Friday, July 30, 2010

From The Vault: Campaign Finances - 2008

This straightforward piece was done for a financial magazine (called dBusiness, I think) back in early 2008 for an article about the respective finances of the Clinton, Edwards, Obama, Guliani, McCain, and Romney campaigns.

The page had so much text on it all they had room for were these six headshots across the bottom of the page, which is why they're all crammed in there together.

From the beginning, I definitely had a favorite candidate in the mix, and I have to say as the campaign wore on I enjoyed watching each of them fade away and drop out, until...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

James Bond

For whatever reason, a week or so ago I wanted to do a portrait of James Bond, so current Bond Daniel Craig seems as good a place as any to start.

I messed around with adding text for a long while, but I never settled on anything I liked so I just left it as a portrait. I did add the little thin white box--I dunno, it just looked better with it than without it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Yet another dog who needs a good home!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Yet another dog who needs a good home!

Update: In between writing this post and today, I found out that Bella has been adopted into a good home. Happier news I couldn't have heard!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Vote Warren

This idea came to me in a flash of inspiration the other day after reading some articles about economist and all-around egghead Elizabeth Warren possibly being appointed to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which would oversee and help implement many of the changes specified in the recently-enacted Financial Reform Bill.

As someone who has watched a lot of financial documentaries over the years, I've become a sort of "fan" of Ms. Warren, and I'm not the only one--she's appeared on The Daily Show (where Jon Stewart said he had a crush on her), The Colbert Report, and Real Time with Bill Maher, among other smart shows. I couldn't think of a better choice to appoint someone like Ms. Warren to out there, making sure various financial institutions don't wiggle out of the new rules set up to (fingers crossed) keep them from blowing up the economy again.

So even though Warren's selection would come directly from the President, not by voting (at least at the nomination stage), I had an idea of a sort of campaign poster to rally support for Ms. Warren. I went searching for ref images of her, and when I saw a shot of her with her thumb and forefinger like you see above, the tagline pretty much wrote itself.

This poster started out in the exact same manner as I do the Monster PSAs, with just red, white, and blue; but I quickly saw that the harsh monochromatic look I use for the monsters just didn't work for a real person like Elizabeth Warren, especially for someone of her erudite, sophisticated look.

Realizing a full-color portrait was the way to go, I the kept the rest of the poster colors to a minimum, with a few added details. Let's hope it somehow lands on the President's desk, and he is so swayed by my work that he does indeed nominate Ms. Warren to head the CFPB.

Friday, July 23, 2010

From The Vault: Thurgood Marshall - 2002

If the "vault" I pull older, unseen illustrations from was a real place, it would consist of dusty but still organized shelves. This piece, to continue the metaphor, would've been found in some dark, forgotten corner of that vault.

I was contacted in 2002 by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to produce an illustration of the Thurgood Marshall Federal Building, which was celebrating its 10th anniversary. They wanted a sort of commemorative keepsake piece, to be put into a lucite block.

Along the way, they had wanted an actual portrait of the late, legendary Supreme Court justice along with the building, so I produced the portrait you see above. Before I had a chance to finish it though, they changed their minds so the piece never got further than this stage (it needs more detail, and the colors need some definite adjusting).

Usually I keep records of every finished or even mostly finished piece, so I can refer to it later if I need to. But somehow I forgot about this, and it remained buried on a CD back-up of the whole job, sitting in a file cabinet. It wasn't until Marshall was mentioned so much during Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings a few weeks ago that I remembered I even did it!

It was certainly an unusual job, and an unusual client. The Administrative Office was happy with the final result, which you can see here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Time Out New York: Zach Braff

Last week, I was asked to do another "Hot Seat" portrait for Time Out New York, this time actor Zach Braff.

I toyed around with this one quite a bit, but eventually settled on the hot/cool contrast of the blue portrait with the orange background. I added a (very)faded mosaic effect, but otherwise I wanted to keep this simple, clean, effective.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Monster PSA: Evelyn Ankers

This Monster PSA was done as a request from one of my "fans" (feels weird, typing that), who specifically I asked I give The First Lady of Universal Horror, Evelyn Ankers, a turn.

Besides starring in The Wolf Man, Ms. Ankers appeared in literally dozens of other Universal horror/suspense movies of the 40s. From what I've read of Ms. Ankers, she really wasn't that into acting--it was mostly work, a way to make money, and when she got a little older (and horror films were mostly on the outs) she packed it in and never looked back. (Later, when he was living in Hawaii with her husband, she was asked to appear in Hawaii 5-0, which was just starting up production. She turned them down)

Whatever her feelings about being in movies, it didn't really show: she was always a welcome presence to this horror/monster fan. But I'm betting her advice would have been close to what you see on the poster.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Monster PSA: Lon Chaney Jr.

This Monster PSA is a bit more serious than the others; since fans of the late, great Mr. Chaney know that he suffered from alcoholism; and Lon's inability to get a handle on led to the dimunition of his career, and eventually early death.

I remember seeing the 1972 cheapie Dracula Vs. Frankenstein, which featured an aged, bloated Lon in a few scenes as a mute hulking brute. The movie itself is glorious, Z-grade fun, but seeing someone who I loved as a child used this way made me sad--Bela Lugosi's scenes in Ed Wood movies looked like acting triumphs by comparison. Lon died shortly thereafter.

