Posting about what I make is still a novelty to me. Here is where I show my age. Sit back and cringe. I developed as an artist in the 80's and 90's. Way before the internet and just before the idea that digital art could stand on it's own as a legitimately accepted technique. Fast forward a decade and I'm a bonafide freelance illustrator! I seemed to be getting calls left and right from magazines everywhere. Time mag. New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, and many others that unfortunately do not exist anymore.
All I had to do is work and meet my deadlines. I'd send out the occasional promo card or take an ad out in a book. Simple. The newer or as I like to call them "successful" artists are good at more than just drawing and painting. They can write, demonstrate, and connect with so many people on the web that they just seem to blow up!
Putting every line and thought you have on your website or blog is effortless to them, but not to me. So I labor over what I have and what it looks like and even more about what to say about it. I read too much Ginsburg, Kerouac, Dylan, and Morrison, to know how to write like a sane person! And THIS is why updating my blog here once or twice a week is still special to me.
This for the Houston Press last week. The story was about families arguing over who gets what from the dying relative. They sent me some reference from the Family Feud game show as a way to set up the look they were after. I was fascinated with the samples from the 70's and 80's. I had to give it that look!
Alas they didn't really want the 70's, and they wanted a less exaggerated look. So I sent them a second sketch that they liked better but said I could get a little less formal with the clothing and gestures. Maybe make the arguing siblings a little younger.
I was channeling my comic book days from the early 90's but with a little more of the wisdom I've accumulated over the years. This is about %90 paint and %10 digital. I would have liked to have thought about the painting in the back ground more, but I guess a tidal wave gets the point across?
As an aside. I just checked out the Sargent show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC this past Sunday and it was amazing! Highly recommend! He still got it!
I like watching sports highlights. Not constantly, but in a noisy bar those are the things that make sense when the televisions' sound isn't on. Gut catches a ball, guy hits a ball... it's not difficult to see what happened. By the 3rd or 4th time looking up and seeing the same guy catching a ball in the outfield in a full out dive from several angles as he slid on his stomach for what looked like 50 feet, I had to draw this.
As I drew, I imagined all the things he would have slid over if he was making that play in the little league field I played on. Earth worms, crickets, frogs, bugs, rabbits, someone's paper McDonald's bag of their garbage... Maybe bones? moles? ACTUAL GRASS!!?? I thought it might make for a good sports illustration when I get around to experimenting again. This done in a bar with no pressure of a deadline is a beginning.
It's OK that it's Monday again, that just means we get another week to do our thing! Today I share with you the story of the cover I painted for The Week Magazine last week. It came out Friday, July 17th.
Cover meeting at The Week. Iranian nuke deal. The editors ask for John Kerry and Hassan Rouhani as cooks in a very used looking kitchen. The first thought that came to my mind was what a mess my own kitchen usually is. Then all the opportunities for symbols and metaphor. I wasn't trying to hide anything the editors didn't want so I put them all out there. I put a half chopped carrot on the floor as in "dangling a carrot in front of a horse" type of idea. Of course, who was the horse in this scenario?
I made a clear indication of a two headed chicken which for me referred to nuclear energy like the three eyed fish in the Simpson's cartoons that live too close to the nuclear plant. I had a cleaver stuck in to that. They told me one head was good enough. HA! I didn't think they'd let that one in but it doesn't hurt to try. If I don't try to be creative and try for the unorthodox I'll get boring. Boring is bad. I thought the cleaver stuck in the chicken would have been too much for them but they let that go. I had to do an image of Assad with dead bodies behind him for another cover and I made them bloody and they let that go too. I guess implied violence is OK but not silly. But Kerry and Rouhani as chefs in a dirty kitchen is pretty goofy as well.
I get inspired easily. A few months ago a friend introduced me to a really cool guy who owns a big magazine in the comic world. It's been around a long time and it's one of those nostalgic clients I'd still like to check off my list that I worked for. I've checked off Time Mag. New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Marvel, and DC Comics, to name a few. Not Rolling Stone yet. Are you listening Rolling Stone???
ahem, I don't have any commitments from him, but I started thinking about some of my favorite Heavy Metal characters from the 80's. Ranx Xerox, or Ran Xerox, or whatever incarnation they had to use because of copyright always caught my attention. It had gratuitous violence, a strange eroticism, and the backgrounds always had weird slice of life type of things happening. I think it was set in the future and I was never sure what the actual stories were about, but the art was always powerful and beautiful. Tanino Liberatore was a great artist in my 13 year old's mind. I have seen a lot more art since then so I have more art heros now but the clincher for me was that he did the cover for Frank Zappa's "Man from Utopia" album. I still have that album!
This illustration was finished and scanned under stressful conditions. My computer was in the shop. I had a makeshift set-up with Molly's laptop hooked in to the Cintiq and scanner. The pen tool needed to be recalibrate for the laptop and the Cintiq but my eyes were bleary and rolling around in my head making this a frustrating task as the deadline was on top of me! Coffee could not save me. Six faces in an illustration is a lot! The reference quality was average at best. Business people usually don't have many photos of themselves on line and the few they have are usually poor. I did my best to overlook the inconsistent light sources and put everything together. On top of everything else, I had started drawing the final on some new paper that wasn't the greatest for my gouache. No time to redraw on the good paper so struggle onward.