Friday, April 30, 2010

From The Vault: Monuments - 2006

These are five unfinished portraits I was commissioned to do for one of my regular clients, Charles Schwab On Investing magazine. At the time, though, I had not done any work for CSOI before, so this was the first time I had ever dealt with them.

They asked me to work up these roughs, and some are a little rougher than others. A week or so afterward, CSOI called to tell me the whole project had been canceled, so I didn't need to go any further.

Thankfully, CSOI settled up with me for the work I had done, and little did I know it was the beginning of a very good relationship between the magazine and I.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Time Out New York: Sam Rockwell

This week's "Hot Seat" portrait for Time Out New York is actor Sam Rockwell!

In every photo of Rockwell I saw that wasn't a still from a movie, he was unshaven with a wild mop of unkempt hair. So I decided to stick with that, and only cleaned him up a little bit.

My favorite part is the old-school IronMan t-shirt I put him in (Rockwell is in Iron Man 2). You used to see a lot more of it, but when I was deciding where to place him in the frame, this was how it looked best.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Moxie Grrrl #9

I hadn't planned on doing another "Moxie Grrrl" portrait, but between working on some more elaborate projects I had time to this--the MGs are so much fun, anyway.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Bride

Last week, my pal Pierre devoted a whole week on his superb blog Frankensteinia to Bride of Frankenstein, on occasion of that film's 75th anniversary.

Obviously, I've used the Bride as my subject before, but I find monsters (specifically the classic Universal monsters) an unending source of inspiration, so I worked up yet another portrait.

For whatever reason, I wanted this one to be rough, rough, rough. To that end, I actually did part of this piece by hand (like my ancestors did). I did the portrait digitally, then I printed it out, cut it out, and glued it to another piece of paper that I painted with some red acrylic. I then ran along the edge of the Bride with an ink pen, creating a rough outline.

I then scanned the whole thing back in, and while I was messing with it, I added a slight blue tint to the whole thing, which I thought looked cool. I added another outline, this time in white.

I originally thought of adding some text, but I always do that, so I decided to leave this as is, and I think it looks really cool!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Salt Water Sportsman Portraits - 2006

I did these four tiny (about 1.5") portraits for Salt Water Sportsman magazine. They came out a little cartoonier than what I normally do, but I think they look kinda cool.

I never saw the issue of the magazine they appeared in, and I never did anything again for SWS. This is one of those times when a new client gives me a job, I do it, they seem happy with what I turn in, but I never hear from them again. This is a weird way to make a living sometimes...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Time Out New York: Michael Caine

This week's "Hot Seat" portrait for Time Out New York is film legend Michael Caine!

Usually TONY doesn't get the chance to interview a legend (since, after all, there aren't that many of them left), but Mr. Caine definitely fits the bill--from Alfie to The Man Who Would Be King to Sleuth to Hannah and Her Sisters to modern films like The Dark Knight, Caine has one of the greatest filmographies in all of Hollywood.

He was promoting a new film called Harry Brown, where Caine plays a vigilante. So I decided to use a shot of Caine from the film, taking out some of the more specific elements (him holding a gun, for example) and adding some Saul Bass-esque buildings in the background to give it a retro feel.

Also, by having the buildings be so cartoony and simple, the realistic portrait of Caine made for a good contrast. This ended up as one of my favorite Hot Seat portraits fro the last couple of months.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Pal Laura

I did this portrait of my pal Laura Menck on the occasion of her birthday, which was last week.

Laura hired me to do a logo for her charity, The Animal Care for Artists Initiative, which helps provide health insurance the the pets of self-employed people. Laura was a total pleasure to work with, and since then we stayed in contact and became friends (even though we've never met, having been on opposite ends of the country). She's always been a big booster of my work and I'm constantly impressed by her dedication and love for animals, something I take very close to heart.

Thanks to Facebook, I knew her birthday was coming up, so I whipped up this portrait of her, based on a photo she had posted on her page. I loved how you only saw her eyes, with the dog being the focus of the shot--which seemed to perfectly sum up how much effort Laura puts into caring for animals.

I messed around with the colors for a bit, finally adding a kitchy dog-and-cat icon font as a background pattern. After finishing it, I posted it on Laura's FB page as a way to say Happy Birthday.

Luckily, Laura loved it (as did some of her other friends), and she even used it as her FB avatar, which made me feel great. Laura has joked that if Tracy and I ever come to California, we'll have to come by and actually meet Laura, her husband Ric, and their pup Dolly--something that we'd definitely do, if we ever make it back out to the West Coast!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stacey London is Lois Lane

I'm a regular viewer of TLC's What Not To Wear (go ahead, laugh; I don't care!), and not too long after I started watching it I happened upon the idea that, in a parallel universe, co-host Stacey London would be an excellent Lois Lane.

First off, London is beautiful and glamorous. But she also had a brassy confidence that, to me, is exactly how I've always pictured the character of Lois Lane.

Now, of course I have no idea if Ms. London can act (or would want to even if she could), but I didn't let that stop me from putting together this portrait of her, pen and pad in hand, waiting to get the next scoop for The Daily Planet.

I originally was going to do this as whole Lois-centric Superman movie poster, but I had a really hard time putting that together to my satisfaction so I changed it to this, a sort of teaser poster which would each highlight the different actors playing the world-famous characters.

I picture this Superman movie as a 1940s-style, fast-talking action comedy, with the Daily Planet scenes being something out of movies like His Girl Friday or The Front Page. Sure, that will never happen, but why should that stop me?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Moxie Grrrl #8

Another "Moxie Grrrl" portrait, doing this one was solely predicated on the pose; instead of having the big MG logo (or the MoxieGrrrl Signal, if you prefer) floating in the background, I wanted to have it lying below, like this particular MG was using it as a rug.

