December 22, 2009

Creche Display

I always liked the old new yorker cover with santa holding up a newborn baby and how it captured both Christmas and New Years.
So this year I decided to see if I could do a card that seamlessly combined both.

I thought it might make a nice New Yorker cover, since their end of year-two week issue usually falls on Christmas and New Years. Here's the mock up I pitched to them in late November.
I knew it was a long shot, but I was happy it even got considered.

December 12, 2009

Newsweek International

This cover was for a Newsweek story about how about India has done a 180 when it comes to talking about carbon and climate change. I don't have the final cover design yet, but in the meantime here's the last typography I saw.
The roughs, the change that India is saying "Yes" now in carbon negotiations needed to be explored as well.

I did quite a few color studies for this one. Adolfo had the idea to push the orange to make it feel hotter/dirtier like global warming/pollution, but do it in abstract way. So in the final I ended up using some spray paint for the smog. I didn't dare risk overspraying the final painting, so I sprayed a similar sized board, scanned that and laid it in in photoshop.

December 5, 2009

Hospital Readmissions

For New York Times article on medicare and doctors cyclical problem of readmitting patients to hospitals. Therese Shechter, the clever AD suggested among other things a hospital bracelet, which I liked as a symbol, but what to do with it?

Therese picked the infinite loopish one and introduced me to it's actual name: mobius strip.

And here's the line drawing that I choose not to use in the final, seemed to feel deeper and more interesting with just a hint of line.

November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Here's the next in my series of greeting cards.
I'm going to do the entire year and then the whole years worth of cards will be offered for sale as a package.
If you want to get on the mailing list drop me a note of your address.

November 3, 2009

Assassination of Deputy Escalante

For the cover for the LAWeekly, about a young police officer gunned down for retribution by the Mexican mafia. Art director was Darrick Rainey. Got to do some research on Mexican gang tattoos, which was interesting.

The roughs.

Some color studies. I decided the black mass of thugs help the deputy remain the main focal point.

Here's the cover (thanks Jeff), I thought Darrick did a great job on the typography.
I did all line work on this because Darrick requested it, instead of my embossing textures because of printing concerns, which was fine. I actually love just line work, it's relaxing.

October 14, 2009

Happy Halloween

Kids are so hard to scare these days, so I had to go a different route.

October 5, 2009


For Suffolk Law School on creating more permanent family solutions for orphans, like adoption.
Art director was Kaajal Asher.
The roughs ideas.

Tighter sketch and color studies.

October 3, 2009

New York Times OpEd

Did the OpEd for the New York Times yesterday, on Obama on Iran and how his policy is in a free-fall. Art direction by Kim Bost.

Along with the usual ideas, I was thinking of Obama dropping the ball as a visual, but the problem is he's actually really good a sports. Then I remembered him throwing some gutterballs trying to bowl on the campaign trail last year and bingo something a bit more fresh.

Luckily the editors picked up on it as well and choose that one.

September 23, 2009

Regifting revisited

Ok I love it when I come across a great illustrator who has illustrated the exact same obscure subject as me. I love to see their thinking, since we had to chew on the same material.

I was a bit reluctant to post this, because my piece is about 6 years old and it shows!
But I couldn't resist.

Here is Daniel Hertzberg's version.
The variety is better, and his color is infinitely better!

And here are my roughs, sent to Josue Evilla at the Boston Globe back in 2004.

September 15, 2009

Progressive cover

For an article by Wendell Berry on returning the economy to long term sustainability. Painted with alot of extra bleed to give Nick plenty of flexibility in designing the cover. Ironically this figure has a very similar pose to last month's cover by Zina Saunders of former Gov. Palin, which well illustrated, in part, unsustainability.

The roughs. I really enjoyed concepting for this subject, it's dear to my heart. I try to live conservation minded as much I can, but I do live with a beautiful but normal north american wife and kids, so sometimes it's a balancing act not to become the "green nazi" of the house.

Preliminary drawing and color sketch.

Some details of the painting.

Piece that ran inside.

In print.

September 9, 2009

Green Scams

It's been interesting watching the, so called, environmental movement grow.
It must be gaining some adherents, because it's attracting some scam artists preying on people's green goodwill. This was an AARP Bulletin article about green scams. Art directed by the wonderful Cathy Kelley, whom I've had to the pleasure to work with for years.

