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Going Digital

OCTOBER 15, 2014
In the last few months I’ve been all digital.  For much of my career I used pen and ink and watercolor, later brush & ink- the rougher the better, with color added digitally. Winsor & Newton stopped making the 994 series brushes a few years ago and I never did find a replacement that I really liked. I scoured the country online and by phone and bought up every 994 that I could find. Eventially, the laquer in the ink breaks them down and they wear out…
     I was tallking to Leo Espinosa one day and he showed me a variety of digital brushes- Kyle Webster’s for starters, and I started using them and exploring what can be done by altering their characteristics and combining effects.
   As always, everything I do starts with problem solving, so the idea behind the image is most important to me with technique supporting the idea simply and directly.
  That’s my editorial approach. Of course, doing a picture book, if the story calls for full blown watercolors, throw the computer out the window and get out the paints.
Usually, It’s somewhere in between.
This was a back Cover for Live Happy Magazine, a new venture that you'll find in Whole Foods and like stores. I subscribed. We do enough death and disaster.

Death & Disaster department: Urgent books to read this year about the various crises threatening the vary existence of humankind, etc. For Chicago Tribune Book Review.

This is a combination of brush and digital- the sketch was done with a brush in my sketchbook, and sometimes it's just impossible to capture the energy of the sketch in the final. So, with photoshop, one can just draw on top, leaving the best parts. 'Yelling is the New Hitting", Wall Street Journal.

Here's Vlad. I don't often do caricatures or portraits, but people commission them anyway and Putin's easy. When I worked for Time, I'd just cut out a photo of a head and stick in on a crudely drawn body, the rougher the better. Always thought that was hilarious. This was for Jenny Livengood, art director, National Journal.

This was for Slate, and it was a piece about the difficulty of dating when one has a past history of mental illness.

Also Slate, if you've been there, you know this drill.

This is for David Syrek, Chicago Tribune. I gave him two options, one with a color background, and one with white. I used to feel awkward about this, but if both options work, choice is good. He knows the printing and the colors on the page. Let the art director direct.

Slate. Because it's online, I'm going simpler and bolder with Slate, almost icons. This is about the futuristic toilets they have in Japan. When I do presentations for my kids books, I show this (and others) to the children as my day job. They howl.

This was a piece for UU World Magazine, for the Unitarian Church. Great people. It's about how all women feel threatened by unwanted advances from men, and how hard it is to tell a harmless nuisance from someone really dangerous.

Barron's. One of those deadly pieces on changes in mutual fund management. I get these all the time. Challenging.

Here's a tear from the NYT Business section. I do this column every week. Playing with the digital brushes, I'm flirting with more of a sixties look. I've looked at Ben Shahn and other mid 20th century illustrators for their use of bold line and bright color. It's been really fun.

This is from the Times, using dollar collage again, but hopefully in a fresh fun way. I included this because I liked the line quality.

Older drawing, done of my wife as a birth announcement with the old 994 brush. I do miss it sometimes, especially it's freshness. Digital is slower and more deliberate. To a certain extent, technique determines style, so new ways of drawing are opening up as I explore this new toolbox. Thanks, RN