Thursday, August 27, 2015

Investing.com: The pusher man.

Hello!

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com.

This week's comic actually happened a day earlier than usual (Tuesday instead of Wednesday), owing to the turmoil in world markets last Friday and earlier this week. Investing.com wanted the comic to be as timely as possible, which is why they asked me to draw it early. Being a creature of habit, the schedule change threw me off a bit, but I did my best to rally and put up a good fight.

It's been a rough ride for many in the financial world as of late, mainly because of the decline in the Chinese markets and the currency devaluation. In an effort to mitigate that decline, China decided to cut interest rates, which subsequently spurred the markets (somewhat).

This week's comic has to do with that decision to cut interest rates. I was asked by the good folks at Investing.com to draw a Wall Street trader buying drugs from a drug dealer in a red trenchcoat. (The implication is that the markets are "addicted" to stimulus measures like lowering interest rates.) In the background, they asked me to put in a bull shooting up in the background. All this was to take place on a street corner with the New York Stock Exchange in the background.

Here's the sketch:

And here's the final:

Reflections:

Tough comic this week. Three characters and a fairly complex background meant a lot of hours on this one. I can't say I'm super happy with everything, but I think it's a decent comic. The dealer's face still bugs me a bit. You can see I changed it from the original sketch. He looked a little too cartoonishly villainous with the smile. But something about his face still bothers me for a reason I can't put my finger on.

To be honest, though, after this many hours, I can't really see the comic anymore. It's just a collection of lines at the moment and it will take a few days for the lines and color to re-assemble themselves into a composition I can assess with any clarity.

Until next week,

Cheers.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lindy's Sports Annual 2015: Basketball!

Hello!

It's late August. Which means kids of all ages are being dragged back to school, the Summer is quickly waxing, and it's time for some marathon illustrating for "Lindy's Sports Annual". Since I no longer attend school and I'm sick to death of hot weather, the latter is the only item I'm excited about.

This time around the court, we were talking coaches and Australia. As is usually the case, these were all turned around fairly quickly. It's a challenge I enjoy and also dread a bit, mostly because it puts me through the ringer and because I don't have time to do much revising. But that's sometimes for the best. All these illustrations (six people spread over three illustrations) were done in the course of two days.

First up, the coaches. Dean Smith and Jerry Tarkanian left us recently (both in February). "Lindy's was including profiles of both legendary gents, and I was asked to draw portraits to accompany them.

Here are the sketches:

And here are the finals:

(Smith)

(Tarkanian)

As far as the illustration goes, the Dean Smith drawing is fairly standard fare as far as my work is concerned. I approached it the way I would have approached just about any other caricature. But I wasn't happy with it. The drawing is fine, but something about it seemed boring to me. Probably because I did the same thing I always do.

So, when the time came to color and shade the drawing of Tarkanian, I went out on a limb and tried something different. I used a different method of shading that involves more solid colors and harder lines. I also switched up the line weights somewhat. The result was a portrait that looks more illustrative, I think. It's clear that this is a drawing done by hand. I think it's a little more expressive and has more personality than the Smith drawing. It took me about the same amount of time, but it was a lot of fun to experiment. A little nerve-wracking because I wasn't sure it would turn out and didn't have time to re-do it if it was awful, but fun nonetheless.


The other illustration was to accompany a piece about a spate of basketball players from Australia. I was asked to draw multiple players superimposed over something Australian. I chose the country itself, 'cause it don't get much more Australian that Australia. Hey, you want some deep, pithy metaphor? You grind out this much work in two days and see how clever you feel.

Here's the sketch:


The players are Ben Simmons, Dante Exum, Andrew Bogut and Patty Mills. The layouts on this one are a little more expressive, too. They're not meant to be exactly likenesses (which is what I normally draw). I let myself be a little more loose with this one. Again, I think it makes it more expressive and gives it a bit of a sense of humor.

Here's the final:

I used the same shading techniques on the Australia piece that I used on the Tarkanian portrait. Again, I had more fun than I would have using my more traditional approach and I think that benefited the illustration. I'm going to try to implement this style a little more in the future. And who knows, maybe even try some other unfamiliar techniques. Because I'm a loose cannon.

Overall, this set was great good fun. I'm always happy to work with "Lindy's", however fast the deadline.

Cheers.




Friday, August 21, 2015

China's currency is draggin'.

Hullo,

Here's the latest financial comic for Investing.com. The subject this week is the continuing turmoil in the Chinese economy. China recently de-valued the Yuan and has been injecting massive amounts of money into the market in order to help stabilize the economy. In the meantime, economies around the world are bracing for the impact of these events.

