I just finished a series of illustrations for Teaching Tolerance magazine last night. I was given a generous deadline, the pay was good, and the art director was a pleasure to work with. Sometimes the most difficult part of illustrating for me is the night before everything is due. I go through the routine of liking it, picking it apart, then panic sets in and I feel like the art director is going to burn my art and me at the stake. This can be good and bad. I usually get crazy around one a.m. when I start to hallucinate.
The article is about a group of “at risk” students and their activism in their community. They surprised their teacher by cleaning up a run down cemetery where poor migrant workers are buried. The students had to go through a lot of red tape to get this place cleaned up. The spot illustration was done for an adjoining article titled “Homeless not Hopeless”.
I wanted to show my process on this job from start to finish.
Full page illustrtion.
Finished spot illustration.
My initial thumbnail sketches..
More thumbnails done after first round of sketches. Focusing on the spot illustration...
first round of sketches..
Second round of sketches. I revised the full page and spot illustrations...
After seeing Linzie's post on Guy Fawkes day, I was reminded of a movie I recently saw, "V for Vendetta". This was a pretty good film, not really the best film I have ever seen, but the posters for this film are amazing. The posters are a breath of fresh air considering all of the cheezy celebrity portrait filled posters that we are bomarded with. They are a tasteful homage to a couple of my favorite artists of all time- The Stenberg Brothers.
The Stenberg brothers were part Russian, part Swede, and kick-started modern poster design. I am sure they would have added many more amazing posters to their body of work if Stalin hadn't come on the scene. One brother was relegated to theatrical set painting, the other died in a motorcycle crash. I plan on posting more on these amazing artists in the next few days.
V for Vendetta is worth renting. Rent it tomorrow night to keep yourself busy while the trick or treaters come by....
Thanks Randall for your post on the great illustrators of the past. One of my favorite artists is Robert Riggs. A while back I bought an old copy of Fortune magazine, an issue that dealt entirely with New York City. Robert illustrated an article on the NYPD. I love the massiveness of his figures, I am sure that Arnold Friberg was looking at Rigg's work when he did his Canadian Mountie series.
Here is a sampling of the illustrations from that article. Amazing work.
An 8mm still from a home movie of my father, 1963.
Yesterday while driving my daughter to school, I was listening to my Beatles playlist on my i-pod in the car. I need to have my Beatles/John Lennon fix about once a week, and my mind gets to wandering. I was thinking of how cool would it be if Lennon were around to tweak Bush like he did Nixon, then I thought of the time my father met the Beatles during the time he was a missionary in 1963.
My dad was an LDS missionary in northern England from 1963 to 1965, and was in Liverpool in 1963. He spent time all over northern England and was in Liverpool, Manchester, and Coln- Lancashire (sp?). He went back often while in the air force many times in the years after his mission.
As my father felt the effects of Multiple Sclerosis he had to quit the air force. I used to hang out with him in our living room and listen to him tell me stories as he sat in his recliner. This was therapeutic for both of us.
The story goes-
He and his missionary companion met a young couple who knew the Beatles, and invited him to go and see the Beatles play a small show in Liverpool. It was in a small club, and after the show this young couple took my dad and introduced him to the Beatles!! My dad thought they looked "scruffy", but he loved the music they played. They asked him if he wanted their autographs, but he said no because he thought they wouldn't amount to much.
You need to understand that my dad grew up listening to the Elverly Brothers, and had a "crew-cut" haircut.
A couple of years after he came home, he bought St.Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on LP, and I now have that record.
Five years ago I bought a set of four Paul McCobb dining chairs from a used furniture store. I was just spending a saturday looking around for a dining table, and I stumbled on these design masterpieces. They were in the corner of the shop covered in grease. They looked as though someone had dipped them in a deep-fat fryer.
It took some steel wool, varnish remover, a little elbow grease, and tung oil to clean these up. The end result is an amazing set of chairs.
I have tried to dig up information on Paul McCobb, but no luck so far. I did, however, notice a Paul McCobb chair in a display at GAP's headquarters in San Francisco, and it is also featured in their new ad campaign.
There are few pieces of furniture we plan on taking with us in our move, in fact, these chairs will probably be the only pieces we take with us...
A while back Elwood Smith posted a great article where he shared his wisdom on fountain pens and ink that is permanent and appropriate for use in fountain pens. You can find his informative article by clicking here
On Vern Mercado's recommendation I am using another ink that is truly permanent, and works like a charm. It has the richness of sumi ink, and hasn't clogged my Parker 45. It is available in 50 something colors. After it dries on paper, it is there to stay. No bleeding. I have tested it on both quality (N.Y. Central 100% rag) sketchbook paper and Strathmore 500 series board.
This wonderful ink is made by NOODLERS Ink, and you can check out their informative, yet not too well designed website by clicking
The Brothers Karamazov, a homeless man, and Andrea Mantegna.
A few days ago I spent the day running around San Francisco to meetings. Between my meetings I spent some time taking pictures and drawing. I spent most of my time hanging around the embarcadero because it is so relaxing, clears my mind, and helps me meditate somewhat.
As I was walking along, I spotted this homeless man sleeping by the side of the sidewalk, and was holding as still as an Egyptian sarcophagus. I normally don’t feel right about taking homeless people’s pictures, or drawing them, but this time I couldn’t help myself. I took his photo while he slept, then did a couple of sketches of him while he slept. When he began to stir, I put away my sketchbook and camera, talked with him for a couple of minutes, then gave him a couple of bucks.
