28 September 2009

Busy Weekend

After a rather slow week, this past weekend started off strong with a few jobs for my Hong Kong client (the cover below, and a portrait below that), several jobs to work on over the coming week, and another health care spot for the Wall Street Journal (above). Nice to be active again.

25 September 2009

Wrapping up September

A slow start to the week, but things started picking up again near the end. The job above was a rush job for the Chronicle that came in Wednesday with a Thursday deadline. Then on Thursday I got one from the WSJ for an early Friday afternoon deadline. (pictured below). I had scheduled a rehearsal with a music partner for an upcoming gig, and was hoping to clear out my Friday afternoon, so I planned on doing the Journal job early. I also had a job for Newsday come in on Thursday. Being the only black and white illustration of the bunch, I didn't figure I had to worry too much about that one, and planned on getting that one done early Thursday evening.

Of course, it ended up being the most complicated one of the bunch. The article was about the rise in heroin use in the suburbs, and not knowing much about drug use, I assumed heroin=needles and based my original sketches on that concept. (one of which is pictured below)

Well, heard back from the AD, and it turns out that the 'heroin use' in the article is about snorting or smoking and not shooting up, so I revised the sketch concept on Thursday and proposed a reworked version of the second of my sketches, which ended up looking like this in the final version. Was okayed by the AD and I went to finish Thursday night.

Friday afternoon I get a call from a different designer at the same paper, who had taken over the project for the weekend, and now apparently 'smoking' is no good, they want 'snorting', so I worked up a revised version (working around the music rehearsal in the afternoon), and managed to get the finish to them by 5.

And just heard from another client, and looks like I'll have a project to work on over the weekend as well. Meanwhile, I'm still waiting on the 'pirate' project, which has now stretched an extra month in the sketch approval process. Also, today, I received a couple copies of a book that I illustrated the cover of back in February of this year. The format turned out a little differently than anticipated, but the illustration printed nicely despite some unusual design and layout choices.

22 September 2009

900 Miles

After several weeks of hectic and busy, work has suddenly put on the brakes and left me stalled by the side of the road. So I'm the taking advantage of this brief assignment dry spell by catching up on a few personal projects. Did a holiday mailer image over the weekend, and on monday did a child's portrait for a friend. Worked in a 'pastel' style, which I haven't done in several years. Back when I was first starting out, this was what I had visions of being my 'signature style', but I had no idea at the time how difficult shipping and protecting fragile pastel art could be (or how messy it would make my office for that matter). Of course, digital pastels have none of those problems, but I rarely work this way anymore, even though the digital tools seem to emulate the real thing fairly well.

But if this train runs me right, I'll be home Saturday night,
and I'm 900 miles from my home...

20 September 2009

Deck the Halls

This weekend worked on my holiday mailer. This was a concept that was suggested to me by my cousin Bridget. Had a lot of fun with this one, and had no idea how enjoyable entrails could be to draw. Will probably be printing this one on a 8x6 oversize postcard and will send them out in December, and will also be printing up a larger size 'print' to give to my cousin.

16 September 2009

Mid Week Round Up

The illustration above was for Barrons this week to accompany an article about the monster.com website, utilizing their 'monster' mascot (who, up until this week, I was completely unfamiliar with).

Below is a small quick spot illustration I did for a new client out in California, of a fly fishing lure.

Also, this week marked the end of an 8 year collaboration with Wall Street Journal designer Sue Foster on a series of health care spots. When I first started doing these, they were black and white line art, and was a weekly column. A few years later they started asking for occasional color spot illustrations. Eventually the feature went from a 'weekly' to a 'every other week' appearance, and I began routinely providing a color version, in case the art fell on a 'color page' or if the illustration needed to be reprinted on the cover as a 'teaser'. This column may or may not continue in the future, but with a new designer at the helm, but I wanted to take the time to thank Sue for an always fun and interesting ongoing project, and wish her good luck in her future endeavors. The illustration below was the last one for Sue at the helm.

Sometimes they were serious, other times not, other times they were surreal or downright goofy. 273 illustrations in all, and several can be seen in some of my 'reprint libraries' (here or here or here). A few of my favorites from the past are reproduced below, and if you click on the small thumbnail, you can see larger versions (many of them reproduced at a larger size for the first time on this site).

from left: 2004, 2003, 2006

from left: 2006, 2003, 2004

14 September 2009

Die Verd├Ąchtigen

Since around mid-July I've been working on a board game project for a client in Helsinki. This was similar to a game I did earlier in the year, but retooled for the German market. Where the previous project was set in Helsinki around 1934, this one was set in Dresden around 1930. Many of the basic concepts and designs were the same, aside from some different characters, buildings, borders, details and color schemes. There will no doubt be some revisions to this before it gets to the finish line, but most of the work has been done. You can click on the images of the cover and board to see larger versions of each.

And, like the previous board game, there were the additional bits and pieces. Game tokens, starting place cards (each with a picture of a particular Dresden landmark), character cards, and a rules/story booklet with 6 illustrations of scenes from the 'mystery' (2 of which are pictured above).

From what I hear, the original game took 3rd place at the 'game of the year' competition in Finland and here's the link to the official site (and an additional link to the game description page).

There are now rumors that this may continue in other markets in Europe, so I may be doing a few more of these next spring for a couple other cities.

12 September 2009

Back to School

Well, that was a quick summer, and now that Labor Day has come and gone, we are now well into the first week of 'back to school season'. My son has returned to Chicago to start his sophomore year at Columbia, and meanwhile I am back hard at work trying to help pay for it. I am still working on a few ongoing large projects, but the board game project is getting near completion, and the 'pirate' project has yet to be given the 'go ahead', so I should be pretty busy for the next couple weeks at least. In the meantime, the short term projects continue to insinuate themselves into the cracks and mortar of my work week. The illustration above was one I completed earlier this week for the Chronicle of Higher Education. I also had a few Wall Street Journal assignments later in the week. (below)

This assignment for the WSJ on Thursday (on Employment and Relocation) was a rush job in which I was asked to provide two different sizes, not sure if it was because of how the international edition would end up using it, or if maybe they weren't sure what size would be available come deadline time. The next day I was contacted with another set of 'icon' illustrations. This assignment was a set of four small spots on broad topics (housing, credit, taxes & investing) for an article and chart on how each was shaping up in the current economy.

09 September 2009

Christmas Card Sketch

Thinking that I might try and get a head start on this year's holiday mailing. I found myself with a few moments between jobs this afternoon and worked up a rough sketch. This concept was a suggestion from my cousin Bridget, and besides using these for my own promotional xmas mailing, I'll be printing up a nice digital print for her, by way of thanks. Haven't quite decided what style would work best for this, but I'm leaning towards an 'oil painting' technique.

01 September 2009

Busy Weekend

Things started picking up a bit starting last Thursday. A couple of 'maybe' jobs that are still in negotiation, the ongoing board game project has entered the 'board' stage and is keeping me pretty busy, and the 'pirate' project continues to circle in a holding pattern until after labor day. Meanwhile, this past weekend I took in a few projects for Barrons (the Uncle Sam illustration and the 'airplane boarding' illustration below), plus a faux 'railroad travel poster' cover illustration for my Hong Kong client (pictured above). September seems to be starting off a little stronger than any of the past three months. Not sure if it is clients returning from vacations, a recent postcard mailing, or just a seasonable upturn, but the work is definitely welcome after a slow summer.

Below is another Wall Street Journal project that I completed last week, something to do with in-flight wireless internet charges, and below that, another of the Journal's 'health care' illustration spots.