I recently completed the fourth and final book in this YR series, "Gym Shorts", by Betty Hicks. It's a lovely little series about a group of neighborhood kids and the various sports they love to play.
Yesterday I received in the mail a nice award from the Junior Library Guild. Apparently, the third book in the series, "Swimming With Sharks" has been dubbed "A Junior Library Guild Selection". Not sure what that means, but they sent me a little certificate and a lapel pin. I can pin it on my fez. Thanks JLG!
One of the twenty or so interiors, here's the gang hanging out in the kitchen. I'm taking a hiatus from chapter books now; they're fun but a lot work!
This is the final book's cover. I did the art during the ending of last year's baseball season (the only pro sports I'm really into).
The pending election will help determine, among a dizzyingly large host of other paramount issues for the U.S., what will happen to the future of Social Security and Medicare.
Late this summer I worked on a very fun project, an illustrated brochure done for the Center for Retirement at Boston College. One of my all time favorite people to work with, Ronn Campisi, brilliantly art directed and designed the lovely little book. A big thanks to both Ronn and The Boston College for deciding on using illustration for such a project.
The brochure is actually an excellent, clearly written little packet of key information centering on the best approach for an individual to claim their Social Security benefits. Titled "The Social Security Retirement Guide", the nature of the content was essentially fact driven. To give it some graphic punch and levity, I tried to find a way to represent pathways, money and information all with one symbol - and do so in a way that made for flexibility and simplicity. I chose the ubiquitous circle.
After the artwork was completed it was presented to a focus group, never a reassuring sign from my experience! Somehow the illustrations made it through relatively unscathed, except for a few minor changes. One of these changes was that the original cover image, which had just one character - a man- needed to include a woman as well.
Here's the original cover.
Here's the final cover.
Some of the illustrations needed to be very general, like this contents page image. I riffed on the idea of "where to begin". This attempted to show not only possible directions one can take by claiming in different ways, but also to show the steps one takes along the way. As in all of these images, the ubiquitous circle simultaneously stands for units of money, units of time, directional paths or instructional steps - and sometimes all of these at once.
This image responds to the idea that some folks decide to retire early. The problem of doing this means your SS earnings will be substantially lower, creating a lower standard of living for you and forcing you to live on less.
Statistically, most wives will outlive their husbands. If a husband retires at 66 instead of 62, as a survivor his wife receives more than a fifth more SS income.
Should you delay or claim right away?
Should you gamble and claim early?
The choice is yours; a key to a sound retirement is deciding the right age to begin claiming.
One of the spots, about special rules applying to workers not always covered by SS. The ubiquitous circle can further double as a pie chart.
This image is illustrating a list of other publications and resources to help with your decisions.
The back cover.
We can all only hope that in light of the current government bailouts of the financial industry that the U.S. will have the resources to actual pay us our due in our retirement. I read just this morning an Op Ed piece about the fact that Social Security and Medicare may well be the next huge financial tsunami for the country. We shall see; in the meantime I'll keep a copy of this brochure for future reference in hopes these choices will still be ours to make.
I haven't been posting much around here lately. Pretty much all I've been working on illustration-wise is legally un-postable for a while, so I thought I'd do an old-school Drawger style post, about music stuff. Back when this place started, people posted their musical escapades a bit more, so I thought I'd put up a few fun music project things that I've done recently. I've peppered this post with some random sketchbook pages as an attempt to make it relevant to the "biz".
I recorded drums for three different album-groups of songs this last year, two of which I literally learned and recorded in one day - a challenge which I love, although it always leaves me wishing I'd done some things differently. Sort of like doing a newspaper gig I suppose. The third recording is with my wife's band and has a good bit more work to be done.
One of the former was an album of songs for kids, written by my enormously talented pal Jason Kleinberg. Jason had created a complete concept record for children, and enlisted me and our pal Bernie Jungle to flesh out the rhythm tracks at the lovely Tiny Telephone studios here in San Francisco. Jason is currently touring solo through Japan. Here are a couple of the songs from this session, Come On and Tulip. The YouTube video above is by Jason (not me on drums) - I love this one! He's a dang good drawer, too.
