Christoph Hitz
Loose End

Forbes reported that Nestle controls eighty percent of the nations pumpkin crop, the company reports that this years rainy summer resulted in rotten pumpkins, thus creating a shortage, making it difficult to find canned pumpkin pie filling for Thanksgiving. Lucky us we are able to circumvent this minor problem by growing our own pumpkins.

The bigger issue looming over our Thanksgiving feast, It turns out we can't fix or bypass like the pumkin shortage. Let me elaborate: It started a few years back,  ln the Summer of 2005, my son

Emmett was just about to take his final exam for his black belt in karate, when he started having flu like symptoms, drank alot of liquid and seemed to be constantly going to the bathroom. Eventually, he had to be hospitalized and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a (for now) life long condition that requires insulin injections on a regular basis.  His immune system began to attack his pancreas, resulting in shutdown of his pancreas which consequently stopped producing any insulin.

Fast forward to now, thanks to a huge effort and work by my wife Deborah, Emmett counts carbs and operates an insulin pump in conjunction with a continuous glucose monitoring system. In the seventies, the very first insulin pump was about the size of a regular backpack, todays pumps are about the size of a cellphone.  It administers insulin via a connection by a small plastic tube inserted into his belly. Emmett has started high school this year, he has a knack for mathematics, excels in all of his classes and is ready to go skiing with his buddies while going through the regular teenager growing pains. (Yeah Dad, you don't get it)

As you can imagine, we are following the health care debate with great anticipation.  We are appalled that insurance companies are allowed to cherry pick as to who they want to insure, leaving us in a very vulnerable position by allowing these insurance companies to discriminate against kids with a precondition by law. In our eyes, there is no argument that can be made against having universal health care for all, except if you are an elected official with the interest of corporations shareholders in mind. On the long run, DNA profiles will give the insurance companies a perfect data profile to cherry pick from. So this Thanksgiving send your elected official a note reminding him or her that they work for you and not your insurance company.
Don't forget to thank them, we all need a "Lucky Break" this Thanksgiving.

Pass the cranberry sauce!

As for my "Lucky Break" submission, the New Yorker decided to go with a pumpkin pie for the Thanksgiving cover.
Car Czar, come again?
This isn't exactly a quick read cover, visually I wanted to intrigue the reader, make him/her linger, think and be amused before opening the magazine.
On any given day, my studio radio is usually tuned to my favorite radio station, WAMC. A few weeks back all the news from NPR and the BBC seam to be humming with dire news regarding the American car industry. The CEO's had just testified in Congress and the media stream started to swell with the new buzz word: "CAR CZAR!" I couldn't believe my ears, weren't the czars extinguished just about 10 years after the car was invented? Who was the evil genius who said, "It has to rhyme to sell?" The proposal of a reviving a Russian royalty title in conjunction with the a job title to oversee the big 4 crisis seamed preposterous, something from a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Would his royal tzarness have to power to ax production costs, slash robot labor and lay down the law of green technologies? Heck, was this proposed tile inspired by the Russian car industry with such memorable companies like: Lada, Avtovaz, Gaz, Pobeda and Kamaz all shinny examples of the Soviet Union's past achievements? Hell no.

On a loose sheet of paper next to my lightbox I started to doodle some czarist period creatures.  Somehow the press and the politicians seam to hash out a fictional saviour figure that begged to be drawn. By now I was sick of hearing "Car Czar" this and that, heck why not give the appointee a German, Italian or Japanese title at least they know how to build cars! In the meantime, my sketch had grown into this dark doodle with plenty of slash and burn capable type "A" characters. Handing out alternative job titles to my freshly minted creatures made me feel like I was in charge of my dire news inspired doodle.

With the Bush presidency in it's final days, my "Alternative Car Czar" cover layout got returned by The New Yorker with the standard rejection note. I'm glad the times of hoodwinking people with words like "enhanced interrogation", "engagement theater","Freedom Fries" and for that  matter "Car Czar" are soon over.

Exhuberant riddance.

Did I mentioned I had a blast doing this layout?  I did.
To my fellow Drawgers, readers and Drawger fans.

I wish you  joyful holidays and happy new year full of meaningful change.

