Friday, October 28, 2016

Financial Comic Dump!

Hiya.

So...I've been super remiss in my posting as of late. This is partly because I've had all sorts of things a-goin' on and partially because I'm focused elsewhere in the media landscape: Illustrationnk on Facebook, my new website (NoahKroese.com), and an illustration newsletter called "Illustration Monthly-ish" (sign up here).

But I'll still be updating this blog occasionally. And this is one such occasion.

So, if you like financial comics...this is your lucky day. 'Cause here's a bunch.


These were drawn over the last six weeks or so for Investing.com and Altair Advisers.

Welp, that's alls I gots for now. Until next time!

Cheers.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Investing.com: Back to school

Hi ho.

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com. This week's topic is the relatively-tame Summer markets and the potential return of market volatility in September. As always, the topic and subject were the work of the crew at Investing.com. I was only responsible for the drawing part of the equation.

Here's the sketch:

And here's the final:

Until next week,

Cheers.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Investing.com: Jackson Hole!

Hiya,

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com. This week's subject is the upcoming economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. More specifically, it's about whether or not Janet Yellen will be hawkish or dove-ish in her remarks. Yes, nothing quite spells excitement quite like an economic symposium. As usual, the subject was the work of the team at Investing.com. I'm just the guy who draws what they think up.

Here's the sketch:

And here's the final:

Until next week!

Cheers.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Investing.com: Rio and Central Banking

Hiya,

Here's the latest financial comic for Investing.com. This week's subject combines central bankers and the Rio Summer Olympics. As always, the subject was the brainchild of the crew at Investing.com. I just drawed the picture.

Here's the sketch:

And here's the final:



Until next week,

Cheers.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Diver

Hullo.

Here, at long last, is my most recent poster illustration. I've been working on it for what seems like eons. You'll see why in a minute.

The genesis of the illustration's subject (an old diver and an ornate Art Deco background), came from a few things: my love of old diving helmets and gear, a fascination with shipwrecks, a mild obsession with Art Deco style, and a love of the video game franchise "Bioshock".

And this is what emerged.

Here's the sketch:


So...remember when I said it felt like it took ages to draw?  Could have had something to do with the level of detail. I'm a huge fan of detail. To me, it's a massive component of what makes an illustration worthwhile (both to draw and to look at). It helps to flesh out a world. Helps to give it gravity and make it more believable. And it makes it fun to draw. Or at least, it has the potential to do those things.

The design on both the diver and the background were pretty time-intensive. I went through several versions of both and hundreds of reference images.

Here's the outline:


I'm still including the sketch lines in the final illustrations to try to give them more life, energy, and character. I used to outline my illustrations and then erase the sketch lines, but I think it made them look too clean. Even with the sketch lines included, it's interesting how much the outline clarifies the drawing. Even with all the detail, the outline was easily the fastest part of this illustration. Possibly because it required the least amount of thought. Thinking always slows me down. Stupid thinking.

Here's the final, colored and shaded:


In addition to being a fun excuse to draw old timey diving stuff, Art Deco style decor, and pay homage to Bioshock, this illustration was also very much about textures and surfaces. Rust, barnacles, corrosion, tarnished metal, broken glass, slime, etc. So, on top of drawing all that detail, pretty much every level of said detail needed extensive surface treatment. Mostly in the form of a TON of shading.

You might have noticed I left out a few things from the sketch and outline, like the little octopus outside. Originally, there were also going to be rocks, another giant gear, and buildings outside the porthole. But, amazingly enough, I decided it looked too busy. I also originally had more text below the porthole. It was something like, "Brought to you by Dr. So and So's indestructible porthole gaskets", because I can't really take anything too seriously. And this seems like a pretty serious drawing tonally. But with the diver sitting in front of the porthole, you couldn't see half of the words and it didn't make sense. So I axed it.

Overall, I like the way this piece turned out. It mostly accomplishes what I wanted it to. Granted, I literally just finished this piece an hour ago after working on it for a couple of months, so I can't really see it anymore. I THINK it looks good.

I will say one thing: It turns out I have my limit on the level of detail in a piece. This piece reached that limit. And then went past it. I do love me some detail, but this one got a little bit tedious. But, overall, I think it's a solid illustration and I'm glad I did it.

Welp, on to the next thing.

Cheers.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Investing.com: We oil fall down

Hello.

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com. This week's topic is the recent re-plunge in oil prices, possibly encouraged by policy decisions by the Saudi government. As always, the topic and subject matter were chosen by the crew at Investing.com. I just drawed the pictures.

Here's the sketch:

And here's the final:

Until next week,

Cheers.


Friday, July 29, 2016

Investing.com: Tech Stocks Up and Down

Howdy!

Here's the latest financial comic for Investing.com (about the ups and downs in the tech world):

Sketch:

Final:


 Until next week,

Cheers.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

New Financial Comic

Recent financial comic for an investment group in Chicago:

Sketch:

Outline:

Final:

Cheers.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Brexit Cleanup (Investing.com)

Hiya.

