publications.

Today, about 50% of my commissions come from reference from past works. That's just one of the landmark events in my journey as a professional freelance illustrator in Nigeria.


Friday, September 30, 2011

Past Work: Tortoise Versus Elephant Illustration

One of the most popular tales about Ijapa (Yoruba name for Tortoise) is how he used his wiles to overcome the mighty Elephant. These illustrations were commissioned for a short retelling of the story.

Recent Work: Character Designs For Fairy Tale

I created some designs for a prospective commission featuring the ever troublesome Tortoise and his friend Rabbit in an adaptation of a well-told Yoruba folk tale. The designs were made in CorelDRAW X4.
 All the designs are copyright protected.

Past Work: Animals In Vector Illustration

I made several illustrations for a pre-primary text book several years ago. It was a chance to work in vector and I really enjoyed creating so many spot illustrations. Below are some of the animals in the book.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Recent Work: Colour Pencil Drawings

I have been busy with conceptual work in the past month and half- generating character designs for jobs I can not post just yet. I needed a break from digital art so I purchased a set of Crayola colour pencils and a sketch pad.

Its fun to draw on paper, I can't remember the last time I drew with coloured pencils! While the interest lasts, I will make as many sketches as possible.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Recent Work: The Wicked Witch Of The West

An interesting character in the popular tale The Wizard of Oz is the Wicked Witch of The West. She was made popular in the Judy Garland version of the movie adaptations.

Character design: I decided to draw her in the superhero genre as a villain. However, I veered from the old, green skinned, haggard looking wart-infested visage in popular culture. The WWOTW version 2.0 is an attractive looking woman consistent with comic book standards. You have to look into her eyes to catch a glimpse of the latent malevolence.
Her costume features tightly clad leotard, cape and even an exaggerated magic wand. Instead of the proverbial witch on a broom stick, I updated her means of transport to a redesigned vacuum cleaner fitted with propulsion jet pack.

Vector ‘painting’ technique: This is quite similar to the method I used on The Big Bad Wolf. An interesting thing happened during the design for the poster. I imported the on-going painting of the witch to see how the colours are in relation to the final design. During these tests, I discovered that I needed to mirror the witch on her Vacuum Cleaner 2000X to have a better composition. This is one of the advantages of vector illustration over the popular raster-based digital painting techniques.
Poster design graphics: The background clouds, compass graphic and lines are included on the final design. I also increased her face a little for a tighter composition.

Recent Work: The Big Bad Wolf

The tale of The Three Little Pigs is a very popular one, especially because of the villain of the story- the big bad wolf. I find it fun to retell the story in a different genre. This poser design features an adaptation of the tale in a gangland, film-noir-influenced concept. The pig brothers (Hayes, Woody and Rocky) are real estate moguls who are in conflict with an unnamed enemy. Enter the Big Bad Wolf aka The Huff and Puff Bounty Hunter with his Mega Blower gun. The hit is on.

Character design: The faces of the pig brothers feature in my design concept. Hayes is the pig that built his house with hay. He dons a straw hat and wears a holiday pattern shirt. He has a carefree attitude to life. Woody is conservative in his bowler hat and multicoloured bow tie. He built his house with wood. Rocky is more practical in his working man’s garb. His own house is made of stone.
The wolf is drawn in his mafia-hit-man-inspired hat and trench coat, his cold eyes peep from under his leather hat.
Vector ‘painting’ technique: I created each element of the final design separately and composed the poster in a new file. To make it easier to handle the complicated arrangement of vector shapes, I use layers. At first, I draw out the lines over my scanned pencil sketch and then draw shapes for the basic light and shades. Once I have enough to clearly define the object, I fill in the appropriate colours and add more shading using transparent graphics.
 Poster design graphics: When I finished painting the wolf and pigs, I create a template for the poster and import the finished illustrations into place. The border designs and graphic texts are placed and I am done. Of course, I had to try several colours until I was satisfied. The final poster design is slightly different from my initial idea, but I am happy with the result.