The roughs, I was secretly hoping for the snake or the arrow thief.

The piece actually had to run silhouetted, but I liked the more ominous feel to the black background which I added later.

September 4, 2009

Patriot lovers and (haters)

I was surprised to get another job from ESPN, since the paint on the last piece for them was barely dry. The story was examining the lack of success in Bill Belichick's coaching tree. Art direction and design by Siung Tjia.

The roughs. Their favorites were the logo spoof and the hoodie. Siung opted for the logo spoof, which was my secret favorite as well.

Some reference ESPN sent me. I'm always amazed with doing portraits, because if I don't exaggerate the features a bit it, it doesn't look like them, and ESPN was keen on a likeness, so I was a bit nervous.

Line drawing and color study. I ended up changing to more blue to make your eye go to the branches first rather the Belichick's head, because that was more focus of the story.

Some detail.

In print. Should be on the newstands sometime this Labor Day weekend.

August 21, 2009

2010 Calendar

This will be for The Progressive's 2010 calendar, for the month of April.
It will be printed in 2 colors blue and black.

The event: April 8th, 1966 Last poll tax outlawed in US.

If you are unfamiliar with the poll tax, as I was, it was a fee to pay at the voting booth or to register to vote, basically a way to keep poor blacks from voting in the South.
I was a bit worried taking the assignment, just because the physical act of voting is so un-dynamic whereas the struggle to get there was so dynamic.

A few years ago I had done some roughs on voting in Iraq for TIME, for Edel actually when he was there, on democracy spreading in the middle east. So I think this idea of the river curtain must have come from this unused rough.

For roughs, this was all I sent the AD Nick Jehlen, a tight skethc and color study. I've never done that before, but I really liked it and wanted to see if Nick would go for it. He did.

For some reason I was thinking about John Hendrix's "John Brown" book when I was drawing these little KKK hoods, maybe his really cool use of scale I don't know.

July 22, 2009

Young Conservatives

Intellectually exhausted (see republican campaign in 2008), conservatives need some new thinking, and some young conservative thinkers are emerging, like W. Bradford Wilcox, Luigi Zingales, Megan McArdle and Reihan Salam. For the Boston Globe, art direction by Greg Klee.

Here's the roughs, Greg went for my favorite, my second was the elephant skull.

Ironically for a story about the need for some new original thinking, I spoof an 100 year old Rodin.

July 21, 2009


How would it feel to be traded for 10 bats? A bit humiliated? So did the late John Odom. This was for a tragic baseball story for ESPN the Magazine which gave me the sweet chance to do a conceptual portrait, something I really enjoy but rarely get to do.

When I was 15, I got a job drawing caricatures at "Casa Bonita" a tourist trap/restaurant in Denver, Colorado, which I did there and all over the West at fairs, festivals and rodeos through my college years. So in a way doing portraits takes me full circle to my first paying work.

Half way through concepting they told me the headline would be "punchline", so I made sure to cover that base as well.

Art direction by Tjia Siung

Tight sketch and color study. Having the sketch in layers was helpful to be able to move the bats around.
I think the designers at ESPN have an incredible handle on typography. Beautiful design by Siung Tjia.
Here's a quick summary of the story:

John Odom was good enough to be drafted by the San Francisco Giants out of community college and play three seasons in their minor league system. But when he was traded in 2008 from the Calgary Vipers to the Laredo Broncos for ten maple bats he became a punchline. A punchline he apparently could not live with being. Five months after the trade he was found to have overdosed on heroin and barbiturates.

July 3, 2009

Cheaper Solar Power

Although solar power is expensive it's getting cheaper, for LA Times. Art direction by Derek Simmons.

After I sent this rough to Derek, I realized I could consolidate both figures. So I told him and he said "go for it", without even asking for another sketch.

Here's the tight preliminary drawing. For solar nerds the line pattern on the panels is mitsubishi. Last summer I got to start concepting some ads for their solar panels, but like many ad jobs, it changed direction halfway through. I was bummed though, I had asked to be paid in actual solar panels, which would have been awesome.