April 15, 2014
It’s been a very fortunate year for series. Quite a few assignments this year have been for multiple illustrations. My favorite part of doing a series is getting a feel for the project and finding a “voice” which connects the illustrations but still offer enough variation. This series for American Educator magazine was for a feature titled “The Mind Shift in Teacher Evaluation”. It is about a rethinking of the process of teaching and the profound effects the shift has on education. I used arrows as a playful approach to represent this “shift in direction”. Thanks to Michelle Furman, AD for letting me take a fun approach to the feature.
April 8, 2014
As every illustrator knows, working with a daily paper like The Wall St Journal can be like a Top Chef challenge with the tight deadlines. You need to make something good looking and smart within a very tight window. Dan Smith and I have this down and it’s always satisfying when finished. He had an article about CEO’s choosing their successor which is a great topic because it is about forming another person who reflects yourself.
This was a happy instance where AD and illustrator agree which sketch is the best. I felt the chosen sketch nailed it both conceptually and graphically. Number 2 would have been great for a more humorous approach. Number 3 would have worked fine too but the success depends on execution to make it more interesting.
April 1, 2014
It has been an interesting trend for the flow of work in 2014. Projects have ranged with assignments from magazines for multiple illustrations per issue to various cultural events, branding, and an animation collaboration for The Impolite Genteman. For some reason, quite of few projects have required a very horizontal format which were assigned even before the series of 100 cards for Moo.com. At first the extreme format was a struggle but have finally unlocked the code for making this work with my head. Now it has become a very fun challenge.
Here are a a couple of the fun horizontal images this year:
1) DBusiness Magazine: Global reach of US automobiles. Kathy Moore, AD
2) Smithsonian Magazine: Let’s talk about Language, Erik Washam, AD
Golf World Magazine: Words with Friends on Tour. Jennifer Corsano, AD.
March 25, 2014
2014 has been a pleasant surprise with requests from more publications for a series of illustrations for a feature. It’s enjoyable for me because it’s like creating a mini story with images. Here is part 2 of the series done for Experience Life Magazine about misinformation in the food industry. The main theme is a disturbing about of research make public about food that is actually marketing for giant food industries. The main concept which needed to be conveyed was the conflict of interest. Lydia Anderson was the art director and it was fun collaborating with this series.
March 18, 2014
I was joking to a friend I was smarter before the internet because there was less noise cluttering the brain. Turns out this is a big problem for consumers who want to have healthy eating habits. There is so many conflicting news stories and reports about nutrition and it is made more difficult by deceptive reports about food. Experience Life Magazine had me do a series of illustrations for a feature about being a smarter consumer of information regarding nutrition. Thanks to Lydia Anderson for commissioning such a fun project.
March 11, 2014
It’s always a treat to work with SooJin Buzelli at Asset International. One would never think a financial client is a place where you can push yourself creatively as an illustrator but this is exactly what happens at Asset International. This illustration was for an article about putting your retirement planning on autopilot. The extreme horizontal format was a format which was difficult in my earlier days but these days I really enjoy playing around with it. This was created for PlanSponsor magazine.
For some reason, it took me a couple of attempts at the final before I was happy with a version which I felt was SooJin-worthy. It was a classic case of an idea looking better in your head than in reality. The first attempt didn’t work for me because it didn’t feel playful enough and the image does suggest an amusement park type of metaphor.
Tried another version adding more colors but it looked fragmented or pasted together.
Started channeling some of the great european illustrators from the 60′s and early 70′s and finally hit on the winner. The final version in print made me very grateful the third time was the charm.
March 4, 2014
Editor Emily Potts called with a fun project to create a custom set of 100 mini cards with rounded corners for myself as part of a campaign by Moo.com to have creatives from many disciplines showcase the possibilities of their mini cards. It is amazing how easy it is to customize cards these days and it was fun collecting, reediting and cropping images from past work to create a cohesive collection.
Here’s an interview with Emily on Rockpaperink about the cards.
