Thursday, December 31, 2009

Monster PSA: Colin Clive

Because of the holiday, Time Out New York produced two double issues in mid-December, giving everyone--including me--the rest of the month off. Consequently, I didn't have a new "Hot Seat" portrait to show off this week, so I thought I'd post another Monster PSA poster!

This one doesn't require a lot of explanation, Colin Clive as Dr. Frankenstein is one of the most recognized characters from 30s horror. The tag line is my version of the cheeky, ever-so-slightly naughty humor seen in British films like the Carry On series, the kind of humor I think James Whale and Colin Clive might have appreciated.

Have a Happy New Year everybody!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monster PSA: Caroll Borland

One of the most striking icons from the world of 30s horror is actress Caroll Borland, as she appeared in MGM's 1935 film Mark of the Vampire, co-starring Bela Lugosi.

I was working on this piece, trying to come up with a tag line that somehow matched the picture, when Darlin' Tracy walked behind, looked at the piece, and said, "You feel your best when you look your best", which seemed just perfect to me!

Caroll Borland T-Shirt
Caroll Borland Mug

Friday, December 25, 2009

From The Vault: Dove - 2003

During 2002-2004 I did a lot portrait illustrations for a corporation called Hewitt for various trade publications they produced, and in 2003 they asked me to produce this illustration for the company Christmas card.

If I remember correctly, I initially had some details on the dove but decided to make it just a flat, abstract shape, which I thought looked a lot better. Looking back over it, there's a couple changes I would make but overall I think it holds up pretty well!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Time Out New York: Mariah Carey

This week's "Hot Seat" portrait for Time Out New York is superstar Mariah Carey!

Instead of an album, Ms. Carey was promoting her supporting role as a social worker in
the movie Precious. Since she's very plain and dressed down in the movie (far from her normal ultra-glamorous look), I went for a more low-key portrait--with just a touch of sparkle. It is Mariah Carey, after all.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monster PSA: Max Schreck

It was only a matter of time, really, until I got around to Max Schreck for one of my "Monster PSA" posters.

Part of the legend of Mr. Schreck
is how completely disappeared into his rat-like role in Nosferatu (heck, there was even a whole movie--Shadow of the Vampire--supposing Schreck was really a vampire playing a vampire in the movie), so I ran with that for the tag line.

And given Nosferatu's German impressionistic roots, I went a little rougher on the portrait, and decided to go with a drab gray as a highlight instead of another bright color.

Max Schreck T-Shirt
Max Schreck Mug

Friday, December 18, 2009

From The Vault: Lou Reed - 2005

This was an odd portrait I did of Lou Reed. Obviously, it being Lou Reed was less important to me in this piece than the overall weirdo design. Its a strange piece, pretty atypical of the other stuff I've done.

I tried a portrait of Lou Reed a few years earlier, which was kind of blah. This one doesn't really capture him, either--I think I need to do a proper portrait sometime. Lou Reed deserves it!

(Side note: I have to thank my pal, fellow artist, and former roommate Sean Tiffany for introducing me to Reed's work. Back during our first year at the Kubert School, he would play Reed's New York album on my cassette player all the time, and fairly quickly I really began to like it. Thanks Sean!)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Time Out New York: Terry Gilliam

This week's "Hot Seat" portrait for Time Out New York is director Terry Gilliam!

This one was a lot of fun, mainly because I'm a big fan of Mr. Gilliam, and I enjoyed having a shot at doing a portrait of him. Unfortunately, for whatever reason the deadline on this one was extremely compressed, meaning I basically had less than a day to get this done, so I didn't have a whole lot of time to experiment.

It was tempting to do some sort of crazy background, since Gilliam's reputation (as a director, at least) is one made of arguments with studios, unforseen difficulties in filming, budget overruns, and other chaotic elements.

But I decided to downplay that and go with something more fanciful and dreamlike, since Gilliam's films frequently have that feeling. The guy is so visionary in so many ways I think it leaves many viewers (including me, at times) sort of bewildered. So I liked this background, it felt we were peering into Gilliam's imagination in some way.

This is the third member of Monty Python I've had the good fortune to do a portrait of for TONY, after John Cleese and Michael Palin:
...three down, two to go!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monster PSA: Myrna Loy

This week's "Monster PSA" poster is one of my personal favorites, because it combines of my favorite actors, Myrna Loy, and one of my favorite horror movies, the completely insane (read: awesome) 1932 movie The Mask of Fu Manchu.

