Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bad Teacher

Thanks so much for all the kind responses for my 1200 poster!! In contrast to that epic project, here's a recent quickie-- I have an illustration out in this week's New Yorker! I had a weekend to make an illustration based on Cameron Diaz's new movie "Bad Teacher". Jordan Awan, my art director, just wanted it to be a fun image showcasing Cameron & Justin Timberlake.
My sketches:

And final!

Justin's likeness gave me a little difficulty (he's just like a generally good-looking guy!) but overall it was quick and painless and fun and summery! I've been working on a lot of assignments with long deadlines, and sometimes it feels nice to just bust an image out in a few days. I do think it was pretty neat that I was drawing a sexy woman spraying herself with a hose for the New Yorker, of all magazines. Thanks for the opportunity, Jordan!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

1200 Posters!

Meet my new favorite drawing!
A while back I was contacted about contributing to 1200 posters--a project about community that features a new artist & poster each month, using quotes from Margaret Wheatley's "Turning to One Another".
I haven't had a chance to do a poster in a loooong time, and Robyn Ng & Greg Kozatek, my art directors, were pretty open to whatever idea I wanted to draw. (woohoo!)
The poster is limited to an edition of 100, only $25 each, and you can read more/buy/check out the other posters here! In my artist statement there I talk a little about the importance of the illustration community (which includes you guys!) & some of the ideas behind my poster.

If you are interested in hearing me ramble more about process, read on!

The quote I was given:
"Invite everyone who cares to work on what's possible"
This put me in mind of intrepid adventurers, and since the theme was so open I ended up deciding to try and combine a lot of the stuff I love into one image:
*Secret, hidden places
*Trees, plants, moss
*Old-timey explorers
*Birds, why not

My brain-funnel turned these things into an idea for a floating island/garden. Anytime I think of floating islands I think of Laputa (which is fine with me since Miyazaki is a god) but I figured that since the comparison would likely be drawn I definitely wanted to make this MY island with my spin on it.
The corresponding sketches:

Also, in a fit of worry that my floating island didn't fit the theme well enough & people wouldn't want to buy a poster of a sky rock, I did some sketches for a pretty girl poster too:

BUT Robyn & Greg liked the island and suggested that the type be integrated more and that the island look more like a nest that a bunch of people (and birds!) have built. So, we came to these options:

The sketch that was decided on takes some elements from each-- type in the background fields, thatching around some areas of the island, and some more homey touches like a clothesline, windows, etc.

From there I tried to work out a color sketch, which is probably one of the most important stages for me. Because I don't render out a lot of things in my work, I feel like I have to get the colors JUST RIGHT or else the image won't stand up. Also, since I work entirely digitally, once I get the color sketch right the rest of the work for me is just refining/polishing/redrawing straight in the color sketch until final.

This poster taught me that green is a heckuva difficult color to use well, and there's a reason why I don't often use it! Just a real pain. At least it feels damn good when you finally figure out a usable solution. Here's the general progression of the color that took me several embarrassing days to puzzle out:

no way



I got pretty frustrated along the way and ended up looking at examples of other people using green well, then I extrapolated for my own purposes. I use reference for my drawings all the time, it makes sense to use color reference too.

As difficult as it was figuring out how to put a green island on top of green fields in the background, I was really happy to be drawing those background fields. They remind me of my family, some of whom used to be or still are farmers in Illinois. Another something I love in a poster full of things I love!

Anyway, here's a shot of the piece when it was aaalmost done. You can see there's some areas yet to be completed-- upper right, floating rocks, roots, text, etc. With this piece I did a lot of skipping around to ensure everything was worked up around the same speed:

The final is up at the top. Here's some closeups:

WHEW. While working on this, I realized that I need to work on drawing interesting characters, I don't feel as inspired drawing people anymore. Maybe it's like when every 7 years your body's cells totally renew and your tastebuds change? I've switched over to only wanting to draw backgrounds. Weird.
Thanks for reading, pals!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Doughboys and Doughnut girls!

Happy National Doughnut Day, everyone!

I was catching up on my doughnut facts while I ate my free dunkin donut, and discovered the Doughboys and Doughnut Girls (also called "Doughnut Lassies") of WWI!
The Salvation Army sent their 'lassies' over to serve doughnuts and coffee to the homesick soldiers in the trenches (later called doughboys for their fondness of aforementioned treats). I couldn't resist doing a quick little doodle between all my REAL work. Enjoy your doughnuts!