Jeffrey Smith
The Coldest Case-Foreign Policy Magazine
This is the story of the murder of Dr. Eugene Mallove, cold fusion pioneer. Dr. Mallove was beaten to death in an act of senseless, and random violence. The case went cold for 8 years, until a new investigator, Detective James Curtis finally solved the case.
Dr. Eugene Mallove

Cold Blooded Murder

Tablet Magazine, Suzi at Yale
Sketch no.1. "too grown up!" Rejected. There were several photo comps that I created as reference for this drawing. The challenge was finding models that were 15 to 18 years of age.

Sketch no.2, Started drawing from my imagination. No reference.

Sketch no.2, second version, chiaroscuro, pattern, atmosphere, psychology...rejected!

Back to the drawing board, starting from scratch. No referance...yet.

Gesture, psychology...

More drawing...

Another pose to consider...

Standing pose, tennis racket as sexual metaphor, Frank Lloyd Wright looking on, girl on the bed, not loving the flat space of the background.

Found the "right" background finally. Asked a former student, Maria Ogelsby to pose as Suzi (she was terrific!) and hired a model for the Yale boy.

Psychology through gesture, hands, facial expression, space, and color, chiaroscuro, pattern, atmospheric perspective, angle of view.

Fortune: Battle for AIG, Process
This is a process piece about a recent assignment I did for Fortune Magazine titled, Battle for AIG. The assignment was essentially a re-creation, portrait illustration about a confrontation between Bob Benmosche and Harvey Golub. For reference, I used photography sent by the art staff at Fortune, and other reference from the internet. In Mr. Benmosches case, I assembled him from several pieces of reference. What follows is a look at the layers of my photocomp, and then the layers of my hand painted, FW acrylic ink illustration.
The exterior view, no.1

The middle ground; Office windows

The Foreground; Mr. Benmosche already assembled from several pieces of reference.

Foreground; Mr. Golub!

Extreme Foreground; The Desk

The Background; Another option

Back Ground; This?

Background; That's the one!

Step 1: For the sake of time, I decided to paint this illustration in layers. I painted the background at a small scale, the figures at a slightly larger scale, and the portraits at still a larger scale. For this layer, I painted only the windows necessary to complete the task.

I then copy and pasted the remainder of the windows using Photoshop>Warp Tool to adjust the perspective.

The Middleground Windows.

The Figures

Mr. Golub

Mr. Benmosche

The Illustration; Layered Up

One More Thing...


Bravery & Sacrifice: NYPD Heroes and Beyond
Senate Russell Building Rotunda, Washington, DC, "Bravery and Sacrifice: NYPD Heroes 9/11 and Beyond," an art show created to memorialize and commemorate the NYPD personnel response to the events of September 11, 2001.

2014 Editorial Illustration Portfolio
Here is a portfolio of editorial illustrations from 2014. All of the work is hand drawn, and painted with FW acrylic inks on BFK Rives printmaking paper. Also, I've been using quite a bit of watercolor pencil lately.  Most of this work, weirdly, has something to do with survival. Hmmm.
Asset International Magazine

GQ Magazine

GQ Magazine

Maxim Magazine

Car & Driver Magazine

Maxim Magazine

Maxim Magazine

Maxim Magazine

NY Times, Op-Ed Page

Out of Ebola, GQ Magazine

The Prophets
I did this asssignment for The Washington Post last month. It was a story about a nun, a painter, and a wanderer, all non violent activists who cut through chain linked fences and climbed over hills to get into a nuclear storage facility in Tennessee. Once there, they threw blood from a fallen comrades body onto the exterior walls, and spray painted passages from Isaiah as well.
The assignment was a lot of work and a very quick turn around, but in the end, I got a lot of positive feedback, and even sold a set of prints to someone who enjoyed the story and the illustrations.
Climbing the hill.

Getting through the first fence.

Getting through the last fence.

Reading their message to their captor.

Their message.

