Friday, March 27, 2009

From The Vault: Purina Cat - 2001

I was commissioned to do this piece for an ad agency back in 2001; I don't even remember what it was for except it had some connection to Purina. The job eventually fell apart for reasons not having to do with me, so I got paid a kill fee for this and that was the end of it.

I'm posting this today because kitty cats are on my mind--there's a pack of about 15 feral cats living by a creek behind a 7-11 that Darlin' Tracy and I pass by every Thursday, and we've gotten into the habit of buying several cans of cat food and dumping them out so the cats can get to them.

We're not the only ones feeding them, since we see bowls of water and other traces of food around. Tonight was especially hard to see them all, since its still very cold (even though Spring is a week old), and it rained all day--seeing all those poor, cold kitty cats brave the elements to scarf up the food we dumped made us both sad.

We've thought about trying to capture some of them and getting them spayed, so at least they won't keep creating more homeless kitties, but since we already have a cat at home (and a very barky dog) we'd have no place to keep them, at least overnight.

Plus, how do you trap more than one feral cat at a time?

I know none of this has nothing to do with my artwork. Its just on my mind tonight.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Time Out New York: Bill Hader

This week's "Hot Seat" subject for Time Out New York was actor/comedian Bill Hader, who currently stars on Saturday Night Live.

He's also quite quite the movie career going, have appeared in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Superbad, and now Adventureland, out this week.

Adventureland's color scheme and design approach for its posters and such seemed a little 70s to me, so I went with those kinds of colors and a design element that felt similar to that.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Capital G Ad Campaign, Part 9

These are the last three of the Capital G portraits--at least the ones done in this color scheme.

Not too long after turning these in, I went to work on another batch, but with more realistic colors. And while I generally think the second batch came out a little better, these initial ones was an interesting challenge, having to use these day-glo colors in what are supposed to be photo-realistic portraits.

Friday, March 20, 2009

From The Vault: New Horizons - 1996

This was another piece I did for the Daily Record newspaper, which ran in the first 1997 Sunday edition of the paper.

For these Daily Record assignments, I almost always got the chance to conceive the piece, as well as execute it. From what I remember, this was the first idea I came up with, and it was approved almost immediately.

Looking back on it, I wish I had used a little more photo reference for the woman and the cliff, but overall I think it came out pretty well. And the painterly sky effect came off better than I hoped, considering we're talking about newsprint!

I didn't add the type, but I thought it was well done, both with the font and placement. It ended up being one of my favorite pieces I did for the paper.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Time Out New York: Keira Knightley

This week's "Hot Seat" subject for Time Out New York was big-time movie star Keira Knightley!

Knightley was promoting her new film, End of Love, which is a period piece. They sent me a bunch of shots of her in period clothing, and I liked doing a portrait in Old Hollywood glamour style.

So I stuck with an all-black and white color scheme, and even went further with it, by framing it as if you're looking at an old-timey lobby card. Without being able to add text, there's only so far that I think that idea comes across, but overall I liked how it came out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Capital G Ad Campaign, Part 8

Three more Capital G portraits!

I already ran the ad that featured the woman in the second portrait, but it only showed a tiny portion of here--from just the neck up. If I'm going to do all that work of drawing her whole body, I want someone to see it!

When I saw the picture of the woman in the glasses, and saw all that detail on the sweater, I cringed--was I really going to have to draw all that?

I tried putting just some of the pattern in there, but it looked odd, so I just hunkered down and did the whole thing in stages, and now that I look at I think it it really only could have been done that way.

Still more to come!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Capital G Ad Campaign, Part 7

Three more Capital G portraits!

I have to admit, when I saw the photo of the first guy, holding his saxophone, I groaned--would I really have to draw all that? Did he really need to bring that thing with him to the photo shoot?

The answer to my first question was yes, so one night I hunkered down and committed myself to drawing out the whole thing. By the end, I felt like Donald Pleasance in The Great Escape--blind and in a stupor, I wandered out of my chair and began bumping into things.

Luckily, I recovered by the next morning and went back to work...

Still more to come!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Capital G Ad Campaign, Part 6

Three more Capital G portraits--the pattern on the first guy's shirt nearly drove me nuts; but there were even more complex illustrations to work out, which we'll see tomorrow...

Friday, March 13, 2009

From The Vault: Move Over, FDR - 1996

This was another piece I did for the Daily Record newspaper, part of a two-part job: the previous week, I had done a portrait of Republican nominee Bob Dole, and the second week it was President Clinton's turn.

I was really excited to get a chance to do the illustrations for such a timely, relatively major series of articles. I've always been interested in politics, so getting to combine that with my art was rewarding.