The second recording was done for my pal Guy Capecelatro III. I met Guy years ago while touring the East Coast with my then band Little My. Guy is the one who hooked me up with Nahcotta gallery, as he is at the heart of the Portsmouth NH art and music scene. Anyway, he was out on the West Coast last summer, and being an insanely prolific songwriter was in the midst of making yet another record. He enlisted me and the aforementioned Bernie Jungle and Jason Kleinberg (playing some killer viola), as well as the master pedal steel/bassist Scottie Houston. Another concept album, something about a steel worker who falls in love with a nurse and runs away with her or something: here are two of the tracks, Party and Nurse. Recorded by the great Wally Sound at Wally Sound studios in Oakland.
Finally, Mr. Bernie Jungle. I did the drums for this record with Bernie in one very long and fun day. I hope he puts this out, as he has made some really fine tunes. Bernie is a great friend and sweetheart of a person and shreds on guitar and bass. I played with him for years in Warm Wires. This epic tune, Belly, utilizes our pal Peter Altenberg on Sarangi. On this one, Pop, I also laid down the bass and keyboard incidentals later at home. These aren't final mixed, so you may have to adjust your volume levels a bit. These were recorded by the great Scott Greiner.
Anyway, that's my random music / random sketchbook pages post. I hope those of you who took the time to listen found something to enjoy, and if not oh well sorry!
An addendum: to add to further randomness, JD King thoughtfully, if not cryptically, sent me this in the mail. Thanks JD!
A further addendum: I almost forgot this song I sat in on for my friend, the master violinist and songwriter Carrie Bradley. Carrie's energy is magnetic and addictive, her performances riveting. She wrote this beautiful tune Lucky Stars, enlisting Bernie as well, and we recorded it with Scott Greiner in an afternoon. Carrie is well know for her work for The Breeders and Ed's Redeeming Qualities, as well her own rock band 100 Watt Smile. The photo above was taken by our pal, master designer and artist Yuri Ono, of the wedding band: me(I got to play melodica) and my wife Wig (violin) and Bernie (pink hat and geetar) and our pal Jason Porter (double bass). We're playing "On the Street Where You Live" from My Fair Lady, in the ferns at Carrie's wedding last summer in Upstate New York.
About a year ago, I got an email from a fellow who saw an illustration I had done for the Datebook cover section of the SF Chronicle. The illo he'd seen had been about Austin's SXSW convention, and Art Director Matt Petty had wanted a suitcase covered in Band stickers; each sticker is a different band. I snuck my band Bermuda Triangle Service in there, as well as some favorites like Goldfrapp and The Meat Purveyors.
Anyway, besides being extremely friendly, this fellow Greg was a surfer and wanted to know if he could use a part of the illustration on his surf board that he was getting made for him. As I enjoy the wave riding ways myself, I was honored. I sent him a file to use, and then forgot about it. Giant Squid is a rock band, but I think Greg just liked the giant squid.
Last week, Greg sent me this photo. I hope to see him out in the waves, once this nasty oil spill out here clears out a bit more.
Elwood's post about his beautiful wayward Epiphone has prompted me to put up a new show below: Drawger Axes. With so many here playing music while not at the drawing table, I thought it may be a good idea for proud parents to show their babies.
Here's my newest drum kit. It's a limited edition Gretsch 120th Anniversary Champagne Sparkle Be-bop kit. It sounds so good, it looks so good, it feels so good. It records beautifully and is so small that it's a joy to shlep it to gigs. I love it.
Anyway, please post your favorite instruments in the Drawger Axes Show when you have the chance, so we can all ogle...
Image originally made for Indianapolis Monthly, Michael Leister A.D.
I'm a big fan of Harry Shearer, and his weekly radio program Le Show this week made what I thought was an incredibly sobering point.
In justifying the 1993 invasion of Iraq, President Bush used the following three reasons:
1. It had Weapons of mass destruction 2. It had attacked it's neighbors 3. It had given safe haven to Terrorists
There's plenty of doubt that Iraq fit the first and third qualifications pre-attack. But there was, and still is, no doubt that Pakistan fits all three.
Apparently now the US intelligence is having extreme anxiety over the prospects of "loose nukes" in Pakistan. President General Musharraf's beleaguered grip on the loyalties of his commanders and senior officials could shift at any moment.
I'm not normally much of one for going to the zoo, but this past Saturday night we went to a really cool event at the Oakland Zoo called "Walk in the Wild". I've illustrated the advertising material for this event for the second year now, and along with the gig comes free tickets.
