Thursday, December 2, 2010

Food Safety Icons

You know that scene in the movie "Alien" with John Hurt? Well, this kind of food safety is nothing like that. Nothing at all. Come to think of it, I'm not sure why I even brought that movie up. I'll have the stenographer strike it from the record.

These icons will accompany the factory illustrations. The four icons are temperature, water activity, acidity, and moisture content.

There's a page of concepts and then the finals. Cheers.

More Video Drawlins'

Here's set number two of the Aqualab illustrations.

Aqualab Video Illustrations

There's nothing dry about the Aqualab Duo, bwa ha ha ha ha!


The Aqualab duo is an instrument made by Decagon Devices that measures both water activity and moisture content. It has a number of different applications (remember the factory from a couple of posts ago?), but my understanding is that it's primarily used to determine food safety.

Water activity and moisture content aren't the easiest concepts to understand and, subsequently, the capabilities of the Aqualab can also be a bit tricky to grasp. To that end, Decagon is producing a video that breaks down the fundamentals into manageable morsels. These are the illustrations to accompany the narrative.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's a Wonderful Card!

I sometimes wonder what Kym and my celebrity mash up name would be (you know, like "Branjelina" or "Bennifer"). "Nym"? "NoKym"? "Kynoah"? "Kymboah"? Well, the world may never know. But here's Kym and my super awesome celebrity mash up Christmas card as a consolation prize. Of course, by "celebrity" I mean "ordinary citizens" and by "super awesome" I mean "super awesome". It's our house, looking all quaint and stuff. Just looking at our house covered in snow fills my heart with shoveling. I mean joy. Why would I say "shoveling" when I meant "joy"? Weird. Anyway, merry shoveling.

Decagon's Christmas Card

Has it been a year already since the heady days of my first Decagon Christmas card? Yes, as a matter of fact. As it turns out, once 365 days (or thereabouts) roll over, it's pretty much considered a year. You can probably find last year's card buried somewhere on the blog, but I'm not going to re-post it for you. Humbug.

Here's this year's card. I'll post the concepts as well. While I like the choice they made, I had my heart set on the bad sweater with the sensor on it. Made me smile.

Extra sensor perception

Several months back, Decagon asked if I would be interested in illustrating every sensor they produce and I was all like, "Boo yeah." Here they are, in non-alphabetical order. My favorite name is the anemometer. It's fun to say. Now you say it. A-Nuh-Mom-EE-Ter.

The Factory (non-Warhol)

"Marge, I'm sorry I tried to make gravy in the bathtub, I'm sorry I used your wedding dress to wax the car, oh, well, let's just say I'm sorry for the whole marriage up to this point."

-Homer Simpson

Sorry, sorry. It's been brought to my attention by several parties that I haven't updated in a while. I've been working like crazy and just haven't had the time or inclination. Consider this and the Homer quote my mea culpa. I'll be updating over the next couple of days with tons of new work.

The first is an illustration of a factory for Decagon Devices. The factory is a representation of a mid-sized food producer that makes cookies and biscuits. Decagon's Aqualab Duo has a bunch of applications throughout the factory and this illustration is meant, illustrate that. Follow-up illustrations with more specificity are in the works now.

This project was super fun, but I've never worked so hard in my life. Before this, the most work I put into a project was the University of Idaho campus map. By comparison, that project was a breeze. Each of the factory's areas has specific equipment that had to be illustrated individually in multiple point perspective. It ended up being an average of 10+ hours per day for 15 days in a row. Here's the result.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Final Display Panel

Here's the last of the display panels. It's a little smaller than the others (2' x 4'), but the level of detail was about the same so not much time was shaved off. The white box is an instrument housing (when you have sensors in the field the housing protects them from the elements). The first three images are concepts, the last image is the panel in its final incarnation.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010



Here's the third panel in this set (I have one additional panel to do after this one). This one is by far my favorite, which is a surprise. In some ways it makes sense: The most recent panel should be the most technically proficient. However, making corn (an extremely ubiquitous crop here in the US) interesting was a challenge. Personally, I think I did a decent job of it. The colors are rich, the composition draws the viewer's eyes around the canvas, and there's enough detail to make it worthwhile to take a second look.

As always, now that I'm at the end of this project, I'm just beginning to feel competent enough to do justice to the illustrations. But such is life. Overall, I'm really happy with the turnout.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Trade Show Panel No. 2

Finished the range this morning. Though I can't exactly articulate why, I like this one more than the rain forest panel. Maybe because it's sunnier and the rain forest panel looks like a section of the Degoba system.

Rain Forest Panel Final

For the trade show panels (did I mention the final versions are 24" x 72"?), the rain forest was chosen. This was partially for visual interest and partially to show the versatility of Decagon's sensors and devices. I think it was a good choice. Here's the final. What you're looking at is around 50 hours' worth of work. Worth it, I think. Drawing at this scale provides some interesting challenges, and I'm always up for those.