Client: Moo.com Editor: Emily Potts
February 25, 2014
Hélène Le Cannu from TITA (an advertising agency in Milan) contacted me for a fun project for La Scala In Famiglia which is a series of performances meant for children. I was asked to create an image for a piano accordion style guide for the opera, Lucia Di Lammermoore. The main concept for the art is Lucia as a tour guide guiding the audience through the opera. To make this idea work, I approached the composition with characters and elements as toy figures in miniaturized set. It was also fun to finally see my characters with facial hair. Much thanks to Hélène and TITA for a fun project.
Poster and Guide for Lucia di Lammermoore. Agency: TITA srl (Milan)
February 18, 2014
Emily Potts called with a fun project from Moo.com. They wanted me to create 100 unique images for a 100 set of mini business cards with rounded corners to showcase their ability to customize. An article and interview about the cards and process will appear soon but Emily was kind enough to let me show a preview. It was fun and I did feel a tinge of sadness when the project was complete.
Much thanks to Emily and Moo.com.
February 11, 2014
Dan Smith from the Wall St Journal called with an assignment about companies getting on board with big data. Seems like they see other companies using big data and they are scrambling to get on board so they won’t be left behind. As a child my biggest worry was being the last to know if the other kids were doing something fun so this was a very easy concept for me to create. Come to think of it, many of my concepts are probably rooted in the dynamics of the playground.
February 4, 2014
Very welcome and surprising news came from CA that one of my pieces has been accepted for the 2014 Illustration Annual. I used to read CA in high school and it was a big inspiration for a student finding his way. This is probably the toughest annual to be accepted so it’s always exciting to hear good news. Here’s a great post by Upper Case Magazine’s Janine Vangool about her experience judging the show.
The illustration “Who’s afraid of black swans?” was for an article about risk for Morningstar Advisor Magazine. Alex Skoirchet is one of my favorite directors and we have a nice collaborative process. Since I’m a bit of a financial geek, I really wanted to draw a black swan since it is a term for financial disruption. Risk is about fear so the image of being afraid of monsters at night seemed perfect.
Here were other options for risk. The literal monster could have worked but obviously I’m thrilled Alex picked the swan.
January 28, 2014
The Chronicle of Higher Education and I go way back and it is rare to have a client for the life of a career. They were my first client and we have worked together ever since. It has been satisfying to watch the Chronicle grow in stature and see their articles selected for many of the aggregate sites I read.
This illustration for Art Director Scott Seymour was for an article about the retreat of US university education from an international scope at a time when the world is becoming more interconnected. What makes this even more distressing is US universities historically were leaders in an international view on education, especially during the 50′s and 60′s. The idea behind this was playing on the fear of being left behind.
January 21, 2014
Tim Carr from Golf World started 2014 requesting a series of illustrations about advances in using statistics to improve the game of golfers. We have worked together since the Golf Magazine days in the 2000′s and have played many rounds together. Since I have been accused of having a single handicap swing but a mid handicap brain, this assignment might be the cure for my golfing ills. Growing up in a family of scientists also made this project fun. Maybe the next time Tim and I play, the brain will finally match the swing.
The illustration was originally a full page before Tim decided he needed a spread.
The focus of the spots were various aspects of the golf game which can be examined and the sometimes surprising results which can be discovered.
January 14, 2014
Planet Yang is off this week but will be back soon. We’re keeping an eye out for pirates so you will be safe.
January 7, 2014
Watched a little football playoffs this weekend and one team’s success was attributed to chemistry between quarterbacks and receivers. They know each other so well the quarterback knows where the receiver will improvise when a play breaks down and the receiver knows where the quarterback likes to throw the ball. Art Director SooJin Buzelli and I have a similar relationship. It is uncanny how many times she picks the sketch I’m most excited about doing without any prompting. This was an illustration for PlanSponsor about how generation Y is learning how to adjust to the ups and downs they have confronted with the economy.
The sketches were ideas about the ups and downs generation Y has to endure. My gut said sketch 2 was best but any of them could have worked depending on the emphasis of the story. SooJin read my mind and picked sketch 2 but it is not uncommon for us to like the same approach.
We should really think about taking our mind reading act on the road.