Totally Board
Over the years I've done less then ten jobs with illustrator. I used the application primarily to aid my work in photoshop. More recently I started learning the program more in depth, so when Rob Dunlavey posted the Salomon Snowboard competition I incorporated the challenge as learning exercise. I had fun, Thanks Rob.
Big Foot This one is about being the biggest animal on the slopes. I did do a few variations on this design at the end I placed the big foot prints on purpose where the binding is located to empower the boarder. Fable Animal I wanted to do a design for girls without the usual colors, it had to be cuddly but not too cute and I wanted to create a modern fable creature. It turned out to be a blend of a bush baby, meerkat, dragon, monkey and as i realized toward the end Spirou the cartoon character. The tropical look gives it a hot & cool aspect as soon as this board hits the slopes.
Carving Snake With this design I had teenagers like my son Emmett in mind. I wanted to emphasize where the boarder stands and illustrate what the board can do by creating a snake cartoon character. Snowboards make a more scruffy noise than skies, that notion prompted the scruffy dynamic look. Bloody Hell It's a macabre joke that will get peoples attention while lining up for the ski lift. Initially I didn't wanted to upload this idea until I got overruled by my family. They said it's 2008, anything goes.
Lunar Eclipse Reminder
The sketch above is from a 1986 sketch books. When ever I see a drawing of mine I recall specific things that happened that day, that I wouldn't recall otherwise. That full moon night helicopters chased a burglar with penetrating searchlights while all the neighborhood dog where hauling, it was a hot sweltering night in Echo Park LA. I talked with my friends about fascism and played chess until the cooler air arrived with the morning dawn. Is your memory linked to your drawings?

Don't forget to step out side tonight.
The spectacle of a total lunar eclipse will lasts for about an hour from 10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. EST.
A Christmas Tread
My mom would start baking Christmas cookies about 4 weeks before Christmas.  Soon the house would begin to smell of orange zest, cinnamon, toasted nuts and chocolate.  As
these different aromas started wafting through the house, all of us kids would know that the countdown to Christmas had begun. She would produce up to 30 different kinds of cookies, all well researched from cookbooks and magazines. Some were multi-layered, others glazed with orange sugar glaze or filled with homemade marmalade, also coconut macaroons, vanilla kipferl, mini linzer tarts, hazel nut logs...the list goes on and on.  If I think about it, I can't help myself but marvel and reminisce about how she baked them every year.
I regret that I didn't inherit the baker gene from her or have her cookie recipe box, however I lucked out by inheriting her cooking gene.
Here is my favorite holiday dessert.  The flavors and texture in this dessert remind me of family holidays and the happy side of my childhood.

Have no fear, it's very easy to make:

- 6 peeled, cored and sliced in half pears (recommend Bosc, Bartlet or Anjou)
- 1 bottle of red wine ( any kind of red will do )
- 1/2 to 1 cup of granulated sugar ( I go easy on the sugar)
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 2 bay leafs, cloves, orange or lemon zest, ( let your inner holiday child guide you)
Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Once the wine mixture is boiling, turn heat down to a simmer for  about 20 minutes.  If you started with juicy soft pears you're most likely done, check with knife if  they are tender, if not give them another 10 minutes. Pour the pears into a bowl with the wine sauce, let  cool down and hide them from two legged predators in the refrigerator. For the final dessert, move the pears to the dessert plate and reduce the wine sauce in your sauce pan. Add one scoop of vanilla ice-cream to each pear and pour the hot wine reduction over the ice-cream and the pear.

Drawgers, I wish you the very happiest of holidays. It’s been quite a year, and I’ve loved spending it with you.
I canned my batch for holiday gifts. The longer the pears marinade in the wine sauce the more saturated they become.
Do you procrastinate?
I did take these photos a few days prior to the crash. Apple replaced my harddrive under warranty, all my artwork was backedup, I lost some settings, bookmarks and time.
I did crash my hard drive on my laptop on Thanksgiving while showing some photographs to my photographer friend Roman. I also managed to procrastinate on an assignment for the WSJ
that was due the following Friday. Apple support was down to a skeleton crew and my hard drive started to make some funky noises that sounded  like mechanical failure. After a few attempts at accessing the hard drive by using utility CD's and keyboard short keys, I caved in.  In all these years I learnd how to add hard-drives, install expansion boards, upgrade modems etc.  At this point it was all useless knowledge for repairing this next generation of laptop. There was just no way I would get my MacBook going on time and make the deadline. Heck there was my old G3 tucked away on my side desk. Lucky me, I had done some maintenance work about two weeks ago and the machine was purring like a kitten. I set the alarm clock for 3 o'clock the next morning and hit the hay around midnight on Thanksgiving day. I inked the illustration, scanned it and finished around 7:00 am with plenty of time to spare. Darn, I hate when I procastinate, because on the rare occasion that I do, I usally end up  paying the price.
I had the sketches ready (no manuscript) in the beginning of the week. The story was about giving the kids an airplane ticket for a summer vacation...
I liked "C" the best "A lame self serving Santa"
Trying out some pencils...
For a parent of a newly minted 7th grader, this is the week when everything changes back to "normal". Yes, just a few months ago we blasted the house with the infamous Alice Cooper song "School's Out". We left for a vacation, made outdoor fires, road our bicycles, swam in the pool, had sleep overs and played video games past midnight. While summer breaks seam to go on forever life takes a more chaotic turn, it's a challenge to provide an eventful, relaxed summer for a pre-teenager. With labor day a distant memory we parents are wearing a smile at our sleeves and secretly highfiving our spouse. You can find us still humming that Alice Cooper song, duh with slightly altered lyrics: "SCHOOL'S  BACK FROM SUMMER, SCHOOL'S BACK IN SESSION"