Playboy Fiction 2011
I painted a couple of Fiction assignments earlier this year for Rob Wilson at Playboy magazine.
The first assignment was a story written by the amazing Joyce Carol Oates. The name of the piece is "Loose Daddy." It is the story of a demented father who takes his unwitting son for a walk in the woods. When they arrive at the ruins of an abandoned amphitheater, the father begins to taunt the son. As his son cowers beneath him, the demented father beckons his son to the stage while reciting passages from Abraham and Isaac, and Macbeth, ”O hell-kite all!”
For my reference, I photographed Cameron McHarg (as the father) in my studio. I shot Cameron from a low angle of view while encouraging a bird like shape. Then, inspired by the idea of a hell-kite, and deciding it was something like a fiendish bird of prey, I attempted to transform his eyes and nose into severe and menacing bird like features.
As I was contemplating the background, I remembered an outdoor, arbor covered amphitheater in Brookside Park California and decided it a suitable nest for my hell-kite. Again, I used an up angle to frame the main character with creeping vines and leaves and wire.
Alas, the story never made it to print.
A few weeks later, Rob called with another amazing story entitled, "Passenger" by Jennifer Dubois.
It is the story of a woman who thinks she sees a stranger and a neighbor’s child boarding a plane that she is on. The trouble is… she's a married woman on her way to meet her lover. She can't say a thing. And by the time she does, it's too late.
This turned out to be another transformation piece for me, inspired by the following line, "In their worst nightmares, the ones that woke them up and brought them weeping into our beds, there were bears in the backyard, snakes in the living room."




Time magazine called on 4.7.09 with an assignment to do 10 small portraits for the Time 100 issue.nbsp Fortune magazine called on 4.8.09 to do approximately 7 illustrations for a story about the rise and fall of Bernie Madoff.nbsp Later that week, another portrait for Time came in.nbsp All 18 pieces were due on 4.24.09.nbsp That meant 18 illustrations in 15 days!nbsp For some illustrators, that is not such a big deal.nbsp For me, this was a definite challenge and a reason to be very nervous.


The Time portraits were simple and straightforward.nbsp Do a portrait of the subject and don’t worry about concept, or even a background!nbsp The Fortune illustrations were a bit more challenging because the assignment required that the same character be depicted in several illustrations, and that the environments be credible, and that several characters be represented in a narrative kind of way.


The fees for both assignments were handsome.nbsp In this economy, the combination of both assignments represented a fair amount of money and even a chance to relax for 15 minutes after the work was done.


Throughout my career, I’ve done similar assignments for clients such as Sports Illustrated, Wig Wag, The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, and G.Q., as well as other clients.nbsp One would think I would have the experience and confidence to move through this work without any undue sense of fear and anxiety.



Well, I got it done and here it is. nbspAll I can say is that being an illustrator is like shaving without a mirror.nbsp If you can’t “feel” it, you’re going to bleed.

Growing an Illustration
Idea Sketch
I like to draw. As a teacher / professor of illustration at an Art & Design college, I am interested in giving students an effective, and simple approach to creating an illustration. I am attempting to find a way around the anxiety of "building" an illustration, while understanding the importance of creating a "finished" image.  My strategy is to "grow" the image.

We learn to draw at school by practicing observational drawing.  We draw from the human figure.  Other than the art model, no reference necessary.  But that is not the case in many illustration assignments. So, beyond drawing, I tell the students to find, or create good reference. Also, we read and scrutinize short stories by authors such as John Cheever, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Flannery O'Connor.  We also exchange ideas about narrative composition and abstract design.

Here is an illustration I recently painted for Forbes magazine.  It was a story about the abduction, or kidnapping of wealthy businessmen around the world.

I used FW acrylic inks, on BFK Rives printmaking paper.  The inks are permanent, so I can work dark to light.  And unlike watercolor paper, BFK Rives does not need to be stretched.

I've included the initial "idea" sketch. Here, the only reference is the actual businessman's face. Everything else is from my imagination. The second image is a photo comp.  This is how I create my reference. I gather disparate images from the usual on-line sources, my own scrap file, or photographs I shoot using myself, or my neighbors as models. The next image is a "value" sketch, drawn from the photo comp that attempts to coalesce the various pieces of reference into one synthesized picture.

After that, there are 5 images.  I scanned the finished illustration at 5 arbitrary stages, attempting to show how the illustration grows on the page.  There are no pencil lines that precede the brush lines. I did measure once or twice, using the "face" of the abducted, as a standard unit of measurement. This was necessary to address the pre-set proportions of the composition.

Finally, I hope this attempt at clarity does not come off as condescending.  I realize that each of us creates work in our own unique, and idiosyncratic way.  That "is" the point. What I like to emphasize with my students is this; drawing the figure, drawing on location, or drawing an illustration for a magazine can be very similar as a drawing experience, and very exciting in a highly focused kind of way.
Photo Comp
Value Sketch
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4
Stage 5
Stage 6
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