Sunday, December 14, 2014

December Commission work

 Happy holidays everyone!

Here are two book cover assignments I've recently completed. The first features a flying squirrel carrying a mysterious bundle, while the second showcases a nefarious, bloodstained chipmunk.

As usual I began with thumbnails, and detailed value studies. Making a chipmunk look less than adorable, even when daubed with blood, was tricky to say the least. I mean, these are critters I've occasionally coaxed into my hands with peanuts.

How could this ever be scary? DAWW

Google Image's tempting, but inadequate reference options for "Angry chipmunk"

Then again, Gogo Yubari in Tarantino's "Kill Bill" was somehow all the more disturbing by how cute she was

 Gogo Yubari .gif

So that ironic flair to this character ended up being one of my favorite parts of the project

"Can I eat peanuts from your hand?... Or else?"

A few of my thumbnails for "Fall".

I noted that two of my previous covers, from quite a while back, had a formal, portrait-like quality,

This time around, I focused more on the landscapes' depth, texture, and color. I wanted to create more of an atmospheric context for the animals.

It was fun incorporating new little design elements to the typography ( a maple leaf for "Fall"and roots for "Overworld") to add continuity from the nut and feather symbols previously used. Overall, I had a great time learning from the new challenges these paintings presented.

Now onward to my New York reaction piece, and thesis work! So much to do, and so much I'm looking forward to doing!

My cute little varmint celebrating the holidays

Sunday, November 16, 2014

New York Contact Period

I've just returned from an exhilarating trip to New York city with my Hartford MFA group. As Doctor Seuss might say "Oh the places you'll go!", and we certainly went and saw so many great places, and people, that my head is still spinning (in a good way). Throughout the week, we had a line up of incredible guest illustration speakers:

1. Rudy Gutierrez: http://www.rudygutierrez.net/
2. Barbara Nessim: http://www.barbaranessim.com/
3. Donato Giancola: http://www.donatoart.com/
4. Steve Brodner: http://stevebrodner.com/ 
5. Joe Ciardiello: http://www.joeciardiello.com/
6. Yuko Shimizu: http://yukoart.com/
7. Burt Silverman: http://www.burtonsilverman.com/
8. Peter de Seve: http://www.peterdeseve.com/

This took place at The Society of Illustrators http://www.societyillustrators.org/. It was my first time visiting. Never have I wanted so badly to simply set up house in a museum.

Happy illustrators discussing illustration at The Society of Illustrators.

 It was a surreal moment to come face to face with the original of one of my favorite book covers (Sabriel by Garth Nix) from a special display of Leo and Diane Dillon's work http://www.societyillustrators.org/The-Museum/2014/Leo-and-Diane-Dillon/The-Art-of-Leo-and-Diane-Dillon.aspx

"Sabriel" cover art by Leo and Diane Dillon

 We held our first critique for our finished magazine cover projects, at The Society as well. As Murray and Carol Tinkelman were unable to attend this time around, we had a successful Skype session with them during the critiques.

Our magazine projects are lined around the bottom.

My finished cover piece of Maria Callas inspired by Coby Whitmore's style:

On another day, we toured the beautiful Pratt Institute campus,

 and the stunning home of collaborative children's book couple, Ted and Betsy Lewin, where we also received a lighting and reference photo workshop with Bill Kontzias:

Ted Lewin's watercolors up in his studio

Some lighting exploration

 There was a lively evening drawing session with Ted Michalowski http://tedmichalowski.com/ at the Society as well.

How cool is it to watch yourself materialize on paper, within a few moments? Very cool! (drawing by Ted Michalowski) 

I also got to see the gorgeous Cloisters with a family member. The Unicorn Tapestries were unforgettable http://www.metmuseum.org/visit/visit-the-cloisters

On the final day, our bedazzled class walked into the Illustration House, a rare gallery and auction house for originals of famous illustrators. http://illustrationhouses.com/, and saw work hanging on the wall, which is featured in our Illustration History book: The Illustrator in America (1860-2000). We had the privilege of meeting editor of the book himself, Roger Reed (president of Illustration House). It was exciting to see how staunchly this gallery has worked to keep this illustration documented and available to view and purchase, but a little sobering to hear undervalued illustration has been in comparison to fine art over time. It is mind boggling how anyone could look at work like this...