This is the billboard out on 580. Last year we couldn't make it, but we'd heard from my clients Becca and Alex from Zipfly that it was a really great time. This year we made sure to keep the calendar clear, and man was it a cool, fun and delicious experience.
The idea is that the gates are closed for the evening for a tickets holder's party in the grounds among the animals. Local restaurants, breweries and wineries set up booths all throughout the zoo, and attendees meander around, seeing the animals while tasting gourmet food and sampling wines and beers. We were amazed to see tons of people here; it's a really popular event. There was even a steel pan band playing "In a Gadda Da Vita".
When Zipfly first commissioned me for this, they explained they were thinking of imagery that somehow showed chefs or vintners in and among the beasts, in their natural setting. I never imagined how this approach would literally be what is happening at the event. I tried to get some photos with my cell-phone of guys decanting Pinot Noir while chimpanzees watched from behind, but it was hard to frame. I guess that's why they hire illustration. Wig got this, which captures it a bit better - except the flamingos are a bit tough to see at this resolution!
The two commissioned images were used on a variety of materials. For this one, Becca suggested that the river otters might make for an interesting scene. I'm always down to draw an otter, and seeing how there's a dance party at the end of the evening, I thought it might be good to have some dancing action too.
I've never drawn warthogs before. They're hard to draw! This one was made also into a limited edition, signed poster.
It was great to see the zoo making huge areas for some of the creatures. The tigers had a big forested area that you look down on from above. I find nothing more depressing than watching a large cat pacing back and forth inside a tiny concrete cell. These guys seemed pretty happy.
The Meerkats had a large multi-tunneled mound that they darted in and out of.
Apparently, most of the Oakland Zoo's animals are rescued from other zoos. We were really impressed by them, I'd encourage everyone to go there, as it's also set in the beautiful Oakland hills above the city.
We've been spending the last three years planning a retro-fit and remodel of the street-level floor of our house. You know, San Francisco and earthquakes mean one must do whatever is possible to protect the foundation, sheer wall, etc. In our case, it means gutting the small store-front space, bolting the foundation, tons of sheer wall, renovating the space, new garage doors, painting the house, etc.
In preparing for the work, recently my wife Cynthia has been spending her spare time emptying out the current space. Closets full of all sorts of crazy things - odd musical instruments (pump organs, mandolins, back-up melodicas), rarely used clothing, old typewriters, out-of-date manuals, ancient cassette tapes, etc.
And artwork. These are some pieces of art that somehow have been in storage instead of on our walls, sadly. Cynthia's been bringing them upstairs to my studio rooms every few days, and it's been a joy to see some of them again, like old friends.
A vintage animation cell, by whom and for which animation I do not know. Anyone out there have an idea?
An etching by art director Mike Bain. A chicken, booze, drugs, naked people and gambling. What a great image!
A couple of cards from an early set by the creative genius super-force known as Richard McGuire.
A note from my friend and genius artist Nathaniel Parsons. We're lucky to have a bunch of Nat's pieces, as he produces more than anyone else I know, and he' generously leaves us with art every time he visits.
A painting by my father Gardiner. Dad did this in Oakland California in high school. He was into surrealism at the time I think!
A painting by my brother Kevin . He did this in 1976, can you tell he was into D & D?
A little retablo painting I bought in San Miguel de Allende in the mid 90s.
Since Drawgers are posting their Memorial Day shots, I thought I'd post what my neighborhood's parade was...
We live in the Inner Mission of San Francisco, which is a mostly Latin area. Something about the cold SF summer weather has caused the city to switch it's Carnival celebration to Memorial Day weekend, even though this year it was foggy and cold.
Carnival is a huge deal here, with a big parade featuring low-riders, Caribbean bands, Native American displays, scantily clad women and men dancing, awesome drumming and music, the works. People sell home made pupusas, roasted cobs of corn out their front door. In general, it's mayhem and fun - and great street theater.
We live right along the parade's path, so every year we're awoken by the blasting horns and street noise.
This year, I awoke, went into my studio and snapped this picture out of the window.
The parade had already begun. What's funny too is the tv crew for Telemundo sets up on the block before us, so we get to see what'll be showing up in front of our house before it arrives.
Back when we first moved here, we'd always go out and experience the party. This year I just did a quick tour out to snap some pictures and see the sites. I need to get a proper digital camera, it's tough capturing the world on a cell phone camera...