Merry Christmas (part 1)

December 22, 2011

A holiday still life for The LA Times Food section. Mmmm, holiday food…

Mr. Armstrong Returns Home

December 14, 2011

This one goes out to my Texas Transplant, Clay Rodery (who still owes me a Joker painting!)

Saturday Evening Post

December 9, 2011

I had to work on this job between turkey dinner, the 49ers game, and desert during Thanksgiving. I always get a kick out of working for the Saturday Evening Post because of it’s legacy for illustration- it’s no secret I have an affinity for the golden age.

Despite it’s simpleness, I really enjoyed making this picture and was surprisingly pleased with the result; I’m not going to lie, when I got the approval I thought to myself “oh, that sketch?”. It wasn’t a question of art director’s judgment, it’s just that I normally get hired to draw full figures.  Regardless, I think that may be the reason I am excited about it; the stripped down and direct message. It accompanies an article about the depletion of our nations munition supplies and is meant to play up the idea of the old war propaganda posters from the 40’s.

thanks!

To my fellow dog lovers…

December 6, 2011

I wanted to express my thoughts about a recent project I had the pleasure to work on. In the current issue of Spirit Magazine writer Christina Kelly tells a true account of her chance encounter on a commercial flight with a Military Dog named “Lucky”. The story of Lucky is really nothing short of heroic. It’s a heart wrenching read (aren’t most stories about dogs?), not because it’s sad, but because of the constant reminders of the stoic loyalty and unique bond a dog can bring to someone’s life. It just so happens that this story is backdropped by war, certainly escalating that emotion.

When I was first contacted about the job my interest was immediately peaked by the mention of “military dog”. I knew dogs served a role in the military, but I had no idea to what extent that service was. After further discussion it was apparent that this service member  was special. As a dog lover and long time owner myself (family dogs count right?) I was excited, but also incredible nervous to tackle the challenge of doing this  emotional story justice. To take that responsibility one step further, Lucky’s journey isn’t just simply about him, but also about the very special soldiers who served as his handlers. I respect anyone in the military, but In my opinion it takes a unique type of solider to be a warrior in the battle field, but also a trusted friend and loyal partner to his dog- no matter what. A lot is asked of these K-9 soldiers and, unlike humans, we can’t just sit down and talk to them about it. How do they perform under pressure? How does it effect them? Do they even want to be there? Because of that, in my view, a dog’s heart will always be pure and his intentions honorable; no questions asked, no signs of fear, just do the job.

To make the pressure worse, it became evident that this article is not just simply about Lucky or his handlers. It also highlights many other aspects of what it means to be a K-9 for the United States Military. There is a very interesting history of military dogs, some of which is quite sad and downright immoral, to be blunt. During the Vietnam war, service dogs were considered “equipment” and left behind in the jungle because it was “too expensive” to transport them home; another dark smudge on a war that had many. Things have drastically changed since that time, but in some sense I still felt as though the artwork (and story) honoring Lucky was beyond just him. It was more a summation of all the service given and all of the dogs who sacrificed themselves to save human lives and do good-will around the world on our behalf.

My family has been rescuing dogs for many, many years, If my count is correct, somewhere around 9 total (peaking at 6 in the house at one time!) so I understand what it means to give a dog a second chance. It was incredibly special to read this account of dogs who can do the same thing, be it on the battlefield or at base camp for us humans.

The story is beautifully written and extremely informative at the same time. When approaching illustration assignments I always try to bring something more to the “conversation” than the text provides. I suppose this is still the case with this story,  however my only real goal was to give honor those people, like Lucky and SSgt. Martinez, for their contribution to our country.

 

I encourage all of you to read the full article here.

 

Thanks for reading.

Flora/ Fauna

November 21, 2011

A student recently asked why I draw so many animals and plants and my answer, to the best of my understanding, is that it’s what was around when I was growing up. I only mention that because here are two new images that involve both! Shazam, I guess the student is on to something!

First image is about having luck in the workplace and was for “your favorite illustrator’s favorite publication*”. The second is for a fun project from some designers in Germany. My job was to visually interpret a quote (go figure) from a German musician which will then be screen printed and sold on t-shirts. That’s the short version of the project, for more information go here. My design will be available in the next 2 months, I believe.  I took the opportunity to make a full on painting and then translate it to a screen print friendly version. The quote is “I am the horseman”.

I should probably thank my studio mate for this. She did a painting of some flytraps that has been staring at me for the past 9 months. I couldn’t help myself…

Fallen Star

November 15, 2011

The United States…kind of like a celebrity having a career slump…

Hello, Welcome

November 9, 2011

xoxo

 

WAR AND POLITICS

November 8, 2011

Hi Webby…

Ah, two pieces that seem fitting to post next to each other I’d say. First, an image for The Utne Reader about a new video game set to be released in which the gamer is not actually a soldier but a “media guy” filming the action. The second, an illustration about memories from one of Nixon’s early speech writers; a very interesting article that I really enjoyed working with (Penn Gazette).

I wonder if war based articles will start phasing out now… my guess is no.


Currently working on…

October 26, 2011

For the sake of too much blog neglect and not enough time to get back on top of things, I wanted to at least quickly share the drawing I’m currently working on.  Mum is the word of which client it is for. Stay tuned!

September promotion

September 28, 2011

This image, “Shallow Waters Ahead”, has been up on my website for a few months, but I wanted to take the time to write about it briefly now. Earlier in the year I was given an assignment to illustrate an article about the treatment of elderly creatives by their respective industries and peers (*in Canada). In summation it’s not good. The article focused on the lack of opportunities given to older artists, be it musicians, performers, or fine artists despite their long history of success and attention; Maybe obviously they are moved aside for younger talent and fresher faces.

The article only called for one illustration, but after reading the text I couldn’t help but find a great deal of inspiration for visual content. What started as one image for the magazine eventually turned into a three image series of work highlighting the plight of the singer, the actor, and the painter (you can find all three on my website).

Inspiration! (Sorry Norm)

I usually follow a strict rule to never make art with an artist (painter) as the subject matter; It seems too ironic or maybe just lame in my opinion. However, because this narrative was so specific to the artist I felt it was necessary and legitimate to depict the painter. In conclusion, the story here is that the artist’s “ship has already sailed” and now he is being left behind, beached on dry ground.

Also, as you can see I decided to use this image as my latest promotion swag. A crisp 18″x24″ poster. Double sided none the less! If you received one, I hope you enjoy.