Something Nice from the Postman

Barnes & Noble

Received my complimentary copy of ‘A Skeleton at the Helm’ from Barnes and Noble today. Very nice looking book. I also see that it is now available for purchase at their online site (link here). One of the nicest looking books I’ve ever been involved with, with gold foil lettering, and is definitely finding a permanent home on my ‘nautical shelf’ in my library. Below is another look at the original illustration (which loses a little bit in the corners due to the round cropping for the cover usage).

Storm Clouds

ABA, Barrons, WSJ

The recession was dominating the workload during the second half of February. I had a couple large illustrations for The Wall Street Journal’s ‘classroom edition’ (pictured above and below), and also had a small spot on the global market the following week (pictured below left). For the same client, I had another of my regular ‘health care column’ illustrations, this one on stress tests (pictured below right).

The illustration below was for Barrons, and talked about how analysis of the economy is lagging behind current trends and technology.

For the American Bar Association, I had a book cover illustration assignment, with 5 portraits of early women lawyers. Some I had good reference for, and others I had to do a little guessing on. It will be interesting to see how the final product turns out, as the designer was talking about possibly doing some sort of duotone treatment.

The quasi-cartoon illustration below was for a Los Angeles magazine for Niche Media and talked about our addiction to poll results. I was worried initially when I submitted my sketch, thinking that it might be in poor taste, but they seemed to like it.

Besides the day to day work pictured above, I also had a few large projects that were ongoing throughout the month of February. One was a book project, which if I’m not mistaken will be hitting the shelves in another month’s time (at which time I’ll be elaborating on the project, and posting some samples — meanwhile, it looks like you can pre-order copies on Amazon, link here). The other project is a rather involved board game assignment where I am providing artwork for the game box, the sides of the box, the game board and several game pieces and cards. I’m having a lot of fun with this, and will hopefully be hitting the shelves this xmas in Finland. This one is still in progress (although nearing completion) and I should be able to post some samples next month (I’m particularly proud of how this is turning out).

Super Bowls and Writers Conferences

ChronicleHE, Niche Media, WSJ

The above illustration was for The Chronicle of Higher Education that I did earlier this week. This was about a writer’s conference taking place in NYC. I had read the article on Friday, hoping that two days of ‘sleeping on it’ would give me some ideas, but by Monday morning sketch time, I was still pretty stumped. Drawing buildings is not my favorite thing in the world, and I wasn’t sure exactly ‘where’ in NY this conference was taking place, so drawing a particular set of buildings was going to be problematic. I did two concepts, one more traditional with a street scene, a taxi and nondescript tall buildings in the background, and then the idea hit me to do the one that eventually got chosen, replacing the buildings with stacks of books.

The finish, this time, was probably influenced by a lot of the older illustration that I’ve been looking at recently, digging through my archives for this weblog. I was struck by some techniques that I used to use with scratchboard that I have lately abandoned for a more tightly rendered look, and tried using something similar to that in the rendering of the books, and then I went for some of the more recent style for the figures in the foreground. The only thing I was a little disappointed in was my color choices, which I thought were a little drab.

A week or so ago, my wife asked me to draw her up a ‘pig’ for an upcoming school function (pig roast, bbq dinner fund raiser), so I whipped up the illustration pictured above to the left.

The illustration to the left was a Super Bowl Sunday piece on the markets for the Wall Street Journal. One of my favorite black and white pieces I’ve done in a while. The spot illustration (above and to the right) was for the same client, for a regular health care column that I illustrate on Tuesdays. (face color evaluations was the topic)

Earlier in the month, I had a larger color assignment for the same client. This one was on copper pipe price fluctuations and China’s undo influence on them as a market indicator. I had another sketch that I preferred to this one, and may finish it up on my own when I get some free time.

And then finally, I had a caricature of a rapper named JayZ for Gotham Magazine (Niche Media). I didn’t know who it was, but my son offered to play some of his music for me on his iPod.