This was well-received at Decagon, which was a big relief. I've been drawing for as long as I can remember and doing client work for perhaps ten years. Even after all that time, I still get anxious about showing a final piece to a client. That's probably a good thing. It prevents me from cutting any corners and typically leads to client satisfaction.

Trade Show Panels

Decagon has a large show coming up in October. They asked me to work up concepts for three panels, each showing a different environment against which they will display various sensors and devices. They asked for three kinds of environments: a forest, a range land and some kind of crop.

I worked out three concepts for each environment. For forests, you'll see a baobab tree forest (Madagascar), a rain forest (Brazil), and a redwood forest (California, USA). Crops: Vineyard (Italy), corn, and Rambutan (a spikey fruit grown in Malaysia and Indonesia). The range land concepts were all based on images from various locations like Wyoming, USA and Australia (I can't remember the exact locations).

You asked for it

For years now, my millions of adoring fans have been screaming for a water balance technical illustration. Well, my friends, here you are.

Commissioned by Decagon Devices, Inc., this illustration shows the various movements water might make in a given area. Eventually, it will wind up in one of Decagon's catalogs.

I love this illustration. Seriously. There's something so satisfying and exciting for me about this kind of work. For me, a lowly illustrator, some of this information is new and downright baffling. When there are large amounts of information to be conveyed, the illustrations that accompany said information can be a bit dry. So not only do I enjoy being exposed to new information (I think they call that "learning"), I also love the challenge of making information like this visually exciting. Ok, maybe "exciting" is a bit of an exaggeration for most people. There won't be a warning beneath this illustration for people with pacemakers, but I think it will be interesting to people. And it was exciting to ME. So...bonus.

I was wondering the other day about my proclivity for technical illustration. It seems like most people wouldn't get this excited. I'm not sure if this has anything to do with it, but I realized recently that I'm a second-generation technical illustrator. My grandfather worked on technical schematics and illustrations. I have one he did for Hughes Aircraft. Is that cool, or what?

Programs and People Final Illustrations

The good people at "Programs and People" were nice enough to allow me to illustrate both the feature article and the cover, which I was super excited to do. As you'll see, they chose the concept of the little girl in the woods. All of the art continues with that theme.

I'm not sure if I've brought this up before, but I used to paint with oils years ago. It was the focus of my undergraduate show (large scale, photo-realistic portraits). I loved the depth of color and richness oil provided. But when I decided I needed to make money for things like rent and food, oil just wasn't practical anymore. Illustration means deadlines and oil was just too slow (and I never got the hang of acrylics). I also always had trouble creating sharp, fine lines with oil. I shifted over to watercolor, ink and colored pencil for years, but I always lamented the lack of depth.

The tablet provides the depth of color of oil paints and the fine, sharp lines and control of ink and pencil illustration. These illustrations are great examples of that versatility. And, with the increased speed, I'm able to add more detail and more visual interest to my work.

I always hope for my illustrations to accomplish a number of things:

-Please the client.
-Satisfy myself.
-Entertain and fascinate the audience.
-Create enough visual interest for people to want to look more than once.
-Be evidence that I love what I do.

I think these illustrations hit most (if not all) of those goals.


The Concepts Strike Back

This is the last of the Programs concepts. Search your feelings. You know it to be true.

Programs concepts continued

Programs and People Concepts

This set of concepts is for "Programs and People" magazine. The feature story in the magazine this year deals with budget difficulties faced by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Idaho, particularly with regards to the reduction in money from state and federal government. From there, the story goes on to describe the uncertainty in the programs' future.

As the story is multi-faceted, it was pitched to me from several angles. This is part of the reason there are so many concepts in this set. For the most part, though, I like to use what I call the "shotgun approach" at the outset of a project. Basically, it just means interpreting the story/project in as many ways as possible and coming up with a wide range of visuals to match.

My favorites:

-George Washington Graduate: This one is meant to depict the influence money has on various college programs and departments. The concept isn't as illustrative, but I like that it's visually very different and it was fun to put together.

-Soldiers: This concept was based on the various beleaguered parties within the college. Running a department at an institution of higher learning is difficult in the best of times. With severe budget constraints it becomes exponentially harder. These characters are based on Willie and Joe, the consistently exhausted Bill Maulden characters from his Stars and Stripes tenure.

-Little girl in the woods: Based on the idea that pursuit of alternate funding is leading the department into unexplored and unfamiliar territory, this Hansel and Gretel-esque concept I think nicely captures the emotional content of the issue.

-The Viking (or Vandal) on the desk: Also based on the "unexplored territory" vein, I like how different this one looks. Working digitally allows me so many more possibilities, which is exciting.

I'll post the concepts I liked first, then the remainder in two other sets.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

We've got a piper drawn, here...

These are the concepts and final version of a logo/crest for a local bagpipe band (the one at the top is the final version). The final iteration will be on a bass drum and part of a large flag to be carried into battle and parades. Ok, maybe just parades.