Now come on just sing along.

While summer lasted (forever) I heard this fabulous "Alice Cooper" interview by Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Mini Spots
They printed even a bit smaller then you see them here, on your screen.
In January I got a phone call from Smart Money Magazine. The Art Director asked, a bit shy, for a spot drawing of a radiator. "Yes, can do!" I said, and I threw in an additional, cozy looking, sleeping, cat. The Art Director was happy to the extent of calling me a couple of month later and giving me a bimonthly mini spot assignment called; "10 Things You need to know about Wedding Planners, Plastic Surgeons, Pest Control, etc." You get  the Idea.
In Memoriam
PAUL DEGEN 1941-2007

The phone would ring and the voice on the other side would  say something like "Stoeff, next week I'm in your neighborhood" just like Mars returns eventually to Earth every 4 years or so, Paul Degen would drop by. He stayed with me in Zürich for a few weeks.  We'd hook  up a few times in New York.  As I'm typing this I realize he was just 6 years younger than my mom.  It's hard to fathom getting a phone call out of the blue from a mutual friend and hearing the sad news that  Paul Degen passed away after complications of a second surgery in Basel, Switzerland on May 30th.
Paul started his illustrator career as an apprentice in the lithography studio of Wassserman AG in Basel while attending the Basel Collage of Commercial Art. Soon afterwards, he was working  in the graphic studio run by Theo Ballmer and the Académie Julien in Paris. After returning to Basel he worked as a free-lance graphic artist for Herbert Leupin, Celestino Piatti, Fritz Bühler and the Eidenbenz Studio. (Swiss  all star designers). By 1970 he was drawn to New York,  where he produced over 30 covers for the New Yorker, countless illustrations for Harper's, Esquire, Atlantic Monthly and the New York Times
His conceptual mixed media illustrations radiate humor and charm. Paul was always on the go. He traveled the world and became a bon vivant.  His next adventure was to travel in a bus through China following an antique car race. I will miss his juggler skills, his grin while playing backgammon, his  illustrations,  a friend and mentor and above all his adventures spirit.
Light Line
After the initial shock of finding one of my favorite camera, thepolaroid SX70, in Lou Brooks "Museum  of Forgotten Art Supplies" I  decided to mount a nostalgic galley show with some of my experimental stuff from the cameras hay days. Once the camera was secured on a tripod I was able to paint with a ruby laser for about 14 seconds, resulting into these longtime exposed polaroid photos . At the time the camera was a favorite among designers and illustrators like David Hockney. Somehow looking over my polaroids I liked the similarities of the wire like line with Alex Murawaski's resent sketchbooks.
Rock on
While replanting the garden and several fruit trees I also did some stone work. Last year we had to redrill the well and the big drillrig left a marred yard with an unsightly wellhead sticking out next to my garden. I loaded some stones into my pickup truck and started building a stone well cover. The Catskills are famous for the granite, blue stone and stone walls. Stone work is part of your garden, because 50% of your dirt is rock.  It turns out to be a great medium to create art. Here a a few local samples: David Goldin,
Opus40, Andy Goldsworthy. A small well cover takes several hours to construct with plenty of time to think. In the midst of the construction my mind started to wander and suddenly I was about climb my rock pile, just like the rock heaps on the top of the Swiss
mountains as a young boy.  Later on, by chance I started to look through my photo album and found the perfect memory link.
The hills are alive... My sister Katrin and I
Bok and Shiela. They made it through the winter under the thick sheet of ice.
Deborah and Emmett trying the new canoe.
Aspargus spear emerging in the garden.
A new cherry tree for mothersday.
My next project, straighten the bridge.
My studio fits into my "Rucksack"

