15 December 2006

Holiday Shuffle

Tis the season, and I had a few holiday themed projects fall onto the workbench this month. It was a hectic month, as we had planned a trip to the Bahamas for an extended weekend for our wedding anniversary, and with Xmas falling on a Monday this year, I had a few regular jobs that needed to be shuffled around, or done ahead of time. The above project was for the Wall Street Journal, a scene of Santa flying down toward the stock exchange. Not being overly familiar with the area and buildings around there, it was tricky finding the right reference materials to help sell the image. I had done something similar as an xmas card for another client the year before, so the whole santa/sleigh/reindeer iconography was something I was sort of familiar with. And, in a similar 'zooming around' theme, I had another small black and white spot for the weekend edition of the same newspaper around this time.

Even the semi-regular 'health column' gig took on a holiday flavor around this time, with an article about holiday flu season. My pitbull 'Lady' made a couple gratuitous appearances on a couple illustrations this month, both in the 'flu season' spot, and in a piece on New Year's resolutions for Newsday. My wife was also good enough to pose for me on this one (and this time I actually ended up making the character look like her). (pictured below)

Another couple pieces for the same newspaper are pictured below. The first one was about investigating family histories, when one half of the family is basically a blank for one reason or another. Then I received another 'tribute portrait' around the holidays when President Gerry Ford passed away. I was pretty pleased with how that one turned out.

Another fiction piece for Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. This one was about a pair of mysterious 'hollywood' millionaires, which had a sex change twist at the end, so I paid homage to a semi-well known photo of a favorite silent film actress to portray the 'man' in the story.

And finally, after doing a series of 'saint portraits' for America magazine over the past few months, the project culminated in a collage cover, both reusing one of the portraits, and adding a series of 'present day' scenarios to the mix. Collages are not a favorite subject of mine. I'm never happy with how things flow together and I'll avoid them if I can. Not always able to though.

10 December 2006

Xmas Mailing 2006

As both a combination xmas card and promotional mailer, worked up this homage to favorite giant creature movies with a giant rampaging santa terrorizing the populace. Kind of how I tend to feel every year as the xmas decorations seem to get set up earlier and earlier every passing season. Looking back on it now, it probably would have been more frightening had I made Santa with a big happy smile on his face instead of the evil grimace.

03 December 2006

Holiday Lull

Experienced a little bit of lull in the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it didn't help that we also took a short vacation around this time.
The above illustration was a same day rush job for Newsday. The subject was those two airline pilots who were being held hostage down in South America at the time. The simple solution worked well here, and for once I didn't overwork it with a lot of extraneous background clutter. Also had another of my 'health care' column spots for the WSJ around this time, this one being about meat 'freshness' devices. The chance to draw a cut of meat doesn't come around often, and I had a lot of fun with it.

An assignment for Barrons this month gave me a chance to pay homage to a favorite film image of W.C. Fields, as the topic of 'playing it close to the vest' came up. And another black and white spot illustration for the Wall Street Journal came through around this time as well, this one having to do with 'how different stocks measure up'.
And as a change of pace, I also had a cartoonish illustration for an activities page for Highlights magazine. The reader is supposed to put the 6 scenes 'in order' based on clues in the drawings (for instance, you would purchase a hot dog before you ate it, and of course you would eat it before you threw the trash away, etc etc). A challenge to draw a couple characters over and over again, and keep them looking like the same person from scene to scene.

The above illustration was for the American Bar Association, and dealt with paralegals and some issues involving their certification woes from state to state. I remember using my wife to pose for reference for this one. This was another of those cases where the AD was very specific about what they wanted as far as layout and subject matter, right down to drawing a rough sketch for me to work from. Remembered thinking at the time that this would make good stock art in the future, as all you would have to do is replace the information on the card.
Then one more rush job for the Journal, this one undoubtably about oil cartels or something of that nature.

18 November 2006

Fiction immersion

A pair of illustrations to accompany a story about a flooded farm and the rescue of a trapped calf for Cricket magazine was the big highlight of the latter half of a rather slow November. I had a lot of fun working on this pair of illustrations, as I got a chance to draw what for me has always been a very challenging animal, the horse.
I'm not real familiar with horses, from a structural or familiarity standpoint, and they always require a lot of research and planning on my end whenever an assignment requires their portrayal. (another 'horse' assignment is to the right, that also came through around this time, this one a small rush job for the Wall Street Journal) The illustration above would be the opening splash illustration, and the one below would be a smaller spot further into the text on the 3rd page of the story.

And another fiction illustration for Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, this one had to do with a murder investigation that involved a poisoning by rather obscure art materials, so my solution was a rather detailed and elaborate still life of an artists worktable.

Besides the two 'fiction' assignments, I also had the usual 'health care' column gig for the Journal that comes along every two weeks. This one on cholesterol screenings. And over the weekend, during this time, I also had a pair of portraits for the Far Eastern Economic Review in Hong Kong.
My memory isn't real good regarding the subject matter of these two portraits. I think one of them was the female ruler of the Philippines President Arroyo (the sinking boat was something to do with keeping the market afloat perhaps?) (right), and I don't quite remember who the other one portrait was of (pictured further below the 'dove' picture)

The 'dove on a sword' illustration above was for America magazine, that concerned the middle east peace process, if memory serves. I really liked how this one turned out, the white dove made a nice contrast with the dark blood encrusted sword, and some subtle blood splashes across the illustration kept it from becoming too static.

For a while now, I've been getting a series of assignments from time to time from Newsday whenever someone newsworthy passes on. This latest one was a personal essay about someone who considered the late Ed Bradley a good mentor, and rather than the usual straight on head shot portrait, I submitted a sketch of a view from behind of the 'mentor relationship', with only a hint of Mr. Bradley's features as one of my concepts. This ended up being the one that was chosen by the AD. Not really sure I'd categorize it as a 'portrait', however it seemed to suit the article well.

And, finally, I had a pair of illustrations for Barrons. The first one was a rather strangely shaped illo that showed a small figure hauling a house up from the edge of a cliff (not pictured, as it doesn't fit the page well, leaving a lot of white space around it, and not a particularly interesting illustration at that), and the other one regarded the wealthy taking advantage of tax breaks for making donations of personal effects. The AD wanted to make sure we understood how 'wealthy' the main character looked, so I sort of took a Thurston Howell the Third approach with the smoking jacket and ascot.

12 November 2006

Investment Client

For a period of about 5-6 years, I did a great deal of work for the investment firm AG Edwards, mostly for a quarterly investors newsletter, but also for several in-house advertising projects. When I originally contracted for this work, our agreement was for a 5 year unlimited usage, but since the company is actually no longer in business, I think it might be safe to post some of this work.
Anyhow, these are the illustrations I did for this company in 2006. Most of the work this year tended to feature the 'nest egg' concept, which was their current 'corporate image' in all their media ads. After a while, the 'egg theme' got to be a little constricting.