Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Connections, The Sea, and Fate

I recently completed the July/August cover for Cicada magazine, and I'm really excited to show you. John Sandford, my art director, was my first-ever art director when I worked for him at Carus Publishing in Chicago as an intern/in-house illustrator during the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college. John also happens to be an extra-talented illustrator in his own right (check out his work here!), and understands that giving an illustrator creative freedom will often yield the best results. I love doing assignments for John. There were no rules with this job-- he only told me some of the general themes of the magazine for that month: Connections, The Sea, and Fate.

I wanted to try something different. I wanted to do something epic and fantastical. I wanted to take the style of my "just for fun" Game of Thrones illustrations and turn it into something that worked for jobs. I love editorial, but I would also love to illustrate more in other fields too (hey book publishers!), and I know that I can rise to the challenge.
My sketch. After looking at a lot of nature photos from old National Geographics (from this tumblr), I got really into the idea of a ruined seaside civilization. The cover image needed to wrap around and the back cover illustration had to be relatively free of distraction so text excerpts/callouts from the book could be placed on top of the image.

I thought of the girl as a traveler/descendant come to pay her respects and meet the last remnants of the civilization. Or possibly she is the last remnant. It sounds a little bleak, but I like the idea of intrepid youths carrying on ancient traditions, and I thought it fits with the themes of the magazine issue nicely. The final:

Final with cover text & address label area:

One thing I learned-- rocks are kinda hard. Kinda easy, but kinda hard. One day I will do some rock studies.
Thanks for looking! I hope to do some more illustrations like this in the future!

Monday, May 9, 2011


Hello friends!
I've been balancing a lot of longterm projects over here (hence the lack of updates for the moment), but I do have some exciting things to share now!
This weekend my long-labored Amtrak kid's activity book debuted on National Train Day, May 7th! I haven't actually gotten my hands on the physical copy yet, but I will be doing a blog post talking about all that very soon!
Also on May 7th, my cover for the Boson Globe weekend magazine came out! Big thanks to my art director Ryan Huddle for making it all come together.

The big theme for the cover was "Equal Parenting", as recently pioneered by Amy and Marc Vachon. And when I say "equal parenting" I mean TOTALLY EQUAL. Each parent gets a share of ALL the chores, for equal amounts of time (albeit on different days) and each parent spends the same amount of time at work and taking care of the kids, etc. Visually "equal parenting" gives you a pretty set concept to work with, so my sketches were in fairly similar veins, but different stylistically.

They chose the less-graphic sketch but requested that the background just be one color and that both the parents look like they're going to work.
I didn't feel totally satisfied with it until I added a lighting element. I've been really digging atmospheric lighting lately.

And the final after Ryan laid the text out (unfortunately compressed by blogger):

I had a good time with this one, and wish I had that scarf the mom is wearing. And the dad's lambchops!