Monday, December 28, 2009

The Spirit of Christmas

This here's an illustration I did fer a friend o' mine. He and I are zombie enthusiasts and I thought he would enjoy an illustration depicting him in a zombie apocalypse situation. I was right. I wish I could do this kind of illustration all the time. I had an intense amount of fun drawing this one and I think it shows in the final result.


This isn't something I would normally do, but over Christmas (feeling restless but unwilling to do actual work), I did this sketch based on Odysseus. I've been re-reading "The Odyssey" and am again struck by how well the characters translate to comic book style illustration. Everyone in the book is either a god or god-like. No Woody Allen-esque men included, even for comparison.

There's a scene in "The Simpson's Movie" where Albert Brooks' character says "I want 10,000 tough guys and I want 10,000 soft guys to make the tough guys look tougher." Apparently, however, Homer ("Odyssey" author) was unaware of this technique. Shame, really.

Cartoon Character Final

Project "Q" character. His name is, as you might already have surmised, "Chink". Disclaimer (CMA): This is not a name chosen by me. It is also not based on the racial epithet, but another genesis with which I am not familiar.

The character is a raccoon with a proclivity for marijuana and snackie food. I'm a particular fan of the surfer's poncho (also not my idea, but a superb touch nonetheless). It's reminiscent of "The Dude" in "The Big Lebowski". I'm not sure why this particular article of clothing carries with it such specific connotations, but why question it, really?

Boise Weekly Illustration

Here's the latest for "The Boise Weekly". The story deals with the Idaho legislature's lack of funding for the upcoming year. The idea of the state government holding a bake sale to raise revenue is particularly attractive to me.

As far as the illustration is concerned, I've been more mindful of composition lately. I've been experimenting with various techniques and placements of elements in order to draw the eye to focal points. Ultimately, however, I can't be sure how the viewer will take in an illustration. There are theories as to how the average viewer's eye assesses a picture, but it seems unlikely to me that any blanket statement can be made regarding how people look at anything.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

New Concepts for Decagon

Here are several new concept drawings for a project with Decagon Devices. These will eventually be a set of illustrations to be included in a manual. The illustrations show placement of grounding rods and wire in relationship to sensors and the data logger to minimize the risk of lightning strikes.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Card Design

Here's a design I did this morning for an all-purpose card (mostly for thank you and note cards, really). The design, for anyone who has seen some of the print books I've made, will look familiar. I like the simplicity and elegance of this style so, for now, I'm going to stick with it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Now playing on Behance...

Howdy. I now have a portfolio on a site called "Behance", which is a venue for creative professionals. If you have a minute, go over and check it out. If you're generally familiar with the work on this blog, there won't be much over there you haven't seen, but it's a slick new context. Also, going to the site gets my numbers up and makes me feel good about myself.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Card

Here's a quick little drawing for a Christmas card. The animal is a Fennec Fox, which has an unmeasurable cute factor rating.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Speling: Not my strong soot

Remember how I said I was always wrong about gauging the final iterations of my projects? Well, I'm not sure if you can see it in the last post, but I spelled the word "charcoal" as "charcole". Blogspot has kindly underlined the misspelling for me in this post, but there's no such luxury in Photoshop (that I know of). Which is odd, considering its a $300 program. At any rate, it was easy to fix and it helps me to remember what a genius I am.

Art Auction Poster

Here's what I hope will be the final version of the art auction poster (or at least something close to it). Typically, whenever write a post about the final version of a project it turns out not to be the final at all. There are small or sometimes large revisions to be made after I've proclaimed the project to be complete. I'm not a superstitious man, but maybe my usage of the word "final" or any synonym thereof is a jinx.

At any rate, here it is. I drew inspiration from any number of sources including Jon Foster (general inspiration), Al Dorne (the hands in particular), and Frank Frazetta (lighting and figure). I'm really satisfied with the way the illustration turned out. I also paid particular attention to the composition and the way the viewer's eye might be lead around the poster. I'm not exactly sure how to measure my success in this endeavor, though.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Gumbo, Rounds 2 and 3

Remember Gumbo? Several weeks back, I posted a sheet of concepts for this character (part of "Project Q", my illustration venture with MI6 and Howard Hughes). After the client saw these concepts, there was some rumination and eventually an executive decision to try again, this time with the character as a Hispanic man with effeminate features. (I'll post the original set here as well.)

So, here are the results. I wasn't thrilled with outcomes, so I decided to keep at it. I sketched out three more alternatives, this time basing the characters on Prince, George Michael, and David Bowie from Labyrinth (none of whom are Hispanic). This time, I'm more satisfied with the outcome. Granted, it's easy to draw a character based on a real person who is already essentially a cartoon, but nonetheless, I think they fit the bill nicely. We'll see if the client has the same level of satisfaction.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Thumbnail

A concept for the art auction poster was chosen: the caveman. I tried to nudge them toward the Napoleon concept, but they were firm. I think it's for the best, at any rate. The Napoleon concept (a parody of an iconic David painting), while snigger-worthy (in my opinion, anyway) didn't leave much room for creative license in the imagery. After all, what could I possibly add to a Jacques Louis-David painting other than an auction paddle to improve it?