When I first saw him as I was walking by, his pose reminded me of an old painting by Andrea Mantegna. After I left and said my goodbye to this man, my mind wandered and this experience reminded me of a passage from the Brothers Karamazov, a book that I am currently reading, and was reading on the train into the city that day-
“…’I love mankind’, he said, ‘but I marvel at myself: the more I love mankind in general, the less I love human beings in particular, separately, that is, as individual persons. In my dreams’, he said, ‘I would often arrive at fervent plans of devotion to mankind and might very possibly have gone to the cross for human beings, had that been suddenly required of me, and yet I am unable to spend two days in the same room with someone else, and this I know from experience. No sooner is that someone else close to me than his personality crushes my self-esteem and hampers my freedom. In the space of a day and a night I am capable of coming to hate even the best of human beings: one because he takes too long over dinner, another because he has a cold and is perpetually blowing his nose. I become the enemy of others,’ he said, ‘very nearly as soon as they come into contact with me. To compensate for this, however, it has always happened that the more I have hated human beings in particular, the more ardent has become my love for mankind in general.’ But what is to be done? What is to be done in such a case? Is one to give oneself to despair?”
I am still trying to better understand this passage.
Ok, I get a call from an art director over at the San Francisco Chronicle to do a piece for an article on suicide bombers.
The article is an interview with a French film director who made a documnetary exploring the reasoning behind these bombers. The filmmaker makes the argument that the suicide bombers are doing this because of their repressed sexuality. He makes some interesting arguments, some of which I agree with, some I do not.
In the article some survivors of suicide bombings told the filmmaker that the bomber had a peaceful smile as he detonated himself. It is also mentioned that bombers are a lot like flashers who are seeking to destroy ones' innocence.
I normally don't deal with articles of this nature, so I was suprised when the art director told me that he liked how I do "dark"....
This piece will run in this sunday's edition of the SF Chronicle.
Ok, I know that this post really doesn't have anything to do with monkeys, but I am somewhat of an ape in that this is my first post using Firefox. Why have I been so simian in my insistance in using Safari for Drawger posts?
I have been hesitant to post about this, but oh well-
The D3M Bindery is a side business where i hand make sketchbooks using found book covers primarily, and also bind books using fine italian bookcloth.
It all has grown out of my giving these sketchbooks away as gifts to friends. I wanted to create a sketchbook that would be durable, lay flat open, and be as unique as the person I was giving it to. each book is one of a kind.
I also was noticing that the Salvation Army store where my friend worked was compacting, throwing away a lot of the donated books that didn't sell. Many of these books had great covers, and were still useful, so I started to bind them into sketchbooks that I could use. I am left-handed so it was of most importance that my sketchbooks lay flat while I draw.
I use 80 lb. strathmore drawing paper for each book, which I have found is one of the most durable sketchbook papers out there (with the exception of the paper NY Central uses for a line of their sketchbooks..).
I have kept this "side business" small because I like it that way. I have a few people out there that order a few at a time, and I can keep them well stocked. Basically when people want them, they e-mail me, and I in turn send them a few jpegs of what covers I have in stock.
The above photo was taken on a beautiful, nice day, but has a bleakness to it. I wasn't thinking of how to compose this "hotel" sign when I shot this, I was thinking more of the sign itself. I liked the composition so much that I did a color study of it today. I normally don't work so close to my photo reference, but this time is a bit of an exception. I might change up the color palette on this piece when I finish it, we'll see...
I finally get to take a picture from the other side..
I had the great opporitunity to go to lunch with the kind folks at Pixar yesterday.
When my wife and I go shopping at IKEA, we almost always drive by Pixar on the way home. I always wondered what was beyond the gate....I imagined myself as charlie peering in through the gates of Wonka's choclate factory...
The San Francisco society of Illustrators is planning an "evening" with Pixar that is tentatively planned for december 1st. Keitch Criss and I went over palns with a couple of the speakers for this event, and from our meeting I feel that the presentation is going to be something you won't want to miss!
If anyone (illustrator, student, etc..) in the bay area is reading this, we an use help in the planning and logistics for this event. Please contact me via e-mail if you are interested in helping out!
They even have a foosball table!!
Me with Jeremy Vickery, lighting effects director. Jeremy did a lot of work on "Cars.
Leo e-mailed me a great photo of this car. Is it your car, Leo? If i am correct it is a Piaggio (Vespa) 400?
Anyways, thanks everyone for the kind words.
I will try and answer some questions-
Tim- I love the 150! I can't believe you had one running so nicely! I have a p200 and it needs some new brakes. A late welcome to you!
Bob- Sure, I'll trade you my Tigers cap, but the team doesn't come along with it...sorry...
David- Umm...I don't know of any other way in describing a 10k race...
Christian- Didn't encounter any trolls, but I had a full meal of quesadillas afterwards...
Nancy- they are growing up too fast!! Thanks for the kind words.
Adam- Thanks. I have thought about the Smart car, but I am going to absolutely need a car in january, so I think i am going the route of a Yaris, Fit, or Versa. I love those smart cars!!
Maybe I will get my act together and have a show of rides?
Thanks again everyone for commenting!
Me and the kids after the race. On Pope beach with Emerald bay in the distance. Lake Tahoe.
I finally got the motivation to run, and what a more beautiful place to do it than Lake Tahoe! The weather was perfect, and the view along the race trail were amazing. I hadn't been to real mountains in some time, and it made me long for the days of staying in my friend's cabin, then going snowshoeing or snowboarding....
I love running in these races because you see the gamut of people there. It reminds me of how a wise person once said that the race is with ones' self.
I made it in under an hour, and for me that is an accomplishment. I am planning on another run sometime soon. It made it even better that I was able to have my wife and kids there to cheer me on.
If you have never been to lake Tahoe, or haven't been in a while, make the trip. It is heaven.
On Pope beach, Lake Tahoe. I snapped this because it reminded me of a Sorolla painting (somewhat..).
I snapped this because it reminded me a lot of where I grew up.