Hmm, a MoxieGrrrl rug? Maybe I should head over to my Zazzle store and make one of them...

Friday, April 16, 2010

From The Vault: The Flash - 2007

I did this portrait as gift for a friend who wanted to give it to one of their friends, a big Flash fan.

At the time, I was really happy with how this came out and thought it worked really well. With the benefit of hindsight, I can see that the portrait is a little weak, and I tried to dress it up with some really spiffy design, like maybe if all the other elements are really cool, it'll make up for the weak parts.

I like the rounded corners!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Time Out New York: Chris Rock

This week's "Hot Seat" portrait for Time Out New York is Chris Rock!

I was really excited about this one, since I'm a big fan of Rock and that always adds an extra layer of fun to doing the portrait.

Even though Rock is a comedian and he was promoting a new comedy he's in (Death at a Funeral), I didn't want anything goofy or light--instead I wanted a straightforward, powerful look, with Chris looking you right in the eye.

The portrait part was easy, but for whatever reason it took me forever to find the right background. I tried all kinds of approaches--some very busy, some very simple--but none of them really looked right to me.

I finally settled on what you see above. I'm not sure what (if anything) it signifies, and less than a week later I'm not certain this was the way to go. But at the moments before I turned the piece in I thought it looked cool, and that was enough!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Charles Schwab On Investing: Spring 2010

This was another piece I did for Charles Schwab On Investing magazine, which ran in their Spring 2010 issue.

These assignments for CSOI are always a fun challenge because they're always different from one another (you can see previous CSOI illustrations here), and the back-and-forth with them always makes for a satisfying final result.

This piece was for an article about older people who are taking advantage of a new provision that allows additional contributions to 401K-type retirement funds. Hence, this illustrations has two older people running past someone younger on their way to the retirement "finish line."

I usually don't add heavy outlines when I have multiple figures in one picture, but in this case it really looked good to me and helped separate them from the background person (who I faded just a touch for extra effect).

I've already finished another illustration for CSOI, which will of course show up here as well!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Moxie Grrrl #7

Another "Moxie Grrrl" portrait, this one is even most chaste than last week's. I guess that's just how I roll if left to my own devices.

I like the old-school look with the modern tattoo; it gives these new Moxie Grrrls a timeless appeal to me.

Friday, April 9, 2010

From The Vault: Multi-Family Executive Cover - 2005

Other than that it was a cover for a magazine called Multi-Family Executive, I have absolutely no memory of this job.

I've always liked doing multiple "takes" of the same image, and putting them all next to each other, for a sort of Andy Warhol feel. Upon reflection, I think I should have put the black and white on at the bottom, since its the least visually interesting one of the four, yet its the most prominent of the bunch. Oh well...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Time Out New York: John Goodman

This week's "Hot Seat" portrait for Time Out New York is actor John Goodman!

I've actually liked John Goodman--even when the movie or TV show he's is bad, he's always entertaining to watch, and I loved him as Dan Connor on Roseanne.

Anyway, he was promoting several projects, and while I didn't want to push any one of them too hard, I dropped in a faded promo shot from the new HBO series he's on, called Treme.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Moxie Grrrl #6

Going through all those old "Moxie Grrrl" portraits I did got me inspired to try my hand at a new one!

Not having to worry about anyone's response to this, I did it in a way that's a little more my style--its more retro, with more old-timey glamour than sex. I also made her "MG" tattoo more of a sleeve, which seems more current to me--making this Moxie Grrrl a nice combo of old and new.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Road To Transylvania

"Bing and Bob are at it again--on their spookiest adventure yet!"

Not too long after I finished my Frankenstein Meets Shirley Temple poster, my imagination wandered further, conjuring what would be the next logical step in Universal's degradation of the Frankenstein movie franchise. It didn't take me too long to come up with an unholy alliance of that series and the Hope/Crosby "Road" movies. The title wrote itself.

That said, it took me forrrrever to get around to putting this together. I knew what I wanted the poster's main image to look like, but the tedium of drawing Hope, Crosby, and (of course) Dorothy Lamour kept me from putting a lot of time into it. Eventually, I decided to work on it a bit at a time. The minute I got bored (which was often) I'd stop and work on other projects.

Eventually, though, with the Crosby portrait mostly finished, I decided to hunker down and put some time into this, and after not too long I had the dull parts finished, and all that was left was the fun stuff--monsters!

Now that its finished, I'm really happy I stuck with it--and even happier that this film doesn't actually exist.

Friday, April 2, 2010

From The Vault: Moxie Grrrl #5 - 2005

The final "Moxie Grrrl" portrait!

This one seemed to (finally) hit the nail on the head--it was sexy and titillating, but it didn't go too far. It also looked slightly retro but modern. The pose was right, the attitude was right. Done and done!

Available: Moxie Grrrl T-Shirt

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Time Out New York: Christian Siriano

This week's "Hot Seat" portrait for Time Out New York is fashion designer Christian Siriano!

This was one of those times with the Hot Seat portraits when I have not the slightest clue who the subject is. So I did some quick research on Google, and once I saw some of Mr. Siriano's work I had an idea of what I wanted this portrait to look like.

I had first thought of doing it in stark black and white, but I've done a lot of monochromatic Hot Seats lately and plus, Siriano's work is very colorful and bold, so I thought full-color was the right way to go this time.