The completed map!

Hello everyone! I have completed my map of a fictional island. I had so much fun creating this, I really wanted to paint a place that I would like to explore. While working on it, I found it helpful to imagine the story of a character from the trading town of Cold Harbour who goes on a journey through these lands. It was a fantastic exercise in design and painting environments, and I would love to do more maps in the future.

First, some process videos:

Building up the towns in my map, listening to "Open" by Rhye.

A post shared by Serena Malyon (@smalyon) on

You can see more process shots on my instagram, @smalyon

And here’s the final! Click for a higher res image:

serena malyon illustration map fantasy rpg

Thanks for checking out my work! Not sure what my next personal work will be, but I’m hoping to do more information design. Maybe something educational next time, we’ll see!

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The Mural That Never Was

serena malyon nathan swazye calgary illustrators sketch space

This past May, Nathan Swayze and I put together a proposal for a mural at a local school. Langevin school, a school known for its emphasis on science, was looking for a mural to cover a large concrete stairwell next to their playground. Neither of us had ever put together a real “proposal” for a public art project, but we’re always ready for a challenge, so Nathan and I got to work analyzing their call for submissions. Having already done a mural earlier this year (MARKET Calgary), Nathan and I felt that we might actually be able to tackle something of this scale.

Nathan took care of much of the design while I researched things like our budget, materials, insurance, techniques, rentals, and possible long-term care proposals. We both took a week off and worked on it every waking moment. Nathan was composing and painting non-stop while I was calling paint manufacturers and trying to work out what sort of sandblasters we’d need to prep the cement. The research we did was as much for our proposal as it was for us, we needed to know whether we were working on a project that we could conceivably complete. By the due date, we had a fun, versatile composition that we both loved and a proposal that we could stand behind confidently.

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One of our preliminary sketches

Our concept was simple, the concrete structure would be covered in a painted timeline of scientific discovery and human achievement. The call for submissions requested that we find a way to incorporate student art into the piece. Our idea was to have students paint the scientific discovery that they find the most interesting, and Nathan and I would place their painting within our mural’s timeline.

serena malyon nathan swayze illustration calgary art langevin science school mural concept art

The final concept that we submitted

Nathan and I went for an interview a few weeks ago and met with the Langevin mural board, and we all had a great discussion about the piece. Though we didn’t wind up getting the job (probably due to the fact that neither of us have ever painted anything on this scale before), we had a great time working on it, and we’re pretty proud that we even got a call-back. The following images are our photoshopped mock-ups of the mural. Photo credits go to the Langevin mural committee.

langevin_1 langevin_2

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I think this was a big stepping stone for us branching out into public art. As a subject that was never approached during our time in the Visual Communications (Design) stream at ACAD, we had no real grasp on where to start. From my understanding, writing grant and public art proposals is something learned in the Fine Arts side of the school. Having done some research on our own time and by simply doing our best, we’ve learned a lot about the process and requirements. Now that we know the basics, its opened up a lot of new possibilities for Nathan and myself.

Wild kids sketches

Some quick sketches of some forest-dwelling kids done for fun. Might do a quick illustration with these guys.

serena malyon illustration art children's book calgary artist

You won’t often see my pencil work, but I really do love the feel of it. Eventually I’ll find a way to successfully incorporate it into the final paintings.