I had a crazy busy week with a plan to leave for Long Island by Friday afternoon. Wednesday morning I got a call from Barron's saying that the story had changed and they just needed an additional illustration. The additional Illustration started to infringe on my scheduled departure time that I tried to keep in sync with my family. I had finished my Barron's assignment and had yet another approved drawing due Monday for the Wall Steet Journal. By noon I packed my Wacom tablet , the scanner and my MacBook Pro into my backpack and off we went. By Saturday afternoon I found a quiet room, connected my computer, streamed in my favorite radio station and finished the assignment. I can't tell you how many times I packed the car with computer equipment just to make the deadline over a holiday and still get some quality time with my family. Packing my "Rucksack" studio was a cinch, having time to paint some easter eggs with the kids was time well spend..

Happy Easter
Idea Bubble
After I e-mailed the finallized Illustration to the magazine, I got a phone call from the Art Director telling me that he was sorry and my illustration wasn't going to run. The story had evolved into a personality story and portrait photo was chosen. I was pissed for about 30 minutes, not because it was canceled, but because I liked the concept. Then I decidet crisis equals oportunity and turned the file into a texture / background test.

The Story
For the past few years Yahoo has found itself struggling against small startups to build the best next-generation Web features, tools, and social platforms. Now Yahoo is trying to tap its inner startup with a new teams of inovators, the whole effort is led by a genuine star of the Web 2.0 movement, Caterina Fake, who co-founded the innovative photo-sharing site Flickr. Yahoo would like to reclaim the reputation for Web innovation that Google has usurped in recent years.
Enlarged offset print screen
On corrugared board
Heart Rate
The Hitz house.
The next gym is about 30 minutes by car and since my New York City speed walking days are over, I mix my cardiovascular  exercise between roller skating, jogging and bicycling, depending on the season. This time of the year, I do laps with my cross country skies for about a 30 minutes a day.Last week we had a #10 day,  blue sky and nice fresh snow, I figured I bring the camera and You guys along my route to the endof my patch and back. Also, I made a small gallery of unusal Winter photos send to me by my friends Garance and John.
n this pristine trout stream, we find crayfish, turtle, beaver, blue herons and the Canadian geese,who just arrived yesterday from Florida.
Milkweed, favored by the Monarch butterfly.
Pinch me
Valentine's or Valentina Day?
Valentine's Day floral purchases by gender: 65% are made by men; 35% by women. Of rose-only purchases: 74% are made by men; 26% by women.

Stay warm travel safe and have a happy Valentin... Day.  Zimm, Thanks for the pink.
I have to dig out the driveway in a while, love never ends....
Section Cover for the Boston Globe
While I'm getting this article ready to upload, my studio radio tuned to WAMC, reports on the recent layoffs at the Boston Globe and the decline of quality reporting in general.The business travel story reflects on the airlines mediocre service to the business community
and happens to be my first illustration for the Boston Globe.
Mmmm.... Toblerone
I was hoping the art director would send me a tear sheet or the entire section. The day I send the file out, Boston was inundated with "Art Terrorists" and my request  got lost in the inbox.  I did ask Robert Dunlavey to scan his recycle bin and forward the tear sheet.
Drawger to the rescue, Thanks again Rob.
I did add some cartoon sketches to my gallery and I colorized this sketch for You my feathered Drawger friends.
A Manure Plan
Colorized Sketch
Last winter after cleaning out the stable I noticed some green plants peeking out from underneath a foot of snow. After a investigation with a pitch fork I found a bunch of weeds growing in midsts of winter with their roots cozy warmed by the composting wood shavings and horse manure. All summer long I have been eating from my garden that I started from seed for the first time this year. By early October I realized, I wasn't quite ready to give up my salad section of the garden. After a little research in my gardening books I found a cold frame solution with a  composting heat source. With a few left over bricks and an old glass door at hand, I dug out my raised bed filled it up withthe magic mix and toped it of with some fresh soil and built a rectangular cold frame on the top of it. The pond has frozen a few times, yet this has been one of the mildest winter so far.
I had plans to test the cold frame idea with at least a foot of snow.
In an eerie sense I feel lucky growing lettuce in January.
Welcome to my garden
Does this look like a nasty winter?
The salad bar
Scrumptious salad
Lucky me I found some delicious Illoz in my spice rack. It makes salad taste even better. ;)
Collective Sketching
I found this wonderful site last week.
In a far sense it's a online version of cadavre exquis (exquisite corpse). Based on an old parlor game, it was played by several people, each of whom would write a phrase on a sheet of paper, fold the paper to conceal part of it, and pass it on to the next player for his contribution.
SwarmSketch is an ongoing online canvas that explores the possibilities of distributed design by the users. The site generates randomly a popular search term which becomes the sketch subject for the week. The collective is sketching what the collective thought was important last week. A new sketch begins after one week, or after the previous sketch reaches one thousand lines, whichever comes first.

