Emotional Hydrology

Why am I crying?

Why am I upset?

With the cold weather comes emotional instability. The feeling that I’m slowly drowning internally. I always wonder why that is? I actually like the snow, I find it beautiful and as a kid I think the winter months were something I was always excited about. The holidays were around the corner and that meant being able to see my family members and loved ones all in one place. However, the older I get the more that feeling of joy becomes a memory, something I’ll always cherish but will now rarely experience. For me, this is most likely due to unfortunate events occurring around this time of year. People tend to get sick and like spring with new life winter sadly tends to invite death and sickness into our homes. I don’t have a very close nit family, and it seems like over the years those connections have faded out of importance or just disappeared entirely. My grandparents were in a way the spider’s web which kept us all connected (whether we wanted to be or not), now that they’re no longer with us it’s made it a lot more difficult to keep those ties strong. People tend to focus most of their time on the people directly in front of them, myself included and because my family lives all across different parts of Canada it’s difficult to have that close friendship I wish we could all have. That being said, anyone who’s related to me will always have my support no matter what and I know for the most part that would be echoed back to me. Luckily most of the friends I made growing up have stayed in the city, so whenever I visit home I have them to lean on for support. They’re all family to me and I think for the longest time I wasn’t thankful enough for the amount of friendships I’ve kept going. Were not a huge group but we’ve all been friends for over a decade and that’s a rare thing to have. The only thing is that just like my family, I fear that eventually these friendships will suffer from the exposure of time as well. The idea that I will be completely alone seeps deeply into my mind. This drawing was a way to vent my frustrations with my emotional state during this season and to kind of help myself understand better why I’m upset. To try and push those unneeded feelings out. So I decided to mix the coldness and loneliness I feel presently with a happy memory which comes with the later change of season. As a kid I would make little paper boats and float them down the runoffs from the snowbanks melting in the spring. I’d follow them till the gutter and then repeat. Not all of them made it and some of them went over the falls but it was a simple thing that kept me entertained and made me laugh.


JFR -@illustratedconnection.com


See Gulls

Version 1:

Version 2:

During my holidays I want to play around with outlines of my favourite things and shapes to create minimalistic patterns. I needed a break from conceptualizing everything and just draw a thing or two purely for the fun and aesthetic of it. This is the first two I’ve made in a hopefully ever growing series. See Gulls was inspired by a photo that I took on the coast of Morocco of a huge flock of birds trying to catch their supper. There were so many in fact, that they practically covered up the ocean that flowed behind them. It’s a vivid memory that I will always love. I plan on printing this series on a long thin strip of paper and then block printing the original photo atop different segments of the pattern.


JFR -@illustratedconnection.com


Top floor please!

Not every thought or word we think of will make it to the top of our minds and seep into the world around us. There’s so many obstacles within us that create stops along the way that give us time to second guess ourselves. Once we do, we swallow our imagination making it difficult to recollect the ideas we’ve since lost. If only there was a way to make this journey easier and more direct. A way to express without an off ramp.

(digital, pen)

JFR -@illustratedconnection.com


Trajectory Chart

If only we could predict when we’re all going to crash and burn. That way we could stain the world with the footprint we choose to leave behind.

I decided to revise this old drawing and give it a bit more detail. I made this after seeing a mosquito that  had been freshly smeared across a white wall. A complete track detailing it’s time of death. The exact spot it was hit and then the spot that it was left to die. We all despise being bitten, me included, but I guess seeing this made me see it differently. I felt bad, I saw it as a life ended as opposed to a pest I wanted to get rid of. Was the blood on the wall mine? Was it the blood of multiple people? Where did the mosquito come from and how long was it alive? I had questions about when it was alive, because I knew how it died.

(ink, pencil, digital)

JFR -@illustratedconnection.com

Features of Ario

Sketchbook Entry:

August 28th, 2018

Features of Ario


Another fun one I had done before my first class of the year. Inspired from another user on SKTCHY. It’s great practice finding that specific detail of someones photograph which you can then focus on or accentuate, in this case I loved this persons rounded glasses and chose to start the sketch from there.

(ink, marker, digital)

JFR -@illustratedconnection.com

Fast Food

Fast Food.

Move those buns!

fast fooood a distored reality.jpg    Here’s a drawing I did a couple months ago while trying out different materials and digital apps. I’m slowly learning to mix my materials more often. With this drawing I thought it’d be fun playing with irony and the idea of fast food and it’s detrimental effects on the body. What if it benefited us in the same way that it’s described, lending us a boost of speed for example. I Would love to keep playing with this style/idea and expand it into a series or comic one day.

(ink, crayon, marker, digital)

JFR -@illustratedconnection.com

Features of Zan

It’s been quite a while since I’ve uploaded anything so I thought I’d post a quick piece from my sketchbook this week. Summers coming to an end and I have a lot of work to edit/upload and share in the coming weeks. I made this for an app I recently discovered called SKTCHY which I highly recommend to anyone searching for fresh references to use while sketching. The app lets users upload ‘inspiration’ photos (typically portraits/selfies) which other people can then use for reference. Once finished you’re able to upload your finished product and share it with the community but more importantly with the person who you were initially inspired by. The work is then displayed next to the original photo for comparison. It’s a fun way to get some practice in, but also a great way to get a nice sketch, painting or caricature of yourself done by other talented strangers. Seeing as though most people I draw never get to see or even know I’ve drawn them it’s satisfying when somebody most likely gets to look into the faintly familiar depiction of themselves I’ve reflected back to them.

-If anybody wants to get the app or has it already and wants to connect just look for:

Joshua Forrest Russell


(ink, pencil, marker, digital)

JFR -@illustratedconnection.com