Thursday, May 23, 2013

There's been a bit of a gap in comics for lately.  Two weeks, to be precise.

There's a reason for that, but it's not very interesting.  So let's get right to this week's comic: It's about the stock market.  More specifically, it's about Ben Bernanke and the stock market.  And even more specifically, it's about Ben Bernanke's speech to the Senate yesterday morning and the effect that's had on the market.

I was asked to draw Ben Bernanke giving his speech with a washing machine in the background.  Within the washing machine I was to draw the bear and the bull.  The washing machine represents the turmoil created in the markets whenever Chairman Bernanke makes a speech.

Now, since I hadn't drawn one of these in two weeks, I figured I would be a bit rusty.  I figured right.  Even though I've been drawing all sorts of other things during the comic hiatus, there's still a certain rhythm and mentality to drawing a comic in a day.  Combined with the fact that there were some logistical problems (how do I show a bear and a bull inside a washing machine?) this made for a challenging comic.

In a way, it was nice to have this comic feature Ben Bernanke, who's face is familiar enough at this point that he feels like an old friend.  But it can also be challenging to create a good illustration if I've already drawn someone or something dozens of times.  What can I bring to this particular version that will make it fresh and interesting?

Ultimately, time was of the essence and I didn't have enough of it to ruminate on whether or not this would add anything to the Ben Bernanke illustration canon.  I've said it before, but sometimes being under the deadline gun is nice because I don't have time to navel gaze or be self-conscious.  That comes a day later in a long, rambling blog post.

Here's the sketch:

It's not my best of Bernanke.  However, if you're wondering how the bear and the bull fit inside the washing machine, there's a perfectly reasonable explanation: It's Doctor Who's washing machine.  Much bigger on the inside.  He can wash like five loads of laundry at once.

Here's the final:

Again, not my best work.  But not bad for a rusty re-introduction to the comics.  It probably won't make the portfolio, but that's ok.  I figure it'll all come out in the wash.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Berks! And Maps of the Berkster!

A few weeks ago, the good folks over at Bookpeople of Moscow asked if I would be interested in helping them create a map of the store and I was all like, "Boo yeah!"  Except I didn't say that at all.  I probably said something more like, "Absolutely.  That sounds like a great project."  Not nearly as exciting as "boo yeah", but it's more professional and socially acceptable.

Working with Bookpeople is always great.  I mean, it's a bookstore.  And bookstores are AWESOME.  But this one is particularly awesome.  As are books.  And maps are pretty darned cool in their own right.  So a project that combines those things?  That's the Optimus Prime Awesome.  It's an ornate, hardcover, first edition tome of awesome.

Anyhoo, I put together several concepts and sent them over.  They ended up liking all of them (well, almost all of them.  One of them needs a bit of revising), and now they're slated to become bookmarks.  I think that's pretty cool.

So here are the maps:

It's usually a pretty good sign when the concept stage of a project is crazy fun.  I'm looking forward working on the final versions, which will have more detail.  Each of these is going to be quite a bit of work, so I imagine they'll come out one at a time over the next several months.


Re: Tirement

Last weekend there was a big retirement celebration for a good friend of mine, David Giese.  David has been a faculty member of the College of Art and Architecture at the University of Idaho for the past 35 years.

Being a good friend of David's, I was asked to draw a portrait of him that would be given as a gift and also printed up as masks for people to use at one of the events.

In terms of the illustration itself, it's interesting for me to think about how the process is influenced by whether or not I know the subject.  This illustration, for instance, came pretty easily (which is to say that I don't remember drawing anything over and over again or pulling out my hair, although it still took a decent amount of time to finish).  But I can't say whether or not the fact that David and I are friends contributed to that ease.  Or if it has to do with David's features.  Or if I was just going through one of those good phases.

At any rate, I'm happy with the way it turned out and people were pretty enthusiastic about it at the reception.

So without further ado...

Congratulations, David.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Sonic Anemometer!

This is the latest instrument illustration for Decagon Devices, Inc.  It's a new sensor called the Sonic Anemometer (it measures wind speed, among other things).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Brevity sans levity.

I was traveling for a couple of days and managed to get a little old-fashioned sketching done.  Great good fun, as always.



Here's last week's financial comic for  They released a mobile app for their site and asked me to create this illustration to accompany the announcement.  This one took longer than most (12 hours from start to finish), so there's not quite as much detail as usual.  But I don't mind the result.