It's fun and "borg" at the same time.
Santas melt down.
A few years ago I came  across an article that said that a new, all year shipping route had been established through the northern hemisphere and that the poles are melting. I drew this cartoon just to get acquainted with the idea that all of our Santa stories need to be rewritten if the north pole melts. After all these years reading about global warming etc. I finally managed to see Al Gore's  "An Inconvenient Truth" a week a go.  With the  real possibility of the poles melting, I'm not so sure if I'm still amused by my foresight. In the new year I will make a bigger effort to reduce my familys carbon footprint.

Happy Holidays - Meditate don't medicaid
December 7th is old Saint Nick Day in the old country. I'm back to school learning how to get my old animated gifs to work in this new CSS world. CLAUS was initially published as a small booklet produced from of a single 11x17 sheet of paper. Form conception to finish I had about 6 days. The gif you see on Your screen represents just about the original double page size. In the print version the snow was printed with a random splash of glistening varnish. "CLAUSNOST" is the only page that I removed to keep it more timely.

I'm very bad in reading a tutorial and create new art work at the same time, so please forgive me for playing with my old artwork.

I can't wait to hear all Your CLAUS versions...
Show Down.
The windmill doesn't generate anything....
I don't like seasonal decorations. I always think of it as a bourgeois thing to do. This year I realized that the art shows in which the curator sends a wooden box, plastic cow, polyester frog etc. and one is encouraged to artwork it  then return it  for a a show at the mall or at a swank embassy is similar to carving a pumpkin or decorating an easter eggs. Carving a pumpkin has become a substitution for a rutabaga lantern carving tradition I used to do as a kid in Switzerland. Halloween replaced the Zurich artist carnival that originated in the Dada years. Cooking a turkey is just another day in the kitchen while family and friends are coming over. Hey Zina, what time did You say You are going to be here? Goldin don't forget the Pavarotti CD, Nancy a pumpkin pie is just fine.....yes,yes You are all invited....  so get ready for Turkey week...... and don't be afraid to bring out the seasonal bourgeois decorations.

Global, gobble,gobble....
My first promotion card.
Gouache on corrugated cardboard
The Korean deli downstairs had stacked the old boxes by
cutting them into sizable chunks for the trash. I noticed all the interesting prints on the boxes, animals, oriental lettering etc. I started painting with gouache on these chunks of cardboard. The color xerox at the time looked like hell. The guy at "Jellybean"
wanted a fortune for highend prints. So I decided to send them out, one postcard at the time. Until a photographer friend of mine had mercy on me and took a color negative picture with his Sinar camera. I had about 100 c-prints made and mounted them on card stock. Something about this image seamed to resonate with the art directors, this image got me about 20 jobs.
The art directors liked the art until they found out that the corrugated cardboard couldn't be mounted on a
scanner drum.  It was the year 1985 just at the dawn of postscript.
Yellow Mellow
With the days getting shorter and the holidays coming up,
I figured I'd share this recipe page with you. It's easy to do,
and the chances are your guests will think you are a 4 star cook.
I did the layout and Illustration about 2 years ago with a grand
plan to turn it into funky cookbook. Then life threw me
a curveball, my mother died in Switzerland and I had my son
in the hospital being diagnosed with juvenile diabetes type 1 all
in the same week. It changed everything in an instant  in my house.
Fast forward.
My son is doing well, he got his black belt in karate last spring
and he is back in school while hooked up to a life saving beeper sized
insulin pump.
The cook book project  stays shelved for now since I have
a rather large list of computer programs to revisit over the winter.

I count my blessing and hope you get to share this chicken
recipie (PDF) with friends.
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