Sunday, January 31, 2010

Drug Facts Action Pack

A few months ago, I was asked to create a few new illustrations for an anti-drug workbook to be used in classrooms. It was really just a series of ink illustrations to accompany the text in the books. I had done work on a previous edition back in the 1900's, and they needed some new drawings to refresh the updated version.

There was a snag though- after I submitted the initial pencil sketches, I was asked to revise them slightly to better match the original batch of drawings I did.

I did this initial group of drawings when I was about 17. Now, twelve years later, I had to go back and try and draw more like I did back then. This wasn't too difficult but slightly humbling... imagine having to forget some of the stuff you learned in the past decade, and present that as your new work. I still think I gave the project the quality it deserved, though.

Here are some of the older images (1997), for reference:


Friday, January 29, 2010

Winter Fun!

Today I thought I'd go through the steps of how I created the illustration for our company Christmas card. My boss has a bit of a twisted sense of humor that he only occasionally makes known. Two years ago, we sent out a card that depicted a dog who had just marked his territory on a snowman. My boss LOVED it. So much that last year, he insisted we continue this theme with a cartoon illustration:

This year, I drew up a few designs for the new card. Since it is a corporate card and we can't make any references to religious holidays, Snowmen make good, reliable secular characters. Here, the snowman is using his carrot nose to get the dog to pull his sled:

Unfortunately, one of our biggest competitors uses the dangling carrot motif in all their marketing. I was asked to change the image:

As you can see, we completely lost the joke here. I decided to add some more flair to the illustration and eventually salvaged it by incorporating the whole scene (detail below):

Notice the mysterious yellow mark behind the snowman. The inside joke continues.

I made a few other images that remained unused, but I still felt had some merit.

Salt melts snow, you know.

I love this one... the look on the guy's face on top of the mountain kills me, I don't know why. He's so oblivious and satisfied with himself.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why not just dive in

So here we are, my first post. I felt like I had to start out with some brilliant mission statement or something, or an illustration that sums up what I am all about. But if I waited for that kind of inspiration to hit me I'd never get anything up here.

The purpose of this blog is going to be just to put up the latest little sketches I've been working on, maybe talk about the state of things.

So let's see, what's in the news... ah, here we go- the "Late Night Wars- Part II". We all thought we'd seen the last of our villain, 13 years ago...

I know, he's not really bad. But for the sake of the current narrative, it feels good to have a guy representing "the man" we can all revolt against in defense of our boy.

In reality, Conan is not REALLY one of us... he's a Harvard-educated multimillionaire. But he has that against-the-grain rebelliousness we can all relate to. And, we've all had a boss who treated us like crap we'd like to stand up to. It's also pretty striking that a guy with so many original ideas, as well as a huge fan base, can have his career sabotaged by a bunch of executives without a creative bone in their bodies... but that's the way things tend to go these days, isn't it.

These guys are all so ripe for caricature. It was almost too easy, especially in Jay Leno's case. I probably could have pushed the exaggerations a bit more... maybe for a later post.

But, Conan will be back. And not only his fanbase is now bigger than ever, but I think he's proven to the networks that he does better when he's allowed to be himself... to cleaned up to what said executives think audiences want to see. I think he'll do better next time around.