aboutimage galleriescontactsubscribe

Illustrators 53

MARCH 3, 2011
Society of Illustrators advertising and Institution opens Friday. A couple of my favorite pieces were in this years show. I thought it would be a great time to revisit those illustrations. The Dellas graphics frogs always a highlight of my year turned out surprisingly fresh. The Sad caw still makes me smile. Overall I was thrilled to get five pieces in the show. A great honor any year just to be included with so many great illustrators it is truly inspiring. Presently at work on a couple new candidates for this years calendar. We’ll see how they shake out….

This year I did the usual 50+ thumbnails, and Art Director Jim Burke’s favorite turned out to be "The Death of Frogs.” I thought it would be funny to have the grim reaper appear as a skeleton of the animal he was coming to take to the other side. I played around with having him sitting at a table but I just did an IHOP frog recently. So we ended up with a simpler, more graphic illustration of the Reaper hanging over the innocent frog on his lily pad.
© Bill Mayer 2011

 Having a long deadline can be dangerous; as this job sat around I had some time and asked Jim what his next favorite thumbnail was. And he picked the one of a Heron with a frog sitting on his nose. I did a bunch of these little drawing. Then I tried a more unexpected version with the Heron coming down instead of the normal way, I added some dark rough spatters (spatters make anything better) around the edges. I knew as soon as I did it, this was my favorite one. And turns out it was Jim's favorite too. So this year as it turns out I may have two Dellas Graphics Frogs. This little experiment I think may have found another style to play around with and with some conceptual direction, may have some strong marketable potential.
© Bill Mayer 2011

The Rotten Earth
I have had this idea for a painting in my head for a while. Ever since I read Blood Meridian, a novel by Cormac McCarthy. It was his fifth book, but my first introduction to McCarthy. There was a description in the book of a bush the Kid comes across. The heads of native infants impaled on the limbs, their soulless eyes staring out. When the Fragile Planet project came along it seemed like a great fit. What I had in my head was the Earth as a fragile child crying black tears, pooling underneath. A sad and somber piece. I did some little thumbnails and this gouache sketch on corrugated board as a study for a painting, and then decided I liked the study as the final piece.

My intern Sojung told me how famous Soojin Bazelli was and I was so nervous trying to do a great job for her. The most obvious idea was the one we ended up finishing. The idea was like banging your head into the wall or hitting yourself with a hammer over and over. My first little thumbnail was just a head with lumps. Soojin asked for the hammer to make it more obvious. It’s like watching some ludicrous Three Stooges skit of Moe taking a pipe wrench to Larry’s nose. My kind of humor…
© Bill Mayer 2011

This was a fun little project that landed on my lap, and it was so painless creating this little character. The only snag was when we went ‘round and ‘round about whether cows have horns. In the end, no-horns won. The cow is sad because no one is buying milk anymore, they are drinking Evenflo chocolate formula. I know what’s next. Chocolate formula for kids?
© Bill Mayer 2011