Friday, October 30, 2015

Investing.com: Nasdaq

Hiya,

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com. This week's topic is the recent massive earnings posted by the large tech companies and the subsequent record rise in the NASDAQ index.

The good folks at Investing.com asked me to draw the Nasdaq building at night. At the base of the building, holding it up, they asked me to draw Tim Cook, Sergey Brin, and Mark Zuckerberg (super bulked up and swol with muscles, bro).

And here it is:






Thoughts:

This was a tough comic for me. Buildings aren't my strong suit. I prefer organic subjects. I suppose it's partially because I think they're more interesting and partially because it's easy for buildings to look bad in an illustration. Plus, drawing a city (or even a small section of a city) is a huge amount of work. There's so much detail and energy (reflections, cars, people, etc) that drawing it convincingly would have taken me a week. As it was, I had a day.

I was asked to draw a specific building at a specific angle at a specific time. I did my best to do a serviceable job of it. But given the time, the streets had to stay empty of cars and people, and I had to leave out the various neon signs and screens and other light sources you would normally see in a scene like this. I think the result is a little lifeless. An empty street looks strange, like something out of Omega Man.

I decided to draw the three tech amigos as statues. There's a pretty big historical/architectural precedent for ornamental stone columns in the shape of swol' dudes. Also, it's about all I had time for. And even then, it was a mad dash from start to finish.

Here's what I like:

-The lighting is pretty dramatic. There's a lot of contrast and I think I captured the glow of the screen pretty well. I also like the lighting on the figures/statues.

-The foreground elements (telephone, lamp and sign posts, wires): This is something I haven't done before (that I can remember). I wanted to fill some of that space left empty by the details I had to leave out and (hopefully) create a little more of that cluttered energy that you see in big cities. This was my spur-of-the-moment solution. I think it works, to a point.

Not my strongest subject matter and not much time to work with. The result is maybe a C+ comic. But then, I always critique my comics more harshly right after the fact. I was looking through a stack of old comics recently. I can remember absolutely hating some of them. But after some time and distance I though, "Well, these aren't as bad as I remember."

So that's something.

Until next week,

Cheers.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Back to the Future: History's gonna change.

Hullo.

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com.

This week's subject was two fold: The upcoming Ferrari IPO and "Back to the Future" day. The crew at Investing.com asked me to modify an older comic already featuring Mary McFly (drawn way back in January of 2015). Back then, the comic was about falling oil prices.

I was asked to take that comic and change the Delorian to a Ferrari. I was also asked to add Doc Brown and to change the top text to reflect the comic's subject.

The comic, at least from the illustration perspective, was serviceable. But I figured I could do better, so I started over. It has been nine months, after all. Here's the sketch:

And here's the final:


I think I did a better job this time around, both with likenesses and with color.

I've also have a new project: To loosen up. My style has gotten a little too clean and a little too uptight over the years. So I'm employing some new techniques to combat my OCD tendencies to keep everything intensely precise (including less blending, more sketch lines, and less line consistency). It's bound to be a process that takes a while, but I think it's worth it.

Cheers.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Investing.com: Redux

Hello!

After a couple of weeks of hiatus, Investing.com comics are back. And what better way to mark their return than with a sequel of sorts. This week's comic is about the ongoing turmoil in the markets and the effect said turmoil is having on emerging markets.

I was asked by the crew at Investing.com to do a new version of "The Perfect Storm" comic from several weeks ago. Only this time, I would be adding characters. Behind the boat bearing Yellen and Xi Jinping, they asked me to add a second, smaller boat with Vladimir Putin at the helm and two men (Turkish and Brazilian) falling out the back.

And here she blows:


This comic was a bit more of a challenge than I was expecting. I figured I could just draw the three dudes in a boat, dust off my hands in a cartoonish fashion and have a beer. But because the other elements of the original comic had to stay in place, it was spatially tricky. It was tough to draw the Turkish and Brazilian man falling out of the boat with space at such a premium. There wasn't enough room to draw the action the way I would have preferred.

It changes the composition fairly dramatically as well. And it's a bit cluttered. There's a lot going on now in this comic. But I think Putin's caricature is pretty good. And I also made an effort to draw the Turkish and Brazilian guys so that they look like they're from those countries. Ordinarily I might have just drawn a couple of generic cartoon guys wearing flag shirts and called it good. But my "generic" people tend to be a bit bland, so I decided against default impulses.

Ok, that's alls I got for now.

Until next week,

Cheers.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Screamatorium of Dr. Frightmarestein, economic edition.

Here's a fun financial comic I drew last week. The subject is the possible consequences of raising the interest rates vis-a-vis the overall US economy and the markets therein.

Here's the sketch:

And here's the final:

Cheers.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

High Striking

Hello!

Apologies for the delay in postings recently. There were a couple of reasons: 1.) I'm working on several projects that I can't really share (for now) and 2.) I was a little burned out. I think there were too many plates spinning for too long and I just had to step back from a few things temporarily.

But now we're back on the (internet) air.

Here's a piece I've been meaning to post for a while now. It was a private commission for a friend.

Here's the layout sketch:

And here's the final:


It's always a pleasure to venture outside of my usual style. Much of the work I do is cartoony and exaggerated. It's a fun style to work in and people seem to like it. But it's also enjoyable to have the opportunity to explore different approaches to illustration. Projects like this one are ideal for that kind of exploration: plenty of detail, dark/creepy subject matter, and no particularly deadline meant I could really sink my teeth into it.

It's similar to the technical illustration I do in that it's challenging and it feels like stretching muscles that I rarely (if ever) get to use. Projects like this are enough of a departure that they should be scary or intimidating to tackle, but they're not. At this point, I have enough experience and confidence and curiosity that my response is usually, "Well, let's try it and see what happens." I wish I were that brave in every aspect of my life.

At any rate, fun project. Fun process, good result. Feels like a success.

Cheers.