Friday, October 29, 2010

From The Vault: "Picasso Woman" - 2004

I did a couple pieces like this around 2004, mostly just to mess around and see if I could get a looser, more painterly look with digital-only tools.

I jokingly called these my "Picasso Pieces" because they seemed sorta silly and quasi-pretentious to me afterward. But by now I've sorted worked my way back around and I think this one at least looks kinda cool--nothing I'm dying to get back to, but a worthwhile exercise nonetheless.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Time Out New York: Kristen Stewart

I was asked to do this week's "Hot Seat" portrait for Time Out New York, the subject this time being actress Kristen Stewart!

All the Hot Seats I've done lately have been in black and white, so I was more keen than usual to change that up and do this one in color. And since I didn't want to make too much of an explicit Twilight connection, using mostly soft colors and gentle fades for the portrait seemed the way to go.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I Made My Bed

I hadn't done a faux-vintage paperback book cover in a while, so I managed to squeeze this one in between some client work and working on my Hey Kids, Comics! book.

I knew I didn't have a lot of time, so I wanted some real simple, only a couple of colors and one central image. My first thought was to do the book's title by hand, but no matter how I tried it never quite worked. So I went with this cartoony font, and by playing around with the baseline of the letters, I could have it semi-trace the contours of the figure, which gave it that feeling of looseness that I was looking for in the first place.

The last thing I added was the white frame all around, which made everything feel jumbled and slightly claustrophobic--I didn't intend that in the beginning but once I saw it I really liked it.

(By the way, like most of the other covers in this series, the title, tag line, and author are real!)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Robert Shaw

As per a request made on my illustration Facebook page , this week's "Tough Guy" portrait is Robert Shaw, who had a lifetime full of great performances, but of course is known mostly as Quint from Jaws, one of the most unforgettable movie characters of all time.

I considered doing the portrait of Shaw as Quint, but decided I wanted a slightly more universal representation of the man. You still have that one wide eye on display here, hinting at the flinty madness Shaw had on display in so many of his greatest roles.

Friday, October 22, 2010

From the Vault: "Brew" Portraits - 2004

I have no memory of what client I did these for; it was some magazine but other than that these are a complete blank. I put "Brew" in quotes because that's the name both of them have in my files; but that doesn't help me recall the end client.

I post them here because I think they look pretty good; giving what can be boring headshots a little visual kick is what I'm hired for and I think I pulled that off pretty well this time around!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Richard Widmark

This one was not a request made on my illustration Facebook page, but Richard Widmark certainly qualifies as a movie Tough Guy, if for no other role than when he played giggling killer Tommy Udo in 1947's Kiss of Death, where he famously pushes a wheelchair-bound old lady down a flight of stairs.

I thought about doing a portrait of Widmark as Udo for this piece, but decided to go a little gentler, since Widmark also played lots of good guy roles (one of my favorites is 1950's Panic in the Streets) as well. They really don't make movie stars like this anymore...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Yul Brynner

As per a request made on my illustration Facebook page , this week's "Tough Guy" portrait is Yul Brynner who managed a career in movies as diverse as The King and I, The Magnificent Seven, and Westworld.

Aside from his movie roles, the thing I remembered the most about Brynner growing up was that creepy anti-smoking PSA he did that ran after he died; featuring Brynner basically copping to the fact that his smoking was killing him, and that the message he was recording would have its greatest impact after he had died.

It was really unsettling to me as a kid--especially when they ran it during cartoons and shows aimed at kids. And while I can't say it was a major reason I never picked up the habit (I was much too docile a kid to ever really consider it), Yul's visage probably nestled itself somewhere in the back of my kid-sized brain, always reminding he how nasty cigarettes were.

This piece is a bit of a "cheat"--I had done a portrait of Brynner for a Time Out New York "Hot Seat" assignment (long story), so I had the basic art for this already done when he was requested as the next subject in the "Tough Guy" series. All I had to do was crop it a bit, change the colors, and add some details and it was done.

Since it was so easy and quick doing this one, I had time to do another Tough Guy, which will be seen here tomorrow!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Time Out New York: Johnny Knoxville

I was asked to do this week's "Hot Seat" portrait for Time Out New York, the subject this time being actor/comedian/professional jackass Johnny Knoxville!

I had all sorts of ideas for this one, including a portrait of JK hanging upside down, Houdini-style. But I had a bunch of other assignments on my plate that week, and if that idea was deemed a little too out there, I really wouldn't have time to re-do it, so I went this, which I thought was a little more straightforward.

That said, I still managed to work in a little of that Jackass-danger and violence into the piece. I thought why not combine the hoary old arrow-through-the-head bit, but make it an actual arrow fired into Knoxville's skull? Once that I had that in place, the rest--the colors, the design--was easy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Eli Wallach

As per a request made on my illustration Facebook page , this week's "Tough Guy" portrait is Eli Wallach!

I've never really thought of Mr. Wallach (who, at 94, is still with us, thankfully) as a movie tough guy, even in his most famous performance in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, which this portrait is from.

He is, without a doubt, a Really Sweaty and Dirty Guy in that movie and, sometimes, that's enough.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sandra Lee Halloween 2010


A couple of months ago, I was contacted by the people who put together Sandra Lee magazine, asking me if they could use my Universal Monster posters for a special segment that would feature them as decoration at a Halloween-themed dinner party.

I of course said yes, and a week or so ago the issue--a special one-shot simply called Sandra Lee Halloween--hit the newsstands, and I was really blown away by how great everything looked, and how integrated my posters were with the surroundings:
Using eight of my posters in all, the article featured each piece on two pages; one with the poster in its setting, the other with a description of the elements used for the food and the settings. They even used my original logo treatments from the posters to adorn the whole piece!

All told, the article ran eighteen pages, certainly the most amount of space my work has occupied in a magazine!

Reprinted with permission from Hoffman Media and Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Magazine.

Friday, October 8, 2010

San Diego Zoo - 2003

I did this piece--using a bunch of animal portraits I had recently finished--purely as a graphic design exercise. Its really simple, but I loved how it came out.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Charles Schwab On Investing: Fall 2010

While I'm hard at work on another assignment for Charles Schwab On Investing magazine, here's the last piece I did for them; this will probably the only time I will ever have to draw a beret, for any reason.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Warren Oates

As per a request made on my illustration Facebook page , this week's "Tough Guy" portrait is Warren Oates. Even if you're not familiar with his work, one look at this face should tell you he was a tough guy.

My favorite--okay, only--Warren Oates story was something I heard Wayne Rogers tell a few years ago. Apparently he and Oates were in some sort of western together, and they were both in costume, off-camera, waiting for their cue. Dressed as cowboys, Oates whispered to Rogers something to the effect of "Aren't we a little old to still be dressing up like cowboys?"

Friday, October 1, 2010

From The Vault: Travels With Charley - 2002

John Steinbeck's Travels With Charley--a (mostly) non-fiction account of the legendary author's trek across America with his beloved canine pal, Charley--is one of my all-time favorite books. I had never read before finding it at the library in 2002, and I was completely charmed by it.

So charmed that I did this little tribute piece--its a little rough in some places, so I probably wasn't all that concerned with it being some masterpiece, just a fun way for me to extend the pleasurable experience reading the book gave me.