Each year Mark Tocchet, the Chair of Illustration at University of the Arts, organizes a card pack promotion that's used to bring attention to our department and graduating students. One of the faculty illustrates the cover, and the inside features some of our graduating Seniors. In the past there have been some great images created for this by Tim Bower, Tom Leonard, Jonathan Barkat, and by Mark himself. This year, Gina and I were invited for the honor. Having met in art school, she and I think of it as a pretty magical place. We tried to capture some of that in the painting we made for this assignment.
Sending this off reminded me of the great batch of students I had this past year, and I hope this illustration serves as a worthy tribute to them. Here's a few exceptional ones I hope you'll check out: Brian McQuilkin Grace ONeill Kayla Miller Dan Kelso Rita Carroll
I'm pretty lucky to have an awesome studio mate and buddy, and it's her birthday this weekend. Happy Birthday Martha!
Martha was nice to me before I was an illustrator, when I was just Gina's date at illustration parties. This meant a lot because I had so much respect for the totally ballsy work she did for clients and galleries. Martha's originally from Philly, and she'd come back here to visit her dad and step mom a few blocks from our place. That gave Gina and me the chance to hang out with her outside the usual AI, ICON cycle, and we all grew close through a mutual love of smiles and the occasional dirty drawing. Needless to say, we were super psyched when Martha moved from Pasadena to Philly to attend Penn's MFA program.
This was right around when my daughter Juniper was born and Gina and I had to cut down on going out. We were happy to have a buddy for nights of wine and whisky around the dinner table. Martha would tell us crazy stories about what an Ivy League fine artsy crit is like (and I'll take a conference call with 4 advertising guys over it any day btw) and we'd try to make each other laugh.
After she graduated, Martha and our photographer friend Andrea were looking for a studio mate to share a storefront in our neighborhood. Gina and I have always worked at home, and I had a pretty good set up here. I reluctantly moved my stuff over there to try it out, and it's been awesome ever since. Martha's pretty fearless with her artwork, and there's always something new going on in her space.
She had a mega studio back In LA with Mark Todd, Esther Watson, Calef Brown, Souther Salazar and Saelee Oh. I'm not sure Andrea and I can fill those shoes, but I hope we keep things fun enough.
Zimm's renewal mail came through last week, and I realized I had just sat all of 2012 out on Drawger. I'll dive back in with a little process on a book Gina and I recently illustrated. Cherlynne Li from Simon and Schuster brought us the new book by Daniel Wallace who had written Big Fish. She liked an illustration we'd done for Starbucks and Wieden + Kennedy, and felt like something like it would work here. The new book, The Kings and Queens of Roam, is sort of a North American take on magical realism, set in a town that is part harsh pioneer town, part mystical dreamland. The plot centers on two sisters, and culminates on a rickety bridge above a wild gorge with a magic stream at the bottom. Cherlynne asked us to stick to this scene, so we happily narrowed our focus to variations on mood and composition. We started off with a few rough thumbs that stayed between Gina and I, and now you.
Then we moved on to this batch of sketches we shared with Cherlynne. One of the novel's themes is a coming together of Chinese and American characters. This was a perfect excuse to blend the traditions of landscape painting from both cultures with a little of what Gina and I do.
She gave us the go-ahead on a composition, so we went through a few color variations before we all agreed on this one. The novel's pretty dark, and we were heading that way with the sketches. There was worry it'd be too dark, so we went a brighter direction.
Then we were on to paint. This is the type of stuff we'd do on our own, so it was a pleasure to bring it to life.
After sending the job off, I got to spend the night in a magical gorge of my own. Now I have lots of new reference for the next time I get my Hudson River school on. Hope to see you around here more frequently!
Gina and I started keeping a studio with our friends Martha and Andrea. This painting has been sitting around it so I could noodle between projects with Gina. I haven't yet had the chance to play much with depth of field, structural forms and pattern in this way with the collabo work, and this was a nice little diversion. Not scanned yet, so these are some snapshots. Now back to work on the real stuff.