December 7, 2012

Poetry Magazine

To celebrate their 100yr anniversary Poetry magazine decided to commission different artists to do a version of their Pegasus covers from earlier years, for every month of 2012. Art direction and design by Alex Knowlton.

Here are some old covers with some very beautiful and charming drawings. The call for me came in March so I got to see the three covers already done by Cathy Bleck, Felix Sockwell

And I was told there would be upcoming covers by Milton Glaser and Yuko Shimizu.... so no pressure ; )

I knew I wouldn't be able to add anything comparable in charm, beauty or design among that group of artists. So I decided I might have hope adding some variety in a conceptual approach.

First I focused on the concept of poetry sometimes being mysterious like a riddle.

Second I tried to simplify the pegasus conceptually rather than visually.

I sent both in, just in case the reduced one was too different.

The editors liked the reduced frontal head and wings, but really felt like it couldn't have any gradations, which was too different in execution than the other months.

So I quickly rolled out a more graphic one in under an hour.

I say rolled because both of these pieces actually started out the same way, as an embossed line drawing on heavy paper board. It just depends on how thick, thin, wet or dry I apply the paint to my brayers and then how much pressure and speed I use when I roll them over the embossed line drawing. It's simple enough but almost impossible to really control and it involves alot of frisket and swearing due to complete wash outs and having to emboss a whole new board or trying to fix it in photoshop...

BUT the best part was being able to see what everyone else did. So fun and educational for me to see how artists approach the same problem but it comes out so different!

And that's why I waited until December to post this, so I could show the variety of the total year. A real selling point to commissioned illustration. My favorite was Melinda Beck's and design wise Yuko's and Cathy's.

Cathy Bleck, Felix Sockwell, Michael Bierut and Milton Glaser.

Marian Bantjes, Yuko Shimizu, Melinda Beck and Oded Ezer.

Bernard Williams and Art Chantry.

And finally the printed product.

November 14, 2012

Duping the Donors

For Bloomberg Markets, article was on telemarketers that raise funds for charity that end up keeping most of the donations for themselves. This is how it looks on the ipad version of the magazine.

The roughs were a challenge, I didn't I'd be able to make anything interesting out of donating money and telemarketers. So I tried to focus on the concept of their greed and shrewdness.

And the spread in print. Art direction by Siung Tjia.

October 31, 2012

Art is Dead

For an article in the Wall St. Journal, originally titled "Art is Dead".
A great read!

The title was later changed to How Capitalism Can Save Art, but I liked the original title. It was more inspirational for me in the concepting phase. I was leaning toward the dead fish, but Keith picked a better one in the end.

One of a few of the composition and color studies.

September 14, 2012

TIME: Cheap Oil vs. Green Energy

For TIME on how a new age of cheap oil could undo the nascent green energy revolution.

Some roughs, I've always loved making faces with outlets, but Nai thought the battered windmill was better.

And the piece in print.

September 5, 2012

The Dawn of BBQ

A Wall St. Journal article was about how meat-eating and evolution were tied together. Basically the prehistoric roots of BBQ.

The editors specifically requested a caveman grilling, so I explored that. But of course I tried hard to come up with some better ideas. Really enjoyed spoofing 2001 Space Odyssey and a Banksy piece.

But Keith being the smart art director he is picked the cave painting idea, which was very fun for me to try to imitate that style.

Trying to imitate the surface of this reference I used my usual printmaking technique but I hammered, scratched and used charcoal and chalk over it.

But still didn't come close to the beauty of the real thing.
Perhaps I just need a 30,000 year old patina....

August 15, 2012

Runner's World

 It's always fun to get a job from Runner's World because they use a lot of quality illustration.

And I enjoy the challenge of trying to do something new with a runner or running shoes, because I have a feeling they've seen it all, or close to it....

The subject was getting back into a running routine after an injury or time away.

Here's the smaller one that went on the turnpage.

But there was a hang up with the final, and this is why it's helpful to have a second set of eyes on a job. It was pointed out my foreshortened leg could be confused with something else.


 The "fixed" version in print.

August 8, 2012

The Gentler Face of Tyranny

For Bloomberg Businessweek. An book review of "The Dictator's Learning Curve".
The headline was "The Gentler Face of Tyranny" that was written after they saw my final, which was a nice touch.

I had to make sure there were plenty of ideas without fists, just in case they used the book being reviewed as a design element, since it had a fist on it's cover...

.... which they did. Thanks to Chandra for the good art direction!

July 31, 2012

Seattle 2012

For Seattle Met magazine on Seattle's failed attempt to get the 2012 Olympics. I was excited to get this assignment from Chris Skiles, such a visually rich subject matter....

Had alot of fun with these roughs, and learned about the Seattle Troll in the process. I've flown into Seattle plenty of times, but only really been there once. I even tried to come up with some lil seattle mascots, which was alot of work for a rough, but I couldn't stop myself, because I love that Northwest Indian art.

My favorite was actually the Pike's Market fish javelin thrower, but I was happy to do the pole vaulter, which is a more classic graphic image, thanks Chris!

July 24, 2012

Progressive Cover

 Progressive Cover for August. Article was by Wendell Berry on how most people have lost their connection to the land.

I did a few that spoke directly to that, but some others that hinted at the fertility cycle.

Here's the piece on the cover.

And Nick chose this horn of plenty glove for the bw inside piece.
Makes me want to garden more.

July 23, 2012

CASE Silver award

Just found out this illustration spread I did for Stanford awhile back won a Silver in CASE which is basically an organization of all the educational magazines.
Thanks to Giorgia Virgili for the great art direction and brilliant test like design, which really makes it standout.

May 29, 2012

The Art of The Art of Fielding

This was for a book review panning "The Art of Fielding" in the Atlantic.
The reviewer thought it didn't live up to all of it's hype. The headline the editors really wanted was "A Swing and a Miss" so I had to include a basic batter swinging and missing.

They choose the one that went with the headline, but I really wanted to add a concept to it, so I thought it would be fun to spoof it's striking cover, designed by Keith Hayes at Little Brown.

In researching the cover I came across this blog on the process of designing this cover, which is always fascinating to me. Looks like Mr. Hayes explored alot of directions.

And here's the piece in print.

April 23, 2012

Couples Cosmetic Surgery

About couples getting cosmetic surgery together, for the LA Times. Wesley Bausmith AD.

The first info I had on the story was that one partner got cosmetic surgery and that inspired the other to follow, hence the comic strip solution.

But when the actual story came in it was more about couples doing it together and one was on valentines day. Thanks for the fun assignment Wes!