Where Did September Go?

Barrons, music, self portrait, US Catholic, WSJ

Blink, and you miss it. September has come and gone, and it seems we have gone right from late summer to leaves turning and chilly temperatures. I had a few short vacations this past month, and I’m also in the thick of a couple book projects, so the time has sort of gotten away from me. We had a nice time up at the Wheatland Music Festival early in the month, and then we had a beautiful week in Ireland during the middle weeks, but here it is the last day of September and we will be starting the fast downhill ride into the holiday season before long. In the meantime, I have a few projects to share. The illustration above was one that I did for Barrons last week, and below is an illustration for US Catholic that I finished around the same time. (both of these came in during the Ireland trip, so I was very grateful for the flexibility of both these clients in giving me a little extra time on the deadlines)

I’ve also jumped headfirst into the two aforementioned book projects and hope to have them squared away in a month or so (contractual obligations won’t let me share any of that work until publication). Last Friday afternoon, however, I got a quickie rush job for the Journal (I believe it was the quickest I’ve ever turned around a job of this size), and it was a shame I only had an hour or two from start to finish, as I would have liked to put a little more work into this one. Normally, I would have done this sort of thing in Scratchboard, but the time constraint forced me to work in a much more expedient style. (pictured below)

Also, in my last post, I promised I would share a photo of the ‘contraption’ that I help decorate this past summer for the kids hill ‘musical instrument activity’. Below is a photo of myself, and the two engineers who came up with this device (which takes a tin can and crimps it to be used as a washboard — the gears and mechanisms are all contained in the box in front of the handlebars, which is powered by the child sitting on the bike, and just for fun it is also covered with horns and bells and whistles to make the whole process a lot more fun for the kids).

Summer’s end and the Holidays are right around the corner

Jukejoint Handmedowns, Llewellyn, music, self portrait

Well, another summer is at an end. Spent most of the past week working on sketches for another large book project, and am hoping to have the remainder of it done by next week. Devoted Friday to working on the latest Witches’ Companion book cover for Llewellyn (I’ve done these for the past 6 or 7 years, and they are always challenging and fun, while still maintaining a similar look and feel from year to year).

Also found time this week to work up a quick birth announcement stork, since my bandmate Nate had his first child on Thursday. And since the band is starting work on a Christmas EP to hopefully have completed by this Holiday season, I started work on a layout for the CD cover. (I’m hoping to actually have this one done as a photo, but this is the layout I’m hoping to achieve — the back cover will be the same grouping from the back, and the guys will be holding matching gift wrapped bourbon bottles)


animation, Jukejoint Handmedowns, music, self portrait

For the past several weeks, since I did that last animated video for my band, and have been making preparations and test clips for my next film project, I have been beating my head against the wall trying to improve the quality of the final product as it appears on YouTube. I was convinced that there was something I was doing wrong on my end with regards to the uploading process or with the way in which I was constructing the animation. This past weekend, I have discovered Vimeo, and it has been a revelation. The quality is so much better, and much closer to what the original looks like when I am working on it here at home. So anyhow, not that it probably matters to anyone but me, here’s the past two animated JJHD music videos in HD on Vimeo (I’d recommend taking the link to the Vimeo site to see them at full size rather than playing them here on my site)

First, the most recent film “Oh So Blue”:

Oh So Blue JJHD from Tim Foley on Vimeo.
And, the forerunner, and the first one I attempted last fall, “(not a big one)” — the quality on this one was not as big an issue, since I drew it at a much smaller size to begin with:

(not a big one) JJHD from Tim Foley on Vimeo.

Oh So Blue

animation, Jukejoint Handmedowns, music, self portrait

Had a rather slow week, but things have picked up for the coming week. I took advantage of the time to finish up an animated video project I had started last October. This is the second full length video I’ve done, based off of songs from our Jukejoint Handmedowns CD release ‘Everything But the Squeal’. This one was a bit more ambitious than the first film, with several ‘set pieces’, an actual ‘storyline’ of sorts, and a more complicated drawing style than the ‘quick sketch’ style I employed previously. I’ll be started on the next video soon, since we are hard at work on our follow up CD, and we should probably have a video to coincide with the release. I’ll likely need to ramp it up a further notch for the next one.

Old Home Week

animation, Barrons, Jukejoint Handmedowns, music, self portrait, WSJ

It’s been a long quiet summer, so it was nice to hear from three of my ‘regular clients’ this week following a long absence. Of course, it has been a long time since I’ve done this sort of quick turnaround concept driven material, so I felt a little rusty at first, but it was a comforting feeling to get back to work at the sort of projects that I’ve come to think of as being in my ‘sweet spot’.

The illustration above was a piece for Barrons on the defense budget, and below is a quick turnaround weekend assignment from the Wall Street Journal (which came to me while I was accompanying my Dad to one of his chemo treatments yesterday afternoon).

Back home in Grand Rapids now for a few weeks, as the first round of chemo is done for now and the next will be taking place after a few weeks rest.

In other news, ArtPrize has started up here in Grand Rapids this Wednesday, and for the first time, I’ve entered something in this annual competition. I normally wouldn’t have, but this was a group decision to enter a song in the new ‘song category’, and is entered on behalf of the Jukejoint Handmedowns. While I write half of the material for this group, and my partner writes the other half, the members decided to take a vote on the one song that would be entered, and it just happened to be one of mine. I was thinking of different ways of promoting the song, and the idea of an animated music video came to me this morning. I decided to devote much of my time today to working on trying to put together a full length animation to accompany the song entry. The animation is rather quick and sloppy (mostly because I wanted to get it done while I still had time to use it for promoting our entry), but this has given me a confidence boost, such that I may attempt a more ambitious project in the future.