Alway a treat to work with Minh. The Dealbook cover was a collection of articles about innovation in finance. Some good, some bad. a generic illustration kind of made sense.
The ideas are flying all over the place as usual. Hoping somthing will land close to the mark. I don't hear back so I keep drawing.. Tried a second batch of abstract concepts.... Finally he responds. He likes 9, 10, 13. I think the machine-like robot was hitting close for Minh. He stressed he wanted to find a way to make the machine/robot in a way where something was being put in and money was coming out. I tried a bunch of variations of this, trying to figure how to make it work. I mean, without showing his internal digestive system. I liked the idea of people walking in with briefcases and walking out with money but noone else does so I stay on the robot thingy...
I try some variations of the Robot thing... I liked the pulps-like brain, little skinny arms. I try some variations and combinations. The final robot seem like he will work. I liked the idea of him free standing... Tried to see if that variation would pan out.
I try some variations of the Robot thing... I liked the pulps like brain, little skinny arms. I ty some variations and combinations. The final robot seem like he wil work.
Two small variations, boiler like robot on the left and the towering huge standing one on the right.
I was trying to give Minh an alternative to the one putting things in its head with kind of a Frankenstein version. Lightning making it light up. I think this was not obvious enough for him, but I liked the lightning so kept that in also.
Minh doesn't like the wreckage going into his head. Wants light bulbs and lightning bolts. wants to add two inches to each side. I am thinking this is so much extra work... We write him to try to get an exact size so we can minimize the extra area around the illustration.
Much thanks to Minh at the Times for calling me with this fun project. Always such a blast working on these. A collaboration is always a little giving and taking, tryiing to find the right image that will get the idea across. I thought this one worked pretty well.
Last minute change, Minh wants to put the headline on the bottom of the art so we ditch the lake and most of the trees to simplify. I don't think they're really necessary, and the piece still works. Big thanks to Minh at the New York Times for making me look so good. Always a treat working with you.
Treasure Hunters of The Financial Crisis; New York Times
Minh called me Monday with another little rush job. I am guessing because all of you were partying at AI . Oh, wish I hadn't procastinated, that is always such a good party and great seeing all of our friends in New York. But lucky for me you are all busy so I get to do another piece for the Times. Minh joked "we'll have to start calling it the Bill Mayer Times."
Most of the time, my first idea is the strongest, but I always feel it's important to give art directors alternative ideas. Just in case I stumble on to something better. Sometimes it's just fun exploring. Minh gets back to me, he wants to know if we can add the element of having fear. The other investors running away, maybe a long vertical with a storm, and boats fleeing the area. I am totally puzzled on how to make this come off. I thought of having the little boats on the suface might get the idea across without it getting too complicated. I did a few more thumbnails and sent them off.
I thought about trying to sell this idea a little harder, so I put together a little comp to show how it might work. Some time ago I had done a little piece on Hurricane Sandy, so I took and adapted it quickly by turning off the main part of the visual.
The addition of the buildings rather than ships on the bottom really made the concept work a lot better so I decided to keep them in; seemed to make more sense. Minh liked this idea but wanted to change the buildings to "Wall Street." I liked the idea of the narrow, cavern-like streets of lower New York.
Minh sold the idea. They made one more request; he asked if i thought it would work to put the guy in a suit, He said we could get rid of all of the other elements, if I could put him in a suit. He thought it was a good trade-off. My original dive bell comp was round so my first sketch of the guy was big and round. Mihn thought it seemed like we were making fun of the guy, wanted it to be less humorous. My second take on the guy was still bulky, but now more "Super Hero Like." This really was a collaboration with Minh. He is a really smart art director, and I think his suggestions made this piece work that much better.
Ny first sketch of the fat bulbous diver in a suit... Okay I get it...looks like "Wimpy" scuba diving....And the treasure chest.
the two revised options "super Hero" like guy . We all like the a version.
The final piece turned out pretty cool, I sent off a screen capture to run it by Minh. He suggests lightening it up a bit so it won't go too dark in the paper. Pulled back on some of the darkness.
It always feels great to get a thank you note back from a client. Minh sent me a couple of notes.
"Our executive editor... She thought your art for SundayBiz was "conceptually smart".
Thanks Bill, for making me look "smart".
Actually Minh, I should thank you for making me look so smart . You are a genius. Thanks again to Minh Uong and The folks at the Times.
Detail of bugs carrying elements to add scale to the painting...
Alway an utter delight to get to work with SooJin again. The second this one came in I had a strong idea of what I wanted to do. I saw in my head a tiny fabulous little circus of insects and beetles. When I told Lee about my idea she reminded me of the "Bug Story" circus. I hadn't thought of that but it was really good. She cautioned me so I knew to try to stay far away from those elements in the movie. Although I had this one idea, SooJin likes seeing several other ideas. So I did a little collection of thumbnail concepts.
I really didn't stumble on anything I liked better, and SooJin agreed with a short note
"I like the circus of bugs, please go with that."
It's such a great feeling when things fall into place like that. I thought adding some everyday items would help give it more scale, like the buttons and needles, paper clip... I knew the long horizontal would be a little difficult.
Looking at it after some time I wish I had shifted a few things, maybe left a little breathing room. I think maybe something on that wall might have helped with that, but those thoughts came a few days after the art was shipped and I really was happy with the results.
I did this painting the same way, small gouache painting then editing and darkening. Some color shifts, (the bug on the far left was yellow as well so I made it more orange, darkening backgrounds...) I worked a bit larger in scale this time as I was worried about the detail in the bugs.
Detail of the floor and small bug. Button added for scale...
Detail of the juggler
Big thank you to SooJin for always giving me a chance to try new things. I love this little piece and it's aways such a joy working with you. BIG thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you....
Last year I wrote Monte about being included into the Blab show. He told me they were all pretty much closed out at the time but we kept in touch and when it rolled around again it seemed a perfect place to try some of the little gouache paintings I had been experimenting with. They're a blend of digital and traditional medium, like the first series. The difference was really trying to do a lot more of the painting before it was scanned in and added to. Some of the pieces changed dramatically after they were scanned in, some of them more subtly. It has been a rewarding experiment and Blab offered an excuse to churn out a dozen candidates. This summer we took a trip up to Nova Scotia. I think the harshness and beauty of the land had a profound influence on these paintings. What a beautiful place full of haunting stories and tales of disasters.
Monte picked these four to be in the show, So thrilled to be included.
The Industrialist II
"The Industrialist II" was the first piece I started on. I loved the monochomatic kind of edwardian creepshow so I was trying to see what it would be like to sink it all below the surface. I loved the strange shapes, the fish skelitons add to the creepy feeling. The circle like a portal into this dreamlike world.
Smoke and Bones
"Smoke and Bones" I always loved old ship paintings and I thought it would be fun to twist one into a kind of dark time traveler. I kept the palette limited and added the clock hands and face to the steam ship. The bones in the smoke added a little more of a conceptual element that was needed.
"Black Water Fiddler"
This summer air has been filled with the sounds of Cicadas. Across the lake at the cottage we could hear coyotes, Bull Frogs, Great Horned Owls, "Camping bugs" all loudly singing to the return of the warm summer sun. I always loved beetles. I wanted to create a surreal dreamlike scene on the edge of a lake of a huge Acadian party with all of the bugs dancing to a reel.
While we were in Cape Breton this summer we went through Grand Pre. Being there in that beautiful place made the stories of Evangeline and the Acadians even more poignant. This painting was one I thought of when we were there. I think about how different it must have been for early settlers and how different it is now. seems like humans reproduce as fast as rabbits.