Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Walrus

I recently had the honor of illustrating the May cover of The Walrus magazine! (for my fellow Americans that may not know-- it's basically the Canadian equivalent of the New Yorker/Atlantic Monthly/Harpers.) Coincidentally for the May issue, the cover story was about Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party in Canada and the sole Green Party Member of Parliament. Big thanks to AD Brian Morgan! I absolutely love how the cover text came out.

I really enjoyed learning about Ms. May, she's an incredibly smart, capable woman, but as an independent in parliament she's got all the chips stacked against her. For the cover, they wanted Ms. May standing up & speaking from her actual seat in the far corner of the Parliament, up against the yellow curtained wall. Rockwell's "Freedom of Speech" was cited as as a good inspiration:

Since I was given a pretty specific idea for the cover, it seemed like just a matter of putting everything together in a pleasing way. I sent this sketch to Brian, and we kept building from there:
This was generally fine, but Ms. May needed to be at her desk, right against the wall. When looking through photos, I noticed Ms. May often gestures while speaking and wanted to include that.

Reworked to better show Ms. May's actual Parliamentary location & the MPs around her

I felt the image needed some warming, and Brian said I needed to adjust the likeness.

This likeness got closer, and I started adding in the specific MPs around Ms. May (and warming things up even more)
It seemed like there was some drama/color missing, so I added a shadow.
Tightening things up, and making the image more graphic. (I used a hard light layer overlay on the shadows for more saturated colors)
The final image, all cleaned up with some subtle texture on top!

I don't do too many likenesses, but this was a fun (and informative!) challenge, and I'm proud to be featured on the Walrus cover. I wish Ms. May all the best, and hope she likes her portrait!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pokemon Battle Royale!

The Pokémon Battle Royale show at Light Grey Art Lab opens this friday! Here's my Drowzee! (who I kept on my Leaf Green team almost solely because I loved the noise he made)

Apparently Drowzee is based on the looks & psychic powers of the Japanese Baku spirit: a dream-devouring tapir-like creature. Spooky! I wanted to show Drowzee in more of an environment, and although Drowzee is a primarily a grassland pokemon he is also sometimes found in ancient ruins and tombs. Paying homage to Drowzee's scarier mythological counterpart in a crumbling temple seemed appropriate!

I have a limited edition of 15 prints for sale at the show. I wish I could go, There's gonna be so much fun art from 151+ (!) amazing contributors. Check it out if you're nearby!

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Dead of Winter

Did you ever read Nancy Drew? When I was a young'un I looooved reading about her teenage detective adventures. The pulp-y covers always juxtaposed Nancy with a precarious situation or mysterious 'spooky' objects, but they had the desired effect of prompting kid-Kali to find out WHAT was "The Secret of the Forgotten City"?!

WHO was "The Invisible Intruder"?!

And what the HECK is with "The Crooked Banister"?!

I love looking at the word & image interaction in book covers and old posters, and thought it'd be fun to create my own mystery novel cover for an imaginary heroine.

Here's hoping that someday I get to make a real one! Kudos to Sam for helping me think of a title that had just the right amount of pun, and to Andrea for giving me a fresh set of (smart) eyes!