Loy (
who I fell in love with via her many pictures with William Powell) plays the evil and horny Fah Lo See, daughter of Boris Karloff's Fu Manchu. This was just before Loy exploded into fame as Nora Charles in The Thin Man movies, so this was the last of this type of movie she would appear in (unless you count the 1979 TV movie, Ants--the less said about that the better).

Loy had such an angelic face, but takes to the role of Fah with relish, ogling one of her father's foes with barely concealed lust. She's a classic movie Bad Girl, and so in this poster she cops to having a lot of fun with it.

Myrna Loy T-Shirt
Myrna Loy Mug

Friday, December 11, 2009

From The Vault: Katharine Hepburn - 2004

This was a "tribute" piece to the legendary Katharine Hepburn, who had died earlier that year.

Working at a video store for a few years after art school, I gained a real appreciation for many of the stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood, and I remember working my way through our Katharine Hepburn section. My favorite films of hers were the ones she did with Spencer Tracy, but of course she did many, many classic films all on her own.

Looking back over this piece, I'm sort of stunned that I didn't keep it in my permanent rotation, since I think it came out really well--its undeniably Katharine Hepburn, but it has a slightly-cartoony fluidness that really appeals to me.

I guess I didn't realize what I had at the time...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Time Out New York: Emily Blunt

This week's "Hot Seat" portrait for Time Out New York is actress Emily Blunt!

This portrait was a first for me, in that it was the first time a subject was repeated--TONY interviewed Emily Blunt back in 2008:
At the time, I went for an Golden Age of Hollywood Glamour-type shot, which I thought came off well.

This time, Ms. Blunt was promoting the film Young Victoria, so I used the color of royalty--purple--and added in a regal-y(?) looking texture. And since the first portrait was in black and white, I thought it was only appropriate to do a full-color shot this time around.

I hope TONY interviews Ms. Blunt again next February, when The Wolf Man remake she co-stars in comes out!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monster PSA: Rondo Hatton

It was only a matter of time until I got around to featuring the late, great Rondo Hatton on one of my Monster PSA posters!

I don't think there's any one actor from the Golden Age of horror movies that has gone as far as Hatton, in terms of how obscure he was then to how famous he is now.

I hope the tag line--just too obvious not to do--doesn't seem like I'm goofing on Mr. Hatton's famous, tragic condition; I'm not.

From what I've read, Rondo Hatton was a very nice man, friendly to his co-workers and an all-around agreeable sort; he also served his country in WWI, where he was gassed on the battlefield, leading to his Acromeglia.

Yet he was cast in movies where his real-life looks were used cruelly remarked upon, as if the guy standing right there didn't understand what was being said (maybe Mr. Hatton, probably close to unemployable, simply figured it was worth it to put food on the table). So, to me, that's why the tag line is so appropriate--he may have looked like a monster, but he was probably an okay fella.

Rondo Hatton T-Shirt
Rondo Hatton Mug

Friday, December 4, 2009

From The Vault: Kitchen Couple - 2007

This was a sample piece I did for a client that was putting together some sort of massive manual-type book, one that would feature hundreds of illustrations from dozens of artists.

I don't remember much else about it from that, but during the course of working on this piece and sending it in, a lot of the important details about the project changed and I ended up not working on it at all.

Too bad, I guess, since I like this piece a lot--it has a very different look than a lot of my stuff, yet its still recognizably my style.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Time Out New York: Malcolm Gladwell

This week's "Hot Seat" portrait for Time Out New York is author Malcolm Gladwell, who was promoting his newest book, What The Dog Saw.

I've read all of Gladwell's previous books, and I thoroughly enjoy the way he presents what could be dry data interwoven with personal, compelling stories.

I originally was going to have a background composed of random data, facts and figures, but decided to go more organic and use this stock background, messing around with the colors until I got the look I wanted.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Namtab on the Web

The Trip To Mars poster I did last week for the Boris Karloff Blogathon was the subject of a post over at the blog Marooned, which is all about sci-fi, fantasy, and horror books on Mars.

It's a really cool blog, you should check it out!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

11 Acorn Lane

This is the front sleeve and disc art for the CD Everybody's Here, the newest release from the band 11 Acorn Lane.

I was asked to do a portrait of the band for the front sleeve, and while I was working on the piece I came up with the two distinct versions you see above. I sent both versions along, and the band liked them so much they decided to use both!

The guys of 11 Acorn Lane were very nice to work with and very enthusiastic about my work, and I'm very happy with how everything came out. You can find out more about the band and the CD on their official site.