2020 Grad Show

Dane Thibeault

AUArts Grad Show Dane Thibeault Headshot

VCD – Character Design & Illustration


I consider myself an all around designer, as my work ranges anywhere from children's books, to graphic and motion design. I am open to any type of project! I am passionate about design because growing up hearing impaired, effective visual communication during my school years made an enormous difference, and I would like to use my skills to positively impact others as well. My style is versatile, in that I let the needs of the specific project guide my approach. I work with both whimsical pen and ink drawing, as well as bold graphic shapes, depending on the message I am trying to communicate.

Birds... are Dinosaurs?

An ongoing series of illustrations for an illustrated book on the evolutionary relationships between therapod dinosaurs and modern birds. These illustrations combine traditional media(pen and ink) with digital colouring techniques to create a Darwin era ink and watercolour look. This project is representative of my favourite type of illustration to do, because a lot of my practice time is dedicated towards learning animal anatomy and developing my pen and ink technique.

Editorial Illustrations

A collection of editorial illustrations exploring politics/global affairs, science, and popular culture. Issues explored include controversial authoritarian world leaders, the current health crisis, and a more light hearted but still serious look at the effects of laziness. A mix of traditional and digital media were used in creating each of these works.

Graphic (Design) Illustration

I refer to my more shape-based vector design approach as graphic illustration, because it isn't quite graphic design, but it plays on the same principles of strong visual reads, abstraction, clear communication, and simplicity. I enjoy this type of illustration just as much as I do my pen and ink illustrations, and I often bring the two approaches together when appropriate. These illustrations are from assorted projects, but all display the same qualities of prioritizing shape design over fine details for clear communication.

Pattern Designs

A collection of pattern designs for various projects, including the dinosaur book and Paradise Lost book. I enjoy pattern design because it is an effective way of coming up with innovative solutions to visual communications problems. I have recently been exploring pattern design more because it challenges me to be less literal, and think more broadly about the themes and messages that I am trying to convey in my projects.

People/ Lifestyle Illustrations

A series of lifestyle illustrations for magazine articles, online blog posts, and other forms of advertising. These illustrations are more whimsical and stylized, incorporating elements of fashion illustration.

Party Animals

A series of whimsical animal illustrations aimed at younger audiences. My signature animal character style is to make the animals as anatomically accurate as possible, while still giving them some people features as well as people clothing. These are probably my favourite types of illustrations that I do.

Practice Makes a Superstar! (Children's Book)

Some sample images from the book dummy of my original children's book "Practice Makes a Superstar!", which tells the story of a young salamander named Wiley who dreams of being a famous singer like his hero Big Mel. When Wiley finds that his audition doesn't go well because he hasn't taken the time to learn how to sing, how to dance, or how to play an instrument, he takes Big Mel's advice and sets out on a journey to learn how to be a superstar. Wiley learns as a result of his journey that it is practice and perseverance that makes a superstar, not natural talent. This book is designed for children aged 6 to 8, but the nostalgic New Orleans/Memphis/Nashville type setting will appeal to older age groups such as grandparents as well.

Paradise Lost Book Illustrations

Illustrations for the cover of John Milton's 17th century epic poem Paradise Lost, which tells the story of Genesis and Adam and Eve. Throughout my time as an English major before AUArts I was assigned to read this book, and it is standard reading for University level literature classes. For this reason, the goal was to make the cover more appealing to this younger age group through the use of striking retro colours and bold graphic shapes that would stand out in a bookstore or online. Also included with the covers are an interior illustration, as well as samples of tarot cards designed to promote the book.

Sketchbook Samples

A selection of images from my various sketchbooks that show my thinking process, practice regimen, and media exploration. I feel most at home in my sketchbook, as its a place to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes. I spend most of my illustration time when I'm not working towards a project deadline developing my figurative/observational drawing skills, my handling of various media/tools, and developing a personal style. Much of my sketchbook work also includes life drawings of animals from the Calgary zoo, one of my favourite activities.

Celebrity Portraits

A series of illustrations of celebrities ranging from musicians to tv stars to fashion icons, activists, politicians and beyond. When I go about choosing subjects for my portraits, I often try to choose individuals that large groups of people will recognize (although not always), so that my stylistic decisions/interpretations of the subject can be compared and contrasted with other contemporary illustrators who are portraying the same individuals. This series experiments with different styles and digital media to capture the essence of the celebrities being portrayed. These illustrations are intended for editorial contexts, such as magazine/online articles, entertainment magazine profiles, blog posts, ect.