I spent some time yesterday playing around with various layouts and compositions and have decided on this one. The text layout is likely to change slightly, but I think this positioning of the various elements provides the best vehicle for the information and the visual elements.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Art Auction Poster Concepts

I've been commissioned to draw a poster for an auction benefiting a gallery here in town. It's an annual event and it's always good fun for a good cause. For me, the best possible scenario is one in which I'm told to produce something with virtually no prerequisites. Of course, the ideas had to advertise the auction itself, but the approach was left entirely up to me. I find I'm at my best when I'm left to run wild and free, because as the old saying goes, "Let your illustrators run wild and free." Here are some of the concepts. My favorite is the Jacques Louis David parody (he's one of my favorite).

Decagon Final Art

Here's the final art for the Decagon Christmas card. It was a fairly straightforward conclusion. The only real change I made (aside from some of the smaller details on the Eco Logger) is the inclusion of the moon, which I think helps to balance the composition.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Logo Redesign Redesign

Because of some limitations imposed by the screen printing process, the logo redesign for Decagon (see earlier posts for more info and images) had to be altered. Originally, a design of two overlapping circles was chosen (one represented soil, one water, and the overlap formed a a leaf). Unfortunately, I was unaware of color limitations and was asked to give it another shot, this time treating the logo as if it would print in black and white. Here are the results.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

LCRI Poster Revision

This is the latest version of the second poster I illustrated for Lewis-Clark Recyclers, Inc. While they were satisfied with the first drawing, they wanted a few extra details added (details that, in all fairness, I should have included and simply forgot). The recycling receptacles to the viewer's left of the bear are new (these were designed specifically for school recycling), along with the individual states now visible on the US map behind the table.

Decagon Christmas Cards

Recently, I was asked by Decagon Devices to come up with some concepts for a Christmas card. Here they are. I think there are 14 total. Typically, I don't do concept drawings in color, but in this case (particularly given the simplicity of some of them) I felt color would be necessary to communicate the concepts.

Decagon is a company for which I've done technical drawings and logo work within the last year. While working on these projects has been rewarding and challenging, I'm finding this project to be a blast for different reasons. It's a great way for the company to show a sense of humor behind all the serious research that goes on.

These are all relatively self-explanatory. The concept they chose is in the upper left-hand corner of page two. It's the North Pole with a product called the "Eco-Logger" (a device that relays information from the sensors to a computer) strapped to it. It was one of my favorites and I'm glad they chose it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dainty Project Designs

Here are a few character designs for a character named "JJ" (he's Dainty's dog).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New LCRI Poster

So, if you check in on this blog regularly, you may or may not have noticed a bit of a lag in posts as of late. This can be mainly attributed to the most recent project, a new poster for Lewis-Clark Recycling, Inc. The first poster was completed back in June. Although the previous poster (I'll include it in this post for reference) was well-received by the client, but I had reservations about it (mostly the usual neurotic, hyper-critical kind).

Well, I think this poster far exceeds the previous poster in almost all respects. The rendering itself (the overwhelming majority of which was done by hand with only a few digital alterations to the background), the information portrayed along with the manner in which it's presented, the amount of visual interest, and the overall mood of the new poster are all stronger. Only in terms of composition do I think the first poster bests the second. But, given the amount of information in the second poster (visual and text-based), I thought this perspective would be most advantageous.

As always, I'll wait to see what the client thinks. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they'll be as satisfied with the final product as I am.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ahhh, feedback!

Remember that cartoon I drew about the Vandals? I just talked to someone today who said, "Nobody got it. Nobody." The statement 'nobody got it' would probably have been enough of an affirmation, but bookending the statement with the word 'nobody' really gets the message across.

To be honest, I wondered if the reference wouldn't be too obscure. I also wondered if it wouldn't be difficult to tell the character labeled "Vandals" is supposed to represent Helen Keller, who is blind and deaf. In the end, though, I figured people would recognize Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller and subsequently put the two together. Oh, well. Would people have understood a more contemporary reference, or was it the execution of the reference that made the cartoon difficult to follow?