The crew at Investing.com asked me to draw the following:

-Chinese President Xi Jinping and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen riding in a roller coaster car.
-Yellen shielding herself against Xi Jinping while he throws money at the dragon.
-Said roller coaster car containing said VIPs on the precipice of a steep decline in the coaster's track.
-A Chinese-style dragon breathing fire around the car/coaster.
-Yuans being burned in the fire of the dragon.

Here's the sketch:

And here's the final:


Post-game commentary: This comic was fun on a bun. I've drawn Xi Jinping several times in as many weeks and I'm starting to enjoy it. His face manages to be expressive and inscrutable simultaneously. Kind of like Putin. Plus, I got to draw a dragon, which is rad. Seriously, this is my job. What's not to love about that?

I don't love the flame. It's a little too stylized. Not that everything in the comic isn't stylized, but I don't think the flame necessarily matches the style of the rest of the comic. And I probably should have added more money to drive the point home. And possibly put some money in the foreground to give the piece a bit more depth.

BUT: I'm happy with the caricatures, I think the dragon turned out nicely, and I really like the sky. I was going for the hazy, smoggy look of Beijing. Living in the Northwest during fire season, I can relate. You can look directly at the sun in the middle of the day.

Anyhoo, like I said: Fun comic. Fun job.

Until next week.

Cheers.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Smarter than the average bear market

Hey Boo Boo,

This week's comic for Investing.com is about the recent fall in the price of Apple stock. The crew at Investing.com asked me to draw the following:

A forest. In the forest, a sign reading "Bear Park". Also in said forest, Apple CEO Tim Cook, dressed as a hunter and carrying a rifle. Walking behind Cook, I was asked to draw three different model iphones (also dressed as hunters carrying rifles). A bear was to be grabbing the iphone bringing up the rear. In the surrounding woods, I was asked to include other bears hiding and looking at the hunting party.

Here's the layout sketch:



And here's the final:


Reflections:

This was a fun comic to draw, but MAN, was it a lot of work. Like last week, this one took me 12+ hours to finish. There are a lot of characters and a lot of detail. Tough but fun. I always enjoy drawing bears. And drawing Tim Cook in safari attire was fun, too. Overall, I think it turned out pretty well.

I also think this comic serves as an important public service announcement, as bears can be very dangerous. And some will steal your picinic baskets.

Until next week.

Cheers.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

UI College of Agriculture Poster

Hello!

Here's a recent illustration for the University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. It's a kind of recruiting piece. I was asked to come up with a few ideas for a poster featuring some agricultural characters, Joe Vandal (UI's mascot), and some cartoon versions of Ag students.

The first step was concept sketches. The poster is aimed at potential agricultural and life sciences students, which usually means high school students. As such, I needed to tailor the material to that age range. I have been out of short pants for a while and don't spend time regularly with anyone around that age. Older guy trying to figure out what will appeal to a younger generation can be a trainwreck. Fortunately, these concepts were vetted by actual high school kids (as well as representatives from CALS).





This first concept was a more "straightforward" approach. In as much as super-exaggerated, cartoony versions of anyone or anything can be considered "straightforward".



Concept 2: 8 bit. Like any self-respecting narcissist (and that's all of them by definition, right?), I figured, "Hey, I'll just do what I think is cool and other people will think it's cool." Yup. That's how it works. The 8-bit aesthetic is well-trod ground at this point, but I still think it's cool. So there. Since this was just a concept, I only drew the first character in what would have been a four-character set.



Concept numero tres: "Agventure Time". After hearing great things about the cartoon "Adventure Time" and never watching it, I finally watched it reluctantly and found it to be every kind of awesome. I thought it would be a gas to pay homage to said awesomeness. Hence, this comic.


After some deliberation, they chose the first concept. Here's the finalized layout sketch:



Flat color:



And finally, the final:








Reflections:

This was a great project. Fun concepts, fun to draw, and a good opportunity. Good times all around. I could say more, but why muddy up brevity with more words than necessary?

Cheers.


 







Friday, August 14, 2015

Investing.com: Oodles of Googles

Here's this week's comic for Investing.com. The subject this time around was Google's announcement that they're re-structuring the entire company and forming an umbrella organization called "Alphabet". As always, the subject matter was thought up by the crew at Investing.com and I was the pencil-pusher.

Here's the sketch:




And here's the final:


Short post this week. I'm wiped out. I've worked 40 hours in the last three days and drawn eight caricatures, which might be a new record for me. But now don't have a lot of energy to be verbose or eloquent.

By the by, I'll be posting some different projects in the next week or so. I've pretty much only been posting these comics, but there's more variety coming soon.

Cheers.