So I thought, out from under all the various make-ups Lon endured, this is the kind of advice he would dispense if he was sitting down with someone, one on one.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monster PSA: Dick Durock

Not too long after completing my Adrienne Barbeau PSA, I thought why not complete the mini-Swamp Thing run and feature the man himself, Dick Durock?

Mr. Durock has many, many credits to his name, but to people my age he's really known for his work in various levels of make-up and rubber: as Swamp Thing of course, but also as Battlestar Galactica's Imperious Leader, and as "Frye's Creature" on The Incredible Hulk.

That must have been marinating in my head for a couple of days, because suddenly the tagline popped into my head, fully formed. I couldn't wait to put this together once I had it!

Of course its a bastardization of the classic "three chords and the truth" line, and at first I was content with this just being a silly goof on that. But then it dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, there's an actual point here: considering how many god-awful CGI fests Hollywood keeps pumping out, substituting charm and characterization with spectacle, maybe all you really need is a rubber mask and the truth.

Friday, July 16, 2010

From The Vault: Hung My Head - 2006

I dunno, I must have been in a really bad mood when I did this.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Christopher Nolan

This week's portrait is of Dark Knight and Inception director Christopher Nolan, who is by this point of the most famous--yet little seen, publicly--movie directors out there.

Doing this in black and white seemed a no-brainer, but I decided I did want some little drop of color, so I added blue to the eye and had a very muted blue background. It was originally a lot bluer, but after playing with it for a bit I thought it looked better even more muted, with more gray.

While I'm looking forward to Inception (and I have enjoyed, to various degrees, his other movies like Memento, Insomnia, and The Prestige), I'm more happy that, now that its here, that means Nolan's next film will be Batman 3. I knew from reading about this stuff that Nolan always demanded time to make another movie in between Batman sequels. So now that that film is out of the way, the third Batman movie can really get underway!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Monster PSA: Adrienne Barbeau

Unlike the last Monster PSA poster I did, which was inspired by the tagline first, this one was driven entirely by the fact I love Adrienne Barbeau, and desperately wanted her to be part of this series.

From Escape From New York to The Fog to Swamp Thing, Ms. Barbeau was a, face in the movies I saw and loved as a kid. But not only was she a sex bomb, but she was tough--equally adept at firing a gun or kicking your head in as she was at seducing you. So for the tagline I wanted to reference that part of her on-screen persona.

As I write this, it occurs to me my last two Monster PSA posters both featured cast members from Swamp Thing. Surely, that's simply a coincidence...?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Charles Schwab On Investing: Summer 2010

Another issue of Charles Schwab on Investing, another chance for me to do something really fun and different!

Monday, July 12, 2010


Yet another portrait of a dog who needs a good home, Sly. This was one a special request by one of the people trying to help the (not-so) little guy. How could I say no?

Friday, July 9, 2010

From The Vault: Wish You Were Here - 2006

This was done for a magazine client; but time has erased my memory of just what it was for. I do remember that it was about this specific woman (whose name, again, escapes me) and the magazine wanted her lounging on a beach chair on a prototypical Summer day.

So that meant I had to stitch two pieces together to get the portrait (head + body), and overall I think its fairly seamless. The colors are maybe a tad too saturated, but overall I thought it came out okay.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Helen Mirren

Actress Helen Mirren has a new movie out, a spy thriller called Red, but I didnt't really care about that--I just wanted to play with the contrast of her bright white hair and a totally black background, which was what I saw in my head when I first thought of doing a portrait.

Of course, Ms. Mirren's hair isn't quite that white, but again it was the contrast I was most interested in. I briefly considered adding a Hollywood Glamor-type light fade in the background, but finally decided this was fine the way it was.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Yet another portrait of a dog who needs a good home, Jerry. Jerry's off-kilter mug completely melted my heart once I saw it on Facebook. If circumstances were different, I'd be on a plane right now on my way to California to pick him up. I find him completely, utterly charming.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

John Wayne

I watched the classic film Stagecoach for the first time over the weekend, and as I listened to the accompanying commentary track, it occurred to me I never did a portrait of the film's legendary star, John Wayne.

Even though Wayne did many films other than westerns, its that genre he's most known for, so I pretty quickly decided I wanted a classic, full-figure shot of him, in front of an impossibly blue sky.

Since we're so far away, this doesn't immediately click as Wayne, but that's okay--the overall design of the piece was the thing I was most concerned with, and that's what I got!

Monday, July 5, 2010


This is another portrait of a dog who needs a good home, Fiona.

Friday, July 2, 2010

From The Vault: Satan Girl - 2006

Since this whole week has consisted of female portraits, I thought it was only appropriate to finish it off the same way.

This is just me fooling around; obviously influenced by the artist Coop's "Devil Girl" character and not wanting to spend too much time on it. I like the design of this piece a lot, and maybe if I had put a little more effort into the portrait it would have turned into something special, transcending its humble initial inspiration.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Time Out New York: Olivia Munn

Last week, I was asked to do another "Hot Seat" portrait for Time Out New York, this time actress/host Olivia Munn, who is mostly known for Attack of the Show, but has just started doing segments on The Daily Show.

When doing a portrait of someone famous for their looks (Google "Olivia Munn" and see how many pages of images you find), you really just try and make them look as glamorous and/or dynamic as possible. So I kept it fairly simple, putting her in a dotted red dress, with a slight tilt to the whole thing.

I'm not sure what the background means (nothing, really), but it looks good, and for whatever reason seems to fit with the portrait.