Sunday, February 24, 2013

Meteors: They don't want to miss a thing.

Greetings Earthlings,
     Apologies for the long delay between posts.  As always, I have been working on multiple projects for the past several weeks but I don't plan on posting them until they're complete.  I used to post the concept sketches as soon as I had shown them to the client, but it now makes more sense for me to group all the items from a project into one big post so that you can compare the sketches to the final work, see the evolution of the ideas, make fun of glaring mistakes and oversights, etc.  But that also means there are fewer posts and longer periods of time between said posts.
    Here's the latest from  It deals with the price of gold.  Specifically, the falling price of gold.  In this comic the price of gold is linked to several recent events involving space debris in various relationships with our planet (one near miss, two others that actually entered earth's atmosphere).  This idea, as with all ideas, was authored by the folks at
    As you can see, there isn't much difference between the sketch and the final, except for the meteor, which was originally shaped like a meteor and became a bar of gold bullion.  The illustration itself was pretty straightforward and I don't have much to say about it.  I will say, just as an aside, have you ever heard someone describe an event or career as "meteoric"?  It tends to mean a very fast rise or someone who gains success very quickly.  Why?  Meteors never rise from Earth, right?  Just sayin'.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Currency Race

Here's last week's comic for  The subject (as always, thought up by the crew) deals with currency values and, more specifically, which currency fell the most last year.

I don't mind this comic so much.  Because of the angle and the relatively large amount of white space, it's a pretty unique comic.  Also, because there was no requirement for the faces of the characters to look like anyone specific, I had fun trying to make each character look like they are from their specific country.  This could be a slippery ski slope to racial profiling, but I used reference photos and tried to keep away from stereotypes (for instance, I used the author Julian Barnes as the reference for the British racer.  He looks VERY British.).

 So there you have it.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

New Decagon Illustrations!


I was asked recently by one of the many good people over at Decagon Devices, Inc. to draft up a few concepts for an upcoming newsletter, the title of which is "Tools and Tips for Measuring the Full Soil Moisture Release Curve."  That seems pretty complex, right?  But after a brief explanation, the concepts involved didn't seem all that intimidating.  That seems to be one Decagon's major strengths (along with creating a host of great products): They're able to explain processes, concepts and theories that seem extremely complex in a way that makes them accessible (even to illustrators).

In a way, this is how I think of my job as well.  More often than not, I'm asked to take a complex idea and distill it into a visual that accurately represents that idea.  It's a process that involves design, imagination, a lot of thought, a lot of mistakes and a good deal of editing.  In the end, that process is usually in service of communication.  The illustration is a means of telling a story, communicating an idea or explaining a process.

So, tangent aside, I was also asked to create some visuals that depicted the relationship between soils, water, and plants.  I usually like to draft up multiple concepts that are completely different from each other (at least during the first round).  These are them:

Sometimes there's an option/avenue/direction that's staring right at me and I never see it.  Like when I'm at the grocery store and ask a clerk where some product is and I'm standing directly in front of it.  It's a little embarrassing, but c'est la vie.  On that first concept, I figured having that much white space would be a deal breaker (I'm probably more fond of white space than I should be).  On the second concept, the shape of the art made placing some of the other elements a bit awkward.

You've probably already figured out where this is going, but I was clueless.  Decagon saw the concepts and asked me to combine the first two concepts to make this:

I thought it was a nice solution.  I'm super satisfied with the way this turned out, but the assist credit goes to the peeps at Decagon.

Ok, I'm very tired.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Here's a sketch I did while on a recent trip.  It was done the old-fashioned way: On the side of a cave wall by firelight while the mammoths moaned outside.  Ok, so maybe it was done in my sketchbook.  But the important part is that it was fun.  It's nice to actually put pencil to paper once in a while.


Financial Comics Double Dose!

Here are the comics I drew up for over the last couple of weeks.  The first, which is about the looming debt ceiling, is a real eyesore.  Seriously.  The subject matter is fine (drafted up, as always, by the people at  But the execution of that subject matter (the illustration)...bites.  I don't say this too often, but I consider this comic to be one of the poorest illustrations I've done in some time.  The caricatures are off, the expressions are terrible, the proportions are lousy.  I have any number of excuses (not enough time, burned out, etc.), but the bottom line is that I just should have tried harder to bring this comic up to snuff.

The second comic is a bit better.  It deals with the fact that Apple stock has taken a bit of a hit lately in the markets.  The comic is a play on the phrase "The apple never falls far from the tree."  In this case, the comic suggests the opposite: That Apple is suffering now that Jobs is no longer at its helm.  I think the illustration on this one is decent.  The likeness of Steve Jobs (in spite of the fact that I couldn't really use normal colors) is pretty good.  Mostly, though, I like how cartoony this drawing turned out.  And, for some reason, I like the shadow beneath the tree.  There's something about that shadow that reminds me of an old cartoon or computer game I used to love.  Regardless, this comic's illustration at least passes the smell test.  Not like that other one.  Now let us never speak of this again.