Friday, January 30, 2009

The latest for The Boise Weekly

Here's this week's "Boise Weekly" illustration. The story deals with Idaho Senator Jim Risch, specifically where he stands (or doesn't stand) on environmental issues. The copy takes the position that Risch has made a fairly equal number of decisions on both sides (benefiting and harming the environment).

I decided to use a parody of Harvey Dent/Two Face from "The Dark Knight". Whether or not the reference will be obvious is unclear. It's a little more difficult to portray the split personality of Harvey Dent without the obvious facial disfigurement. Risch is a pretty normal-looking man, so I used shadow covering half his face as a replacement for horrible burn scars.

Aside from that, I used a Photoshop gradient on both sides (lighter for pro-environment and darker for anti-environment). On the plus side, I showed this to a friend who recognized (after some uncertainty, it should be said) that the subject was meant to be Risch. Score.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Boise Weekly Illustration!

Here's the latest for "The Boise Weekly". The illustration accompanies a story about snow camping. I'm pretty satisfied with the way this turned out. Invariably, whenever an activity like snow camping is suggested, one person is almost always more enthusiastic than the other. I thought the inclusion of this idea, along with the expression on the mammoth's face, made it in terms of the concept. If I had had more time, I might have changed the mammoth to a frozen family of camping neanderthals.

In terms of the style, I'm trying to accomplish a more graphic novel-like aesthetic as opposed to a style closer to what I used in years of political cartooning. This means smaller eyes, less exaggerated features, more detail, and fewer heavy black outlines.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Abort Mission

Lately, I've been feeling the limitations of my standard mediums (watercolor and colored pencil). They're extremely labor-intensive and tend not to give me the richness of color for which I'm looking. So, in an effort to broaden my toolbox and hopefully increase my capabilities, I picked up some acrylics.

Unfortunately, I've already run into the limitations of those as well. Granted, I never actually learned to use acrylics, so I could be missing some pretty critical information here, but overall I've found them to be lacking in what I need. They dry insanely fast (five minutes or so) and, though there are extending mediums, they still can't be worked after application. As soon as I lay them down, they're pretty much down. Because of this, I've been using them more like a wash, and in that case I might as well just be using watercolors anyway.

So, what you see is my first attempt at acrylic illustration abandoned in the middle. I'm moving to oils, with which I have some experience. I figured if I'm already running into problems with acrylic, I might as well just get completely serious and move on to the oils, where depth and richness of colors is not the problem. The drying time issue is the opposite of acrylic, but I'll jump off that bridge when I come to it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Lindy's Work

Here are the most recent illustrations for "Lindy's Sports Annual" (this is the Seattle version, which only covers Baseball). The stories deal with the burgeoning romance betwixt A-Rod and Madonna and the fact that Rickey Henderson has played ball for nine different clubs.

I'm generally satisfied with the results here, but it was difficult for me to enjoy these. This project overlapped the Organic Debris Management project and I was, once again, working against the clock in a serious way.

ODM: Piece de resistance

Ok, hyperbole aside ("piece de resistance"), this final figure illustration took an intense amount of time and is also the piece of which I am most proud. I was working on it until around 11:30 (pm) the night before deadline. I saved it for last, knowing the hairy technical details and the fact that there would be subject matter I had never addressed visually before would make this piece the most challenging and consequently the most fun. I know, the idea that a potentially tedius technical illustration is the epitome of a good time for me likely signifies a need for some kind of perscription medication, but what can I say? In the words of Popeye, "I yam what I yam."

So, without further ado, here it is (along with a reference image).


This is the final figure illustration in the Organic Debris Management project. It represented the most serious investment in terms of time and difficulty. It is also the piece with which I am most satisfied. Here is the concept for it:


The final version and reference image for "Minimizing soil compaction".


At this point in the project, the stakes were raised (with respect to the overall detail of the figure illustrations and the subsequent time invested). This particular figure illustrates soil with minimal compaction. Here are the prelims for the figure:


The final version of "Treatment Zones", along with a reference image with which I was furnished.


Here are the initial layouts for the third figure, entitled "Treatment Zones". One of the houses included is a reference to "Amityville Horror". I thought it was entertaining, but the reference either went unnoticed by my clients or they noticed and didn't find it particularly entertaining. C'est la vie. One of the great parts about the concept process is the liberties it presents, even if only momentarily.


Here is the final version of the previous figure. My employers were kind enough to provide me with a decent amount of reference material (I find the more material I have at the outset of a project, the more it tends to positively inform my illustrations). Part of this material included illustrations produced by another illustrator on a project not dissimilar to this one. I will include some of these illustrations in the following posts.


This is the concept drawing for the second figure, entitled "Mycorrhizal fungi form a mutually beneficial relationship with trees".

Organic Debris Management 2

Here is the final version of that figure.

Organic Debris Management

"This project has totally consumed my life, darling." (Edna Mode in "The Incredibles")

One of the reasons this blog has been sans posts for a month is this project. I was commissioned to produce technical illustrations for an informational book about organic debris management. This essentially deals with the various ways landowners can manage their land to promote soil health and manage fire risk.

The first set of images is a figure showing the spatial relationship between logs on the ground level.

The end result

Here is the portrait in its final incarnation.

Mea culpa, also some new work

It has been brought to my attention that my posting has been lacking as of late ("lacking" as in "nonexistent"). I'll admit I was already well aware of this fact. And though I have many excuses, some even valid, I'd rather just shut up and post.

These first images are the preliminary sketches for a portrait commissioned by the subject's grandmother. This project is a great example of how important it is to have a second set of eyes for feedback. I had worked on these drawings for so long that I could no longer see what needed to be done. Even without any illustration experience, the client was able to see what needed to be altered in order to make the end result satisfactory for us both.

I'll post the preliminary sketches first.