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com. This week's subject is the record-high numbers of US stock indexes, due in part to proposed stimulus by Japan and Britain in the post-Brexit fallout. This week's guest stars are Shinzo Abe and Mark Carney.

As always, the topic and idea for this comic was thought up by the crew at Investing.com. I just pushed the pencil (well...the stylus, but you get the idea).

Here's the layout sketch:


And here's the whole enchilada:






That about wraps 'er up for this week's comic. Until next week.

Cheers.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Investing.com: Brexit Storm a Brewin'

Howdy.

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com, about a potential financial storm on the horizon following Britain's exit from the EU (and investors clamoring for safer financial footing). As always, the concept was thought up by the team at Investing.com. I just did the drawing.

Here's the sketch:

And here's the final:



Until next week,

Cheers.


Friday, July 1, 2016

Post Brexit Blues

'Ello.

Welp, it happened. Brits voted to leave the EU. This week's comic for Investing.com is about some of the economic fallout of that decision.

I was asked by the crew at Investing.com to draw EU President Mario Draghi, Janet Yellen, and Shinzo Abe on horseback wearing medieval armor. Each was to be carrying a weapon (sword, bow and arrow, and mace, respectively). I was also asked to draw a large, intimidating knight standing in front of them. The knight was to be holding a British flag with the word "Brexit" on it.

Here's the layout sketch:

And here's the final:

Thoughts:

Another tough comic this week. Four characters, plus three horses. The background was relatively simple, at least. I thought it would be appropriate to draw another gray, stormy sky. At the last minute, I decided to add in a few snow flakes to reinforce the idea that for Britain (if you listen to economists), financial Winter is coming.

Overall, I think this is a decent comic (in terms of the drawing, anyway). Although, because of the large amount of work in a small window of time, I don't really feel like I made decisions on this one. It was mostly a mad dash to the finish line once again, mostly fueled by instinct and coffee. But I made it.

Until next week.

Cheers.


Friday, June 24, 2016

Investing.com: Brexit!

Ahoy!

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com.

This week's subject is the looming referendum on whether or not Britain will leave the European Union. I was asked by the team at Investing.com to draw David Cameron driving a British-style double-decker bus (colored like the Union Jack) up to a fork in the road. The two forks would be labeled "Brexit" on one side and "EU" on the other. The bus would be just beginning to turn onto the "EU" side of the fork (a reference to the fact that poll numbers seem to indicate a slight lead for the "remain" side). Standing at a bus stop on the "Brexit" side of the fork would be Boris Johnson (former mayor of London and the leader of the "Leave" side), waving as if to signal to the driver that he's been missed.

Here's the sketch:

And here's the final:





Thoughts: Another tough comic this week. Although it's only two characters, the bus added a decent amount of complexity. But it was fun, nonetheless. I don't usually like drawing cars, but the double decker bus is basically just a box. And I always like drawing dirt and grime on stuff. Plus, Cameron and Johnson have pretty expressive faces. Boris Johnson looks a little to me like the albino in "The Princess Bride".

All in all, not a bad comic.

Until next week,

Cheers.



Friday, June 17, 2016

Investing.com: Sinking Yields

Hiya.

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com. This week's subject is the historically-low yields on 10-year bond rates in global markets. As always, the idea and subject matter were thought up by the team at Investing.com. I'm just the guy behind the pencil.

Here's the layout sketch:

And here's the final:


Not in much of a reflective mood on this one. It was a tough comic: Lots of elements to sketch, outline, and color and shade. This one was a bit of a long haul. But I made it and I think it turned out ok. Not my favorite, but a solid effort at least.

Incidentally, sorry I've been a bit of a one-note illustrator as of late. I know I haven't posted anything other than investing comics lately, but I'll have some other projects to share sometime soon. I'm working on a new poster. I'll post it as soon as I can.

Until next week.

Cheers.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Investing.com: S & P Rally

Hiya,

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com. This week's subject is the recent gains of the S & P 500, boosted in part by a sharp recovery in oil prices.

Here's the sketch (concept by the team at Investing.com, drawing by yours truly):

And here's the final:

Until next week,

Cheers.


Friday, June 3, 2016

Market Forces

Hello!

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com. This one is about the uncertainty around two big upcoming decisions.

Sketch:

And here's the final:


I'm a little too busy for ruminations this week. Perhaps I'll bloviate next week. Until then,

Cheers.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Rate Hawks

Howdy.

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com. This week's topic is the hawkish position taken by several officials at the Federal Reserve.

The team at Investing.com asked me to draw Janet Yellen (dressed as a bird keeper) standing on the lawn in front of the Federal Reserve Building and behind the Fed podium. On both hands, Yellen would have a hawk: one with the head of Stanley Fischer and the other with the head of William Dudley. In the background, I was asked to include three more hawks flying overhead with the names Harker, Bullard, and Kashkari.

