Sam Johnstone's digital workspace.

A place to put new work, design writing and links for posterity.


New Work


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Rose Colour Study

New Work — November 2019

A little colour study. I wanted to draw something with pastoral linens, since they crumple and fold in really blocky, interesting ways.

Lamplighter Sketch

New Work — November 2019

A new lamplighter sketch that I started this a few months ago and dusted off and reworked over the last few nights. I spent so much time growing up trying to forcibly define a drawing style, and now I feel like I can’t really break away from it. Thinking back, I was desperate for a style so that I could draw faster, more reliably, more consistently, and now I feel like I spend so much extra energy fighting against the techniques I’ve gradually developed that I am not saving any time or any effort at all.

Arcana Arcana 0-XXI

New Work — August 2019

Here’s the second image from the Arcana Arcana illustration series I’ve been working on in my spare time. It’s the first card in the deck – The Fool, characterized in the following way:

The Fool represents new beginnings, having faith in the future, being inexperienced, not knowing what to expect, having beginner’s luck, improvisation and believing in the universe.


Arcana Arcana III-XXI

New Work — July 2019

I’ve been working on a new personal illustration series based on the Major Arcana cards in the Rider-Waite tarot deck. At the beginning of last year, Night Shift was commissioned to design and illustrate a set of Major Arcana cards based on their properties for HBO Canada. It was one of my favourite projects from last year, and I had a lot of fun with the process of adapting a new creative concept to an existing conceptual structure, in this case, tarot cards.

So here is the first illustration from Arcana Arcana; I’m not going in any particular order, and the series may not contain the complete set of 21 cards (I will probably regret numbering them). The imagery is an extension of the Lamplighters series I began earlier this year, but I’m trying to be conceptually looser than I am by nature.

Lamplighters – Part 1

New Work — May 2019

There are a couple ideas in illustration I always come back to. I’ve been using the title Lamplighter for a variety of different illustrations since I think around 2010. In this iteration, I’ve been introducing a variety of herons, specifically the Great Blue Heron, Great Egret and Little Blue Heron, intertwined with lonely figures in isolation as a part of an ongoing personal illustration project.