Without ornamentation to distract or a flashy colour palette to hide behind, it’s hard to make a simple drawing really, really good. But it’s something Vancouver-based illustrator Hiller Goodspeed has totally nailed. His odd, humorous pencil drawings are filled with characters that make us chuckle. Whether hiding in their “safety tube” or celebrating being second place, it’s hard not to be endeared by these funny little fellows.

But simple as they look, Hiller’s drawings often take a good amount of time to come to fruition. “Most of my drawings begin with a great deal of thought,” Hiller tells It’s Nice That. “I eavesdrop and daydream and take in my surroundings which I later refine and re-purpose in my artwork. I have email drafts and notebooks where I record half-thoughts and ideas that might become more interesting once I’ve had time to think about them.”


Working late at night after his library job, Hiller uses coloured and soft graphite pencils to make his ideas reality. “I’m fairly quick with the execution of my illustrations, since I’ve already invested so much time thinking about them,” Hiller explains. Then he’ll scan the drawings, clean them up and adjust the levels. “And share them online if that seems like a good thing to do.”

Hiller has been a fan of the night-time drawing session since he was a kid and went on to train as a graphic designer. “After graduating I held a few design positions but wasn’t feeling the design world as much as I had hoped to and only kept on with the illustration work, which is all I really wanted to do anyway.” Deciding instead to complete a Library Studies MA, Hiller has worked in libraries ever since – a perfect playground to dream up ideas for this drawings.



A prolific self-publisher, Hiller has already released two books in 2018. Peaceful Retreat pairs rearranged shapes with fitting two-word phrases whereas Accomplishments is a 3×3cm book dispensed by a capsule vending machine in Vancouver’s Lucky Comics. Inside readers can find drawings of things they can be proud of doing, “like making a soup or going for a walk,” says Hiller. “All that I hope for is that what the audience takes away from the work is something that makes them happy or gives them something nice to think about.” Mission accomplished Hiller.

More Features

How Canada Uses Indigenous Art to Market Itself to the World

FEATURES / August 23 2019 / Julian Brave Noisecat

ManWoman Is Taking Back the Swastika

FEATURES / August 28 2018 / Val Gore

It’s time for a truly Canadian automaker

FEATURES / December 4 2018 / David Olive