Here's the layout sketch:

And here's the final:

Thoughts:

This one wasn't exactly a cake walk. Three characters is a lot for a one-day turnaround. I probably could have re-used older drawings of both Fischer and Yellen, but I decided to draw them from scratch. I guess I wanted the challenge. And I think it turned out pretty well. The composition isn't amazing, but I think the colors are strong and the caricatures are good.

That's about as much as I can ask for.

Until next week,

Cheers.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Investing.com: Oil be darned

Hullo. Here's the latest comic for Investing.com. This week's subject is about the partial recovery of oil prices.

Here's the layout:

And here's the final:


Not going to sugar coat it: This one was not so much fun. There was just a TON of stuff going on in this comic. Even re-using characters from older cartoons, this took me 10 hours. And, mostly because it's so busy, it's not my favorite comic. I know, that seems counter-intuitive coming from a guy who loves detail as much as I do, but there it is.

But, take a look at what happens when you take out everything in the foreground:


You get a thing I pretty much never draw: A landscape. And, what's more, not a terrible looking one, either. Kind of peaceful.

Until next week,

Cheers.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Investing.com: The Weight

Hullo!

Here's the latest financial comic for Investing.com. This week's subject is the market's effect on proposed interest rate hike.

The crew at Investing.com asked me to draw the following: Janet Yellen attempting to bench press a set of weights reading "0.75%" (the proposed interest rate). Preventing her from doing so would be two big bulls (the market). One was to be actually holding the barbells down and the other was to be sort of taunting Yellen with the "Oh no you don't" hand gesture.  I was also asked to include the words "FED Rates" on the wall in the background.

Here's the layout sketch:

And here's the final:

Thoughts:

I chose a different angle this time around. Typically, because time is so limited for these comics, I'll essentially draw the scene as a straight shot (with the camera on the same level as the characters). But this time the camera is raised up slightly and looking down at the scene. I figured a side shot might not work as well given that the barbells might block Yellen's face. Also, this angle seemed like it would be more interesting to look at.

I think it IS a more dynamic, interesting angle. But it was a lot more work to arrange and draw the scene this way. I'm not used to arranging things like this, so it doesn't come naturally or easily. And I'm still not completely sure I drew it convincingly. The bull in the white tank top, for instance: his head/face angle seems off.

Still, I think it was a good effort, and I'm going to make more of an effort in the future to try different angles and perspectives. Seems like a good skill to build up. Plus, I could use the practice.

Until next week,

Cheers.







Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Magazine Cover: Here We Have Idaho

Hello!

I was contacted a couple of months ago by the editor of a magazine called "Here We Have Idaho", which is put out by the University of Idaho and covers all things UI (academics, research, alumni, etc.). She asked if I would be interested in creating an illustration for the cover and I (of course) jumped at the opportunity.

Projects like this can begin from any number of starting points. Sometimes I'm asked to imagine ideas and concepts from scratch. In this case, the editor and art director already had a pretty solid idea and approach for the cover.

The idea was a map of the state of Idaho, drawn in a vintage style. The map would feature graphic elements/icons (drawn in that same style) representing articles within the issue covering a wide variety of current projects being spearheaded by various departments and colleges within the university. So the HWHI team already had the subject matter and a general style they wanted to employ.

As such, my job as the illustrator was twofold:

One: To create a set of concepts that distilled that idea into a style that fit with the goals of the issue.
Two: Once a concept was chosen from that set, draw that concept.

So, first things first: The concepts.

The word "vintage" can mean a lot of things. What era? Usually, when people say "vintage" they mean 1950s and 60s. But the word can refer to pretty much any time period before the one we're in right now. Since I'm a fan of mid-century aesthetics, I created two concepts that used some of the visual elements of design and illustration from that time and a third concept from earlier (20s and 30s).

Travel Poster: The style from these posters is oft-imitated these days. Perhaps a bit too much. But I can't resist the bold colors and stylized imagery of illustrators around that time. It has a built in nostalgia factor, even for a dude born well after these aesthetic trends went the way of the Cold War.

 Travel "Stickers": The design of the icons in this concept were based on those stickers people used to get when they traveled to various hotels. They'd stick them to suitcases and steamer trunks. They were badges of experience and always beautifully drawn and designed.

Textbook Diagrams and the 20s Map: Because old textbook diagrams are cool and so are 20s and 30s maps. Again, there's a kind of mood and gravitas built in to educational imagery from the past, even if the information being conveyed is complete malarkey.


The latter of the set of concepts was chosen, but sans letters or numbers indicating various parts or points of the icons. Because there were quite a few icons to be drawn, the final version took quite a bit of time to create. Each one had to be drawn in the same style with semi-muted colors and engraving-like shading lines. This isn't anything close to the style in which I draw naturally, so it was, at times, painstaking. Always fun, though.

And I think it turned out well:


Reflections: A great project, overall. Drawing outside my typical style/approach was a challenge, but a fun one. I think (well, hope, anyway) that the illustration has the vintage feel we were going after. The editor and art director liked it, which is always great. The only icon I don't like is the cow. For some reason, I never think my drawings of cows look right. My favorite icon is the geyser. I don't know why. Because I said so. That's why.

Cheers.