Retropath Presents: STRAIT-JACKET

Retropath is a monthly series at Toronto’s Royal Cinema – showcasing classic horror and genre films. I was commissioned to create the poster for Mays event, the screening of Joan Crawford as an ax-wielding ex-con in Strait-Jacket.

I knew from the get go I wanted to work with Joan’s eyes. Such striking, powerful eyes. I did a few thumbnails and came up with the idea of her face being super-imposed on an ax handle. If positioned correctly, the negative space beside her head would make the shape of the sharp blade.

Tried some new gradient slash two colours at once blending with the background. Its subtle, but Im super happy with how it turned out. For sure will find ways to incorporate it again into future work

Couldn’t be more happy with how the eyes fill the ax blade. In my sketch it looked like it could work, but the final result is much better than I originally imagined. The hair above her forehead reads like the handle, and even the hair on the side of Joan’s head looks like it could be a blood drip. The slightly offset layers add a bit of a shine on the edge of the blade too. All separate and seemingly unimportant elements, but when combined they create the effect I was hoping for.

Strait-Jacket, 11″x17″ Screen Print. Limited edition of 13

Check out process work for more projects on my Behance

Camp Crystal Lake Illustrated Map

Illustrated map for the iconic Campy Crystal Lake from the Friday the 13th film series.

Vintage looking hand made 3 colour screen printed illustrated map featuring locations referenced in the films. Paths around the camp double as a chalk outline of a body, with the lake in the middle representing a pool of blood. Perfect for you or a horror film buff you know!

All prints are signed, thanks for looking!

Prints available on Etsy NOW


Most people assume because I mainly use traditional print making techniques for my Illustrations that I am stickily an analog guy. NOT TRUE! I love animating using After Effects and bringing my work to life. Here is a collection of things Ive done in the last few months, I especially like the last one – it is a tech and style test for short film im working away on slowly. Really want to mimic traditional looking film grain and classic animation.

As always, thanks for looking!

Be sure to follow me on my other social medias to see more up to date work


HS Doc Club: Room Full of Spoons


In April the HS Doc Club is showing a documentary on the cult following of the so bad its good film The Room. The doc follows Rick Harper and his team on their journey across the globe as they experience this midnight movie phenomenon, meet with the entire cast and crew of the The Room and piece together the story behind its enigmatic director Tommy Wiseau.

My poster is based off the iconic (or infamous?) billboard Tommy Wiseau put up for over 5 years promoting the initial release of his film.

More info on the screening at HS Doc Club

Wild Rivers “Do Right” Single

Toronto folk band Wild Rivers reached out to me to work with them again, this time on an image for a new single they were aiming to release about a week later before they headed down to Texas for SXSW.

During our initial conversation, they had a rough demo to send and some lyrics, but were still in the studio so nothing was totally final. We talked about the inspiration of the song, and where they were as a band and kind of winded up on the road trip idea. Maybe it was the looming multi-day drive down to Austin on their minds, but the conversation kept turning back to the idea of the car ride on a long trip being just as important as the destination. Road trips are not a race, the long drive with your favorite people is the reason for the trip!

Sketches and colour roughs


“Do Right”

HS Doc Club: The War Show

The War Show Robert John Paterson Illustration Design TorontoThis month the HS Doc Club is working with Hot Docs on the Ban This Series festival. It will feature free screenings with films based out of the seven nations currently banned from the US. The War Show follows a Syrian radio host and his friends as the country experiences a mass repression and revolution.

I wanted the image to be super obviously Syrian, so I started with the flag. I felt it was important for people to recognize where this film was from and what its subject was going to be based on. I then wrapped a radio in barbed wire to show both the war aspect as well as the main characters vocation. I didn’t start with the idea to restrict colours to solely the ones used in the flag, but as the image developed it became clear to me less was more, and to just let the type and flag speak for themselves.

More info on the screening at HS Doc Club

Intercontinental Wrestling Champion

Intercontinental Wrestling Champion John Paterson Illustration Design Toronto

To celebrate Northern Contemporary‘s One Year Anniversary, they reached out to a handful of artists that showed there previously and asked them to make something special. I took this as an opportunity to create something that Ive always wanted, a wrestling belt!

This started out much smaller in scope and less complicated than it eventually became, I wanted to do a screen printed series or possibly a collection of iconic wrestling titles. Then I got the idea to really try something new and instead drawing layers to print, draw the layers and have them laser cut on wood.

After I got all the pieces back from the laser guys (Hot Pop) I had the long task of organizing and layering the panels. The I got some old Pro Wrestling Illustrated Magazines and cut out every photo of an Intercontinental Champion I could find. I decided to focus on the ‘Continental Championship because as a kid it was my favourite and unleashes a somewhat unhealthy amount of nostalgia. In a way, taking on a month long project like this would only be doable for me if it was something I could get obsessive about. Anyways, after cutting out all the guys I collaged and glued everything together. I applied a few coats of slightly tinted clear coat to specific parts so when they are all assembled different areas would fall back on not compete with each other.

The version of the championship Im specifically paying tribute to is the Reggie Parks Intercontinental Title. Aside from a few design tweaks, this version was used from 1986-1999. While doing the collage phase, I made sure to only represent wrestlers than held the title between those years.

Ive done a few things similar, but this is by far the furthest Ive pushed the idea of a 3D or mutli-surfaced piece. I fully intend to do more stuff like it

Check out the event on FB Northern Contemporary One Year Anniversary Show

Franca: Chaos and Creation

Franca Chaos and Creation Robert John Paterson Illustration Design TorontoFranca Sozzini is one of the most influential people in fashion. She was the creative director of Italian Vogue from like 1990 to 2016, creating hundreds of controversial and awe inspiring spreads and who knows how many culture defining trends along the way. To represent that in one image is overwhelming, so I took the collage route. Instead of one thing, I made a list of about 15 and then tried to tastefully arrange them. Referencing fashion, lifestyle, Italy, super models, consumerism, and photography.

More info on the screening at HS Doc Club

Hot Docs: Curious Minds Weekend


Hot Docs and The Globe and Mail teamed up to present Curious Minds Weekend, a 3-day speaker festival showcasing ideas and discussion. Featured speakers include Naomi Klein, Gigi Gorgeous, Dan Savage, Craig Kielburger and the Cast of Orphan Black.

The main direction from them was to include a podium or mic stand so people would clearly know this was a speaker series and was distinctly different from the usual documentary programing. Starting their, we developed the concept of all the little icons each representing a different speaker or subject and connecting them all with brain synapses. I felt it was important to not only show the topics, but to illustrate how these discussions could be linked and overlap each other.

More info on the series at Hot Docs

The Flatliners T-Shirt Pre-Order Exclusive

The Flatliners Robert John Paterson Illustration Design Toronto

How freaking great are The Flatliners? I was soooo excited to be asked to work with them on their new album Inviting Light pre-order package. Before I started, had a chat with the guys about what the new album was about and some of the themes they wanted represented. The main topics were age, responsibility, mistakes made and lessons learned. Inviting Light was going to reflect on youth, and what it is to grow up and grow as a punk band. After a bit of back and forth we settled on this candle burning at both ends concept, the eye in the middle represents the grit and focus to move forward with chaos around.

The Flatliners Robert John Paterson Illustration Design Toronto
Check out some of the pre-order packages (while supplies last) here