I love this little piece I did recently for SooJin at PlanSponsor. Such a strange little concept. The article was about the complicated restrictions in regulations in plans around mergers and aquisitions and the importance of retirement plan conciderations. The final direction SooJin picked was the circulatory illustration. Strange yes, but I think an appropriate solution. I was trying to do a kind of a strange old medical chart-like image but the old type was just pushing it off in another direction that didn't seem like it helped the concept. It was so much fun working on it, was hard to stop even after the project was delivered.
They always start the same way, had some great directions in the thumbnails sketches, couldn't wait to get the feedback from SooJin and see which direction she would pick... I love this part of the job , thumbnailing is so much fun. I have been trying to stop sending so many, and even stop doing so many, but I just can't seem to stop myself. The ideas just flow out kind of like a stream of consciousness.
Miraculously, she finds something that seems to make sense out of these little scribbles.
Paint a few color thumbnails trying to work out how to handle the final. My initial idea was to do an old vintage medical poster... but the type was too distracting...
When I painted it I loved the body inside, hidden and more obscure. To me, it was the way I view mergers. More as one devouring or absorbing the other. When I showed it to Forest and Lee they felt the head of the figure was too hard to read. I blew them off, continued working on textures and trying options with type. When i sent it to SooJin she said it was beautiful, but she needed to see the figure in the center faster for it to read as a "merger"...
Damn, I hate it when Lee is right. But I eliminate some of the veins around the figure and change the head to be more obvious. Still works. I throw away most of the type and just use some watercolor paper with torn edges... It works.
I had finished the art on Friday and let it sit over the weekend. When I came in Monday I looked at the color comps and tried to see what it would look like in another color direction.... I sent them off to show SooJin. I think maybe it was too late to look at any alternates. Time was gone. I sent two versions the original and the blue one. I am guessing I will find out in a month or so which one she used. My bet is the original. Forest says I am worrying about it too much. The original looked good. Me, I just always want it to be better. Thank God for deadlines or nothing would ever get shipped!
I thought these options were interesting in that the feeling they give the viewer is somehow very diferent. Color can add an emotional element to an illustration that sometimes can change the feeling subtly, sometimes dramatically. I guess I was just enjoying working on this so much, I just didn't want it to end.
Last minute poster to herald Creative Carnival's return to New York. I decided on this little devil clown to accentuate the fire performers included this year. October 30th at Jack Studios, 601 West 26th Street, 12th Floor..
Details of little flaming Carny People running around on fire. I tried to give it a warm "Dust-Bowl" earthy color tone....
I had a chance to do a few new paintings for the up coming in September. Such pressure, so many talented artist... But so much fun...even after Monte picked his four for the show I had another in my head just had to get down on paper. The series started off as a sort contrast between light and dark. Somehow it all went to the dark side. I had two dark images Mother Of Crows and Death Of Crows. Each representing a kind of nihilist view of crows. The Death of Crows I saw as a dark angel on the oil soaked beach with eggs that blend into the stones. I wanted the image charred and dark like coal. The Mother Of Crows I also saw as dark and hopeless. When I got to the forth painting I think I was just tired of the "Birds" and wanted to try something different. I have this stuffed standing goat in my house that has a little stand that reads "Pull My Tail". Seemed like a natural subject. I played around with a more neutral palette that seemed to add to the moodiness of the piece. A last little thought was to put the crows coming out of his pipe. Like Swifts at dusk around a chimney." The Amphibious Ambition" Seemed like a likely Cliche´. A variation on the frog prince. I hadn't cleaned my palette so grey and moody just like the Goat. I thought it would be funny to put him in kind of a variation on a French Soldiers uniform. One of my interns Denise Planche said she thought he had a "Tadpolian Complex".... Pretty funny.
"The White bird" Came from JM Berry's book The Little White Bird, a melancholy story about the loss of a child. It's the first place Peter Pan appears. Symbolism in the cross like composition, the stork, the Child's gown and the water. the dark cloudy sky. All to draw a subliminal feeling of sadness and accentuate the loss. This one was not chosen but was one of my favorites.
This little gouache illustration I called "The Land O' Plenty"...." Night of the Lepus" was a quick little study I thought it would be funny to add huge carrots onto the mountains in the background. this time more of a warm color tone to acetate the orange of the carrots.( not part of the BLAB!)
This was a fun job for Jason Mischka at Scientific American about things companies could do to make their "Big Data" more secure. My initial ideas were based on the needle in a hay stack cliché. l think where we ended up was a much more powerful and compelling image. I wanted to give it a kind of strong Deco feeling, a giant tower with tiny figures trying to hold it all together.
I decided to make the tower alive and give it a face, something to imply a sense of intelligence. Naturally they seemed to take on kind of an easter island feeling. In my thumbnail i had a bunch of towers going of into the distance, In the final I scrapped these extras because they seemmed distracting from the core of the idea. Intially I had thought about paiting this illustration, but now that it moved in this tower direction iseemed better to to an airbrush and digital variation. I ended up painting the little figures small in gouach and stripped them together in Photoshop.. Tillted the tower over to make it appear more dramatic.
Jason wanted to make sure some of the people were women and that they looked like they were holding it together, not tearing the tower down. I had really thought about that but the figures were so small i didn't think it was that important. Small adjustments and on to the final.
I liked the moody monochromatic background and pushing the figures into the shadow of the tower. More cracks.. Bigger pieces falling down. Last minute I tried larger mouth... I think it worked better...Maybe.. anyway, small change.
Beautiful type is always a joy to see.Here it is all put together. Beautiful design...
So much fun working with Jason Mischka , Scientific American. Truly a great collaberation. Big thanks for a chance to work on a really fun prodject.