As time goes on I like to try different things. Differentish, anyway. It’s a sort of a style drift that keeps things interesting for me. Lately I’ve rediscovered the pen, and put down the heavy brush line. I’ve always been grounded in line, my major influences being Steinberg & R. Crumb (More to come Yuko…) so that remains somewhat constant, at least for now.
My primary focus has always been visual problem solving; looking for an idea or image that best expresses the story that my drawing is paired with. As JC Suares always said, the best images parrallel the text with their distinct point of view rather than simply following it. For me, technique has been about finding a simple, useful visual language to express an idea.
In the nineties, I mostly used a crowquill 102 and Windser Newton half pans. A little pastel was good for backgrounds. Using three D and real objects added a fresh dimension.
In the 'oughts, I worked primarily with thick black line drawn with a brush. I used a Winsor & Newton 994 #5 which they stopped making in 1996 or so. I bought up every one I could find in the U.S. They do wear out, and I never did find a perfect replacement. Color is done in photoshop, flat, with a mouse. When I was teaching, I called it "Photoshop Dick & Jane." My students were horrified. This was a cover for The Los Angeles Times Magazine about overcrowding and alienation in Southern California. The producers of "Sideways" saw it and called me to do the poster.
These were done for Slate.com. The thick black line downloaded fast in the days of dial-up.
This is my favorite illustration from the fat line era, perhaps of all time. It was done in 2003 as a cover for The Los Angeles Times Book Review for a piece called "The Meaning of America" about the hardening of American attitudes after 911. It was originally just going to be head and shoulders, but I added more body so I just taped another piece of paper to the bottom and left the seam.
This was for the Hartford Courant for their 2013 arts roundup. I had started using textures and a thinner line in my new books for children and began incorporating it into my editorial work. It's a softer look. I discovered the dissolve setting on my pencil tool and ...instant pastel. Also, an intern threw away my mouse and forced me to work on a Wacom tablet.
This was for Slate.com rteferring to a woman's "garden of memories." It was pretty small originally, with a flat background (so they can shape it and drop type) and color on the face. I reworked it for the portfolio, extending the hair off the page to suggest a long stream of memory.
This was a WSJ piece where I got to have fun with the pastelish nature of my new "toolbox". I should probably take a course in all the photoshop capabilities, but I'm so content driven that a little bit of new technique goes a long way.
This was for The Chicago Tribune Book Review about books I should have read but didn't... I included the sketch below (mine is bigger than yours) because I love seeing them with other's posts...and also it was one I wanted to do. I did this same theme for Slate a decade ago and I used naked, embarrassed intellectuals covering up their privates with "Ulysses."
Chicago Trib Book Review again. About reading for Lent- that's where you don't eat for a month and wear a hair shirt. Anybody familiar with the painter Robert Natkin? Natkin background.
Hartford Courant, about your secret credit score. There is one that tracks your shopping and spending habits that you don't know about.
Chicago again. A book about "The Myth of Fairness". The theory is that everything is influenced by perception and choice and there is no level playing field, anywhere.
Book Review. Apparently feminists were boo koo pissed off that the new cover of Slyvia's "Bell Jar" had the '50s "my face is my fortune" pre-liberation (such as it is) message. But as I recall the book, that oppression was a big reason why Sylvia stuck her head in the oven.
Just finished this. Hartford Courant, spring cleaning.
This was for UU World magazine, from the Unitarian Church. I adore these people. The piece was about expressing your faith by sharing your love of creation and humanity.
Fifty Shades, of course, and the popularity thereof. Didn't print this sketch, not sure why.