A local art collector contacted me a few weeks after the horrific Humboldt Broncos bus crash with an idea for a tribute / memorial piece that he wished to have me draw after he saw the memorial piece I had created.
His idea was to depict those lost as if they were ready to enter a hockey rink in heaven. The collector also requested that I honor the four lives lost from the Swift Current hockey team, in a similar event which occurred in 1986. He also requested likenesses of some famous NHL players who are also no longer with us.
Simply because of the amount of portraits that he wished to have incorporated into the drawing, the finished size quickly became the largest drawing I have ever done. The finished piece measures 40" x 30".
I began by story-boarding the design, which basically means I sketched out some fancy stick figures on a scrap piece of paper. Then I began my research.....
I wanted to accurately depict the lives lost in both bus accidents, so I started with a list of names, and checked the rosters of each team that were available online. The collector helped me out with this, trying to ensure that we had the right jersey numbers for the players.
I spent time reviewing the players stats, and noted their height, weight, and hair color. I looked at articles and photos which showed their faces. I noted whether or not they wore glasses, whether they had short hair or long, and other distinguishing features. So young, so sad. For the others who were not players, I noted many of the same things, I just didn't need jersey numbers.
I also had to retain a lawyer.... why, you might ask? Well, in order to utilize the team jersey logos, I needed permission from the various leagues to utilize their trademarked logos. I spent about two days trying to read and review Canadian copyright laws, but found it tedious, boring and extremely confusing. I also needed to draw up a contract between myself and the art collector which would protect both our interests.
I found a wonderful law firm in Regina who has specialized knowledge in both trademark and copyright law. I was blown away by the kindness and generosity of this law firm, especially the lawyer with whom I communicated. Her administrative assistant was also extremely kind and helpful. Long story short, my lawyer drafted an agreement for me, a trademark use request, and various addendum's that I was able to utilize in this situation, and will be able to use in the future. A huge "THANK YOU" to all those at MLT Aikins who assisted with my legal questions and needs.
Unfortunately, I never received a response from the SJHL or the CJHL. The NHL legal department was very diligent about responding, however, placed so many restrictions and conditions on the use of their logos, the art collector and I agreed that I would not incorporate any team jersey identifying information into the drawing. Definitely not a waste of time, because I learned a lot in the process.
The next step was to find professional grade drawing paper in a large format size. It's really important to have high quality, acid free, archival paper so the drawing does not deteriorate over time. Luckily, I was able to get what I needed from Blick Art Materials in the USA. I have ordered from them before, and they have everything that any artist could possibly want or need!
The art collector and I also discussed a series of limited edition prints. We agreed that the finished edition size needed to be large enough that details wouldn't be lost. Again, this required more research, as I had never offered prints of my work before. After a few days, I found a company in Victoria, BC who specializes in reproductions of artwork. I spoke at length with their sales department, and learned SO MUCH about the art world that I never thought that I would be good enough to be a part of. They were so helpful, and the quality of the work they produce is simply stunning. Check them out: Art Ink Print
With that step completed, I needed to get started on the drawing.... and ran into another hurdle. My drawing table and easel were too small to accommodate the project. As paper is flexible, I was also concerned that the surfaces I had available would transfer to the finished piece.... UGH. So, more research, more looking for solutions. I couldn't afford any of the high end drafting and