Unusual Style Experiments

Newsday, WSJ

I had a few color assignments from Newsday in March. The one above was about hunting to find a specific piece of cabinetry hardware at one of those big hardware chain stores, and they asked if I could do something a little ‘pulp’-ish, like an old detective fiction book cover. I had been studying the pulp illustrators quite recently in fact, and jumped at this chance to try and emulate some of the fun work I’d been looking at. One of my favorites of the genre was an illustrator named H.J. Ward who did a lot of covers for the ‘Spicy’ line of pulp magazines, so I mostly studied samples of his work as I was preparing for this illustration. I think I did pretty good on the detective’s face and hat, but the rest was a little rushed. Used oil pastels for this one, not quite ready to try and tackle the ‘oil paints’ tools in my software program.

Less successful was this later attempt to use the same techniques on a story about ‘staying trim while on a cruise’ for the same client later in the month. The colors I chose for the skin tones just looked way too garish and harsh, and the lighter tonal palette didn’t serve the style well.

Then I had another unusual request from the Wall Street Journal. This was a story about a new gizmo popular in Japan that was making a debut in the States, and they wanted something ‘Japanese’ in flavor, so I chose to emulate an ‘Anime’ style that my son was into at the time, also paying homage to the Japanese pop culture influence of my youth, with Godzilla in the background. Looking back,, I don’t think I chose particularly good colors for this one, I think the green hair on the girl was a mistake, perhaps something brighter would have helped it pop a little more.