I felt like I had really not done a great job with the Dole piece (so it won't be showing up here!), but I felt like I really nailed this one--I liked the placement, the balance of blacks and whites, and the likeness.

I remember getting a lot of compliments on this when I turned it in, and it stayed in my portfolio for years.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Time Out New York: Jason Segel

This was a real treat!

This week's "Hot Seat" subject for Time Out New York was actor/writer Jason Segel, who I am a big fan of.

I first saw Segel in the short-lived show Undeclared (playing a hapless, way-too-needy boyfriend), and then enjoyed him in Knocked Up, How I Met Your Mother, and the movie he wrote and starred in, Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I think the guy's a riot, and was thrilled to get the chance to do a portrait of him as he promoted his new film, I Love You, Man.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Capital G Ad Campaign, Part 5

Three more Capital G portraits--the first two were a little simpler, which were a nice balance to some of the others (like the third), which had a complex and detailed pattern on their shirt which needed to replicated.

Lots more to come!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Capital G Ad Campaign, Part 4

These are three more of the pile o' portraits I did for Capital G, via the Concept Farm agency.

Since these portraits were going to be dropped onto different colored backgrounds, for each specific person I was given what one color to stay away from. In the instance of these three, it was a bluish-green, so you don't see that color on any of the above portraits.

Lots more to come!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Jelly of the Month: The Silhouette

This month's subject for the Jelly of the Month blog was, appropriately enough, Watchmen.

I figured everyone would be doing portraits of Rorshach, The Comedian, etc., so I decided to tackle one of the minor characters--the superheroine The Silhouette, who was one of the original Minutemen.

She only has a few scenes in the book, and dies off-panel, but something about her really stuck with me--and it was a treat to see her whole story arc conveyed in the Watchmen movie, which I saw over the weekend.

I'm not particularly adept at illustration action or fight scenes, so I thought it'd be cool to do a static shot of the character in the form of a poster, since the P.R. aspect of being a superhero is one of the themes of the series.

And of course, I can't resist adding old-timey text.

Friday, March 6, 2009

From The Vault: Cut Out Dissection - 1996

This is one of a handful of illustrations I did for the Daily Record newspaper, from 1995-1996, for an article about dissection (as you can tell from the headline).

A teacher of mine from the Kubert School told me that the paper was looking to hire some artists for an occasional article. And since they couldn't pay much, they were willing to hire artists with relatively little experience, which was what I was at the time.

After meeting with the art director, I ended up doing assignment after assignment for a couple of months, and it was a very rewarding relationship--she and the paper got brand-new, eye-catching illustrations (instead of clip art) for very little money, and I gained lots of professional experience and a bunch of printed samples to show off to try and land more work.

This--like all of the pieces I did for the Daily Record--were done entirely in cut paper, no digital effects. And while I could do a lot better now, I do think this holds up fairly well. My time with the paper stands as one of the key moments in my freelance career.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Time Out New York: Bryan Cranston

This week's "Hot Seat" subject for Time Out New York was actor Bryan Cranston, who was promoting his TV series Breaking Bad, which is currently winning all kinds of acclaim.

Usually, TONY doesn't like me to include too-specific elements to the portrait backgrounds, but for this week they asked if I could add some sort of little design thing to reference his character in the show, who produces illicit drugs to make ends meet.

So I added two test tubes and a beaker, and for whatever reason, I saw the opening credits to Rocky & Bullwinkle in my head (no, I'm not on said illicit drugs), during a part where they had some sort of sketchy colors (like how I have the dark blue), and superimposed over the colors were some shapes, but reversed so that they were white outlines.

Why I thought this was the way to go for this, I don't know, but went with it I did, and I actually really like it--it gives the piece a lighter touch (which I think fits the show), and it looks kinda spiffy. I'll have to try that again sometime.

Thanks, Jay Ward!

Monday, March 2, 2009

From The Vault: Hawkeye & B.J. - 1994

I am hip-deep in another set of portraits for Capital G, so I haven't had much time to work on anything new.

But I wanted to put something up, today at least, so I went back into the vaults to find something timely. And since over the weekend I started my newest blogging seemed like a perfect time to post the one and only portrait I've ever done of someone from the show (thank goodness I already prepared a week's worth of the new blog before now!).

I was still very new at this style in 1994, so I was spinning the dial, doing portraits of all my favorite actors, actresses, and musicians, and seeing what I could bring to each of them with these cut-paper portraits.

This is one the first ones I ever did combining a black and white portrait with a color element, and the very first one where that color element is the actual color seen in the picture--namely, the green fatigues Alan Alda and Mike Farrell wore as their characters.

I was really happy with this piece at the time, but when I look back on it now I see how weak the likeness of Mike Farrell is. Maybe when I get some time I'll give this another spin...