...and not see it as every bit important, worthy of praise, and influential as the work of fine painters.

It's easy to take for granted what surrounds us daily, and the rich history of the profession. I would encourage anyone to visit The Society of Illustrators and The Illustration House to see the unique beauty illustration brings to our lives, and to be inspired anew by the incoming artists.

Monday, October 13, 2014

October Updates

After getting back from the July summer session at Hartford, and completing some papers, I've been working on an exciting assignment: Create a cover for a particular magazine, of specific decade, in the style of an illustrator from that time period.

I'm painting Maria Callas on the Saturday Evening Post (50s) in the style of Coby Whitmore.  Before even getting started on the final, I spent a pretty long time on process. Here are just a few of the thumbnails and value studies

Interestingly, the final piece I'm working on has evolved dramatically from any of the compositions I initially came up with.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Getting ready for grad school

Haven't been posting much lately, as I'm preparing and trying to come up with good project concepts for my first term at the Low Residency Master's in Illustration program at Hartford University, for which I'm very excited! It looks like it's going to be an intense but wonderful journey :)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Terrain of Shade

Sneak peek of upcoming Nightmare Illustrated drawings for Jordan Elizabeth Mierek's "Terrain of Shade"

For more about Nightmare Illustrated, visit their blog: http://nightmareillustrated.blogspot.com

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014

Nelson Mandela Commission

I was recently commissioned on Dreamup to create an illustration of Nelson Mandela's inspiring quote, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." I enjoyed the process for this challenging and broad concept quite a bit.

I began with some crude thumbnails where I explored ideas :

--I thought of an archer shooting an arrow of education at the Earth, and educational items sprouting up. This didn't seem to fit, and raised the question of gender, and god figures.

-The idea of a weapon of education cutting into the earth, and again something positive coming out, but this had the connotation of division.

-An hourglass with the Earth in the center, and educational things pouring on, and negative things pouring out. The biggest problem here was that the hourglass would run out.

The best idea involved hands surrounding the Earth, and participating in educational activities to better and enrich it. There could be one hand stopping another holding a knife, while yet another offers a book as an alternative to violence. Still another hand would be planting a sprouting seed of knowledge or education. The hands could be different colors to emphasize multicultural backgrounds.

 I began to play around with where I might fit the typography:

Basic linework

The typography was getting a bit lost so to increase emphasis on the quote, I worked it out some more

Once the linework was refined using pens, sharpies, and some digital touch ups, and approved by the client, I moved on to coloring digitally and adding in textures. A decision was made from a selection of schemes.

The last step was final touch ups, tightening linework, and places where colors got a bit sloppy for a final refined look.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Under the Sea

Observational clothed figure drawing class: We were encouraged to create a unique setting and situation. The model was seated on a high box on top of a platform, by a window, leaning on a stick. I got an under-sea-king vibe from it somehow. I had so much fun, there's a chance I might want to turn it into something finished.

The model posed on a bike last week.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Feet and Folds

Some recent sketchbook work from observation and reference. I'm experimenting with ballpoint pen and focusing on feet, clothing folds, and in general clothed people. It's been challenging for me to sketch loosely and not be too married to one single picture at a time from start to finish these past few years, but I'm working to overcome the block and free myself a bit more.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Another creepy drawing for Nightmare Illustrated, and some observational practice.

Something on the scary side for a story about eyes...
Owch on those hands, shouldn't have waited to do them last.

Hands practice

Monday, February 10, 2014

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

The horror!

Some work for "Nightmare Illustrated", a magazine put out by Horrified Press. Check them out here!:

To find out more about the writer of this story, visit here