15 January 2004

Taking chances

In this job, it is easy, when you are working day after day under tight deadlines to put yourself into a self imposed rut. You get comfortable treating each assignment in the same way, but by the same token, the magic slowly seeps out of your style. Above is a good example of my comfort zone around this time. A rather quick assignment for Newsday, regarding the 'search of WMDs' going on in Iraq. A nice enough job, with a certain amount of challenge to it (making those objects recognizable from the back through just their outline shape was a bit tricky), and I had a little fun with the background clouds, working in a different medium. But overall a little lacking in magic. I generally didn't like to experiment with different styles on quick turnaround pieces like this, because you never know if it is going to work out, or how many dead ends you are going to steer down on the way to the finished product. I usually tend to play it safe with a tight deadline.

Other clients, however, gave me a bit more liberal time frame, and usually were more than happy to see me 'try something new'. Sometimes it was a success, and other times I fell flat on my face, but it was a learning experience nonetheless. Below is an example, again for Newsday, but with a bit more time involved. This was a piece on diversity in the voting booth, and I decided to try a piece in 'digital pastels' with a bit of a softer edge to it. I'd worked for years in pastels back when I first started out, but the mess and difficulty in transporting pieces through the mail made it more trouble than it was worth. I really should get back into it a bit more in the future, as I don't think there has been a dud any of the times I've tried going back to it.

Less successful was the piece below, for US Catholic magazine, where I was asked to draw a shelf of musty old books that they could then insert book titles onto. I tried something of a mixed media approach to this one, trying to play around with different paper textures. It came out ok, but not great. A little dull and lifeless.

Another one that came out less than magical, was this piece for the American Bar Association that I did in January. I tried using a mixture of scratchboard, and various pattern techniques along with a piece of provided artwork (the lease) that the client gave me. Not a total success, but not overly objectionable either.

The piece below, I approached with total nonchalance, and I didn't expect much from it, but thought I'd try a different technique to make it interesting. This ended up being one of my favorite pieces of the month. Using watercolor washes and overlapping colored pencil sketching techniques (and some careful homemade photo reference), I ended up with a nice little rendering. This was for America magazine, something about 'pulling the plug', perhaps having something to do with the terminally ill.

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