I've been buried in book deadlines, and I've been missing Drawger. It's funny how editors ruminate over layouts and sketches and then everything is due all at once. I'm clear for awhile, so I'll be digging through all the fun posts. The book work has been really fun, but you're never really off duty until the entire book goes to press. That's a later post...
The lovely thing about editorial is that it's finite. One or two pictures and out! Done! Here's some of my more recent editorial efforts...
For The Wall Street Journal. Ron Plyman, AD. for a philisophical article on a man's changing outlook on life.
Back to school night... Slate.com
This was for the Chicago Tribune about a nurse's life experiences. The hardest thing she ever experienced was a dying baby who no one was able to save.
Chicago's Black Clergy struggle with the idea of gay marriage... Chicago Trib.
This was for The Wall Street Journal about a Writer's workshop on the Amalfi Coast, Italy. Christine Silver, AD.
Selected drawings from a series in Marquette Lawyer Magazine about individual paths in education. Douglas Frohmader, A.D. This was fun.
Pro bono piece foe my daughter's school..
Fear of hospitals... the editor wanted a screaming woman, so that's what they got...Slate.com
Shadenfreunde: How we love to see the mighty fall. Chicago Trib.
Collaborating Poets. Chicago Tribune
Feds allow joint tax filing for gay married couples. New York Times
As long as were doing flags, here's a sketch for a drawing on Obamacare for Saturday's NY Times.
This is the one we're running as a second spot.
This is a sketch that I'd like to have done....
This is what we're going to run. Sometimes just a simple, direct image tells the story- Health insurance choice with Obamacare. James Best, A.D.
My new book, Linus the Vegetarian T-Rex, was released today. I had a lot of fun with this from the character design to the painting... I used a textured background over an ink drawing and layered color on with photoshop. In some of the spreads, I scanned some real plants, and I used special brushes that I made from plant drawings to fill in some of the jungle.
My editor on this is Andrea Welch, Beach Lane Books, Simon & Schuster. I started with the idea that Linus was just too friendly to eat his friends, which really upset dinosaur expert Ruth Ann. Later, he saves her from the velociraptors because, after all, he is a big T-Rex. It went from very dramatic and wordy to the more subtle and simple version that we finally published.
Cover, of course.
Here's Ruth Ann, she's big on museums...these are from my raw files, so the type's not on.
Ruth Ann knows everything about dinosaurs. When she happens across a new exhibit and goes through the curtain, she meets Linus...
He invites her to LUNCH...
"Um, what's on the Menu?" asked Ruth Ann.
"That depends,"said Linus. "Let's go hunting!" First Linus attacked...
Some yummy Broccoli! Then he pounced...
Several pages on...I added a little type to these spreads so you could see the story.
Lauren Rille, my wonderful AD, used Souvenir, very elegant. This is Cambria, what I had at hand....
Ruth Ann's not real happy with Linus.
"You're supposed to be..."
Linus saves the day without actually eating anybody.I figured I needed a car chase or something. The working names for these guys were Nasty & Stinky...
All's well that ends well.
didn't use this...
Andrea and I threw all kinds of dialogue around.
Ruth Ann hollering at Linus.I thought it was fun to use the teeth as a chopper...this was changed in the final draft.
I print the final pencils out in blue on watercolor paper, and ink directly on them. The blue is discarded after scanning. This is how comics were done- blue pencil that the old analog cameras couldn't see.
Here's a detail from Linus's journey.
And another. I named the triceratops after my neighbor, Ellen, because it's fun...
Back cover. Many thanks to Lauren Rille and Andrea Welch at S&S for all their great work on this book. The design, color and printing is perfect.
This was one of those really nice preliminary drawings that we cut. We found a place for it on the title page....
Linus was pink for awhile. Why not? He's a different kind of dinosaur.
Good Morning! A few weeks ago I proposed that us Drawgers could exchange prints of our work, especially children's book art, for our various charities’ fundraisers. Well, Steve Kroninger, Rob Dunlavey and Leo Espinosa stepped up and contributed signed prints from their books plus a signed copy of the book. I had them framed and added one of my own. We put them in the silent auction for our school’s Spring Arts Fair fundraiser, a fairly small event. The event brought in more than $37,000 - grand totals are still out...with almost $2000 coming from the framed prints. Great work, guys, and a warm thank you from The Weilenmann School of Discovery!
Weilenmann is a public charter school, K-8 !
Presenting the prints to our principal, Mary Kimball. Steve sent me three! Two of which I'm saving for the big fundraising banquet in November. With the proper vintages, we could push the bidders closer to the four figure mark.
Rob's was accompanied by a signed copy of the book in French!
Here's Leo's of Otis and Rae...nicely paired with the book.
Rob's- This was very popular- my principal wanted it, but when the bidding got past $400, one of the parents snagged it.
Here's Steve's. This sold for over $600. it was a beautiful print, large format. I'll frame the other two as a pair and put them up at the big event in November.
Here's a better bad picture of Steve's.
Here's mine. The signed book is a nice addition, especially for a school or library fundraiser. I printed up resumes of each artist as well, to give some background. "New Yorker illustrator" is nice, although Kroninger took the cake with "Solo exhibit at MOMA..."
Thank you, Rob, Leo & Steve for supporting these kids!
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.