Oddly enough, this doesn't really bother me. It would have back when I was attempting to make a living at political cartoons. I suppose that's partially because I don't have much investment in cartooning anymore (I'm not bothered by that, either). Ok, back to illustrating. Cheers.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Last Minute Programs and People Illustration

On Friday, I was contacted by the magazine "Programs and People" with a request to do one additional illustration for the water issue (due today). I'm just about to turn in the result. I accepted because I love working for this magazine and I'm always up for a challenge. I'm happy I did. However, given the relatively short amount of working time, I'm faced with those all-too-familiar anxieties about whether or not this is as good a product as it could be. I suppose, however, that one of the blessings of these shorter deadlines is that the same time constraints make it difficult for me to over-analyze the result. In short, what's done is done.

The light source in this one is different than the source(s) I typically use and it really seems to punch up the drama of the piece. Hopefully, this is offset by the humor in the characters' faces (otherwise the piece risks being overly serious and might not fit in as well with the other illustrations for this story). I suppose I'd give this piece a six out of seven on my own personal scale. This number, however, is subject to change as time passes.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Political Cartoons light the corners of my mind...

This is the first political cartoon I've drawn in a long time. It's not even really political, which is one of the reasons I felt fine revisiting this format. The Vandal football team has undergone a truly remarkable change under the command of coach Robb Akey. Being UI alum myself, it's great to see the team do well. I've criticized the Vandals in the past for many reasons, but it's also important to give credit where credit is due. And it's due here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Brian Final Version

Project Q character "Brian" is now complete. Here's the result. Personally, I like it a lot. I'm sure I've met this man before and not liked him, which I think is the point. I think what makes this character successful is the detail. "God is in the details", according to Meis Van der Rohe. Though it's hard to imagine God being in a beer belly, tattered cargo shorts and a pink argyle golf shirt, I think these facets make the character look-worthy nonetheless.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dainty Outfit Concepts

Here's a set of potential Dainty outfits I'll be presenting to the client. Overall, I'm happy with the result of these. I have to keep telling myself, however, that they're just concepts and the little troubling details will be ironed out in the final version.

I can't get no....

Near the end of September, I posted a set of face concepts for a children's book character named Dainty. One of the faces was selected by the client and I've been working steadily since then on what she'll be wearing. It's been a process, to say the least. I haven't been particularly satisfied with the results until very recently (and there's still some coloring to be done). This post is the rejects. I can't say exactly what the problem was with these, only that the more I looked at them, the more they bothered me.

At some point, I think I'll have to address whether or not this is a problem. Here's the issue: dissatisfaction goads me into producing higher quality work. However, I'm still only in the concept phase of this project. Even a rough sketch should be enough to relate the visual ideas needed to advance decisions about a character. Even those concepts, however, are subject to the same level of scrutiny as a piece ready to go to print. This effort at this level could be seen as being counter productive (or at least inefficient time wise), and it behooves me to find a medium between my own perfectionism and a productive/efficient timeline for concept drawings.

Second Character Concept Set

This set of concepts is again for Project Q. The character's name is inexplicably "Gumbo".

Project Q Concepts!

Here are some body sketches for one of the Project Q characters. Earlier versions of the face can be seen in a previous blog post. The clients thought the first set of faces were too realistic and asked me to give them more options. I'm glad they did. I think the new set of faces is far superior to the first. The possibilities for expression are greater and the character seems to have much more personality. They chose the version in the upper left corner.

The body designs also turned out well. I haven't shown these to the clients yet, but I think they'll be well received. As you might have been able to ascertain, the character is a stoner (hence the accouterments). In the interest of COA, I will say we here at Kroese Illustration do not in any way condone the use or sale of illegal substances. That aside (minus the fur and army helmet), this character looks a lot like some guys I went to college with. There was this one'll save that story for another post.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Project Q Update

Here's the latest character concept set for Project Q. This character's name is Brian. The character is an obnoxious fraternity member. I think this is captured fairly accurately (based on my own limited interactions with some of the more stereotypical frat boys), particularly in the affectations of the full body poses. I wouldn't even want to ride in an elevator with any of these characters, which makes me think I did my job pretty well. We'll see what the client says about it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Decagon Logo Revisions

Here's a collection of logo redesigns for Decagon. Technically, they've already chosen the one they like, but this work was already done by the time they made their decision. I'll at least run this set by them and see what they think.

Project Q Concepts: Vinny

Here's the latest set of concepts for a character named Vinny. I'll also include some print mockups for previous characters in this project.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Concept From Previous Set

You can only post five images at a time, so here's the sixth in the recycling concept set.

Recycling Poster Concept Drawings

Some months back, I was commissioned to create a recycling poster. The final iteration featured a bear gingerly placing recyclables into a bin while humans at a nearby picnic table gawked (this can be seen in a previous post). The company liked the poster very much and has commissioned a second. These are the concept drawings for it.

These drawings were, for the most part, a lot of fun. My two favorites are the bear as the teacher (tweed jacket with leather elbow patches, of course) and the science fair. The science fair in particular brought back memories from my own elementary school days a billion years ago.