Friday, June 15, 2012
In glaring contrast to last week's delightful single character illustration for ForexPros, this week's illustration was an epic, 6-character, 15-hour marathon drawing binge. It depicts Angela Merkel's attempts at dealing with the growing financial situation in the Eurozone, particularly with regards to the more financially-troubled countries derisively known as the "PIGS" (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain). When I was drawing political cartoons regularly (at one point as many as four or five per week), I worked without an awareness of the benefits to my technical proficiency. Turning out four cartoons per week will get you good in a hurry (well, good at the drawing side of it anyway; it won't necessarily do anything for one's political acumen). So, in spite of the unpleasantness of that volume of work, there were tangible benefits. It was also nice that I had deadlines. These deadlines kept me from being too finicky about the illustrations. Once they were turned in, they were done. End of story. No editing possible. And so it was with this one, which I won't pretend was a lot of laughs (but I figure I'm improving without knowing it). This many characters and this amount of detail meant that, unlike the Bernanke piece last week, I just didn't have the time to bring each character up to my standards. But that's just the way it is when there's a deadline. I used to call the critique I do of an illustration after it's been turned in "the Post Mortem" because, again, when it's done it's done. In theory, the obligation to meet a very fast deadline should make me a little more relaxed. After all, there's only so much I can do in a short period of time, so why worry about it? In theory, I should acknowledge what I like about an illustration, recognize what I didn't and rectify it next time, and then not think too much about the rest. In theory. Cheers.
Last week's illustration for Forex Pros involved Ben Bernanke. I have a feeling he will be a frequent subject, along with Angela Merkel. Given their influence in some of the largest economies in the world, this isn't too surprising. The trick will be depicting them well (doing justice to their features so they're recognizable) and, though I don't have editorial control over the subject matter, depicting them with some modicum of dignity. This illustration was intensely fun to draw. It was single-character, which gave me (relatively speaking) lots of time to work on the details of his face. I based the posing, expression and clothing on Michelangelo's God, who always looked pretty upset. I always enjoy the inclusion of classical painting elements into cartoons. I suppose because it gives me a chance to look at classical paintings, but also because the anachronistic quality of the images seems to contradict the medium of the comic and the subject of financial markets. So there we are. Cheers.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
For the past several weeks I have been producing a weekly illustration for ForexPros, a financial website on which any query you might have about markets, money, and all things financial can be answered. These are the illustrations from the past two weeks. In the first, Mario Draghi and Ben Bernanke stand opposite each other in a competition to see which can print more currency. The second has to do with Spanish Bond Rates and the ever-fluctuating situation surrounding the European currency union. Fortunately, the good people at Forex supply me with the subject matter and ask only that I illustrate their ideas. I'm afraid that my analysis would fall a bit short if I was actually asked to distill many of these subjects. My knowledge of Spanish Bond Yields is, admittedly, about as weak as a Facebook IPO (heyo!). But seriously, folks. These are fun illustrations. I never seem to get tired of drawing faces, particularly the subtleties of skin tone, lines and wrinkles, and hair. Very enjoyable all around. Cheers.
Hello again! Decagon is constantly producing new instruments and sensors, which I think is intensely cool. And by "cool", I mean "interesting", in that they have teams of scientists who find a need for data in some arena (soil, water, etc.) and then they invent a sensor that's capable of collecting that data. Not only that, but they're constantly improving on older sensors as well. This kind of innovation is fascinating and also somewhat baffling to me. I wouldn't even know where to begin if I wanted to, say, create an instrument that's capable of detecting soil moisture. My complete lack of scientific wherewithal makes the innovation and ingenuity at Decagon all the more impressive. I'll tell you what I can do, however, and that's draw them sensors. Like these ones here:
Here's the latest set of "quickstart" illustrations for Decagon Devices, Inc. The quickstarts are instructional illustrations for manuals that accompany various Decagon instruments. They help with assembly, installation and various other aspects involved in data collection using the sensors.