Another foray into traditional materials: Louie CK portrait.
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Maja made Norwegian Christmas buns last week.
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Currently in Stowe for the holiday break, spending lots of time around fireplaces.
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More posts to come soon.

 

Another study in analog materials.

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Inspired by an article on the temptations and potential risks/benefits of purchasing pharmaceuticals from China.

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Fun with masking fluid, less fun with bleeding colored inks, albeit salvageable. Makes one appreciate the perfection that is india ink. While I have my gripes with calling one way of working a style, it’s worth mentioning that if I did believe in styles, this way of working is not it. Using the word “study” earlier was very deliberate.

Another project I’m working on is a rework of the United States. I ran into Etzel Pearcy’s proposed 38 states online and thought I could pare things down a bit and had a little bit too much fun doing so. The Map below is in consideration of geographical elements, some cultural divides, population density and distribution of major cities. All states are named after Native American tribes associated with the area. Chinook and Costonoa meet right at San Francisco Bay, and Algonquin and Iroquois are split at D.C. / Chesapeake bay. The remaining states are Mohave, Navajo, Lakota, Menomini, Seminole, and finally Apache, which should look familiar.


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I’ll be blogging progress on my own hand-drawn map, state by state

Also, I was introduced to the art of gingerbread cookie making for Christmas this year. Here’s my cultural contribution.

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The pieces below were an experiment in completely de-digitizing layers I would normally implement on a computer. Lots of planning and lots of masking fluid. Exercises like this really help you rethink how you approach the computer.

And a few snapshots… A view of the Hudson while on a train down from Poughkeepsie

Breakfast today: Blurry yogurt with cumin and fennel, a poached egg, chili oil. Orangette inspired.

 

This is partly just a test run right here, but I’m going to resume the blogging once more. I’ve been in Brooklyn for some months now, as well as spending some time in Vermont with my family. The Brooklyn apartment is wonderful, with one of my favorite studio spaces I’ve ever had. #alttext#

#alttext# Obviously this photo was slightly altered, but that is the real backyard in Vermont. It’s an amazing place, everything has this rustic grace to it. It’s always hard to leave when I go up.

So I’ve been rethinking a little bit how I could use this blog, and I partly think that part of the reason I fell out of favor of using it was I never really committed to any sort of structure of how frequently I would post. I’m planning now to make this a much more regularly updated effort. Expect to see more sketches, doodles, works in progress, and other creative efforts and more writing here than before. Ideally this will have a somewhat more personal nature to it, in comparison to my main site.

Here’s a piece I had done a while ago for some writing done by Zeke Turner. #alttext# More to be posted tomorrow, bed for now.

 

Got issues of both PLANADVISOR and PLANSPONSOR in the mail today.
First is “Hot Off the Presses” – one of my favorite pieces of late. The more drawings with vegetables and birds that I can do, the happier I become.

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(click the image for a higher res jpg)

Next is a spot for an article “Qualified Success?” The headline I worked with was ‘keeping steady in the midst of chaos’.

steadychaos.jpg Big thanks to SooJin Buzelli. Working with her really brings out the best in illustrators, and it's simply a pleasure going through all the fantastic artwork in PLANSPONSOR & PLANADVISOR.
Here are the initial sketches:

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…and a closeup of linework in progress.

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Here are a few pieces I did for the Wall Street Journal last week.
This first set was for a column by Gregory Zuckerman titled “How to Play the Bubbles Like the Pros” about the ins and outs of economic bubbles.

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I couldn’t have been happier getting such a fun assignment like this. I’ve been looking at a lot of old comic artists recently and I think that gets reflected in these characters.
I find that with assignments that focus on characters it’s really important to explore a lot of sketching. Mostly for myself, just to figure out how they’re going to be stylized. Here are a few sketches that didn’t make it, in various stages of roughness.

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Afterwards the AD and I worked out some final concepts, deciding that the bubbles shouldn’t be grounded, and to forgo the money floating in the bubbles.

This next piece was for “Reducing Emissions, and a Guilty Concience” which was a survey of several companies that vend carbon offsets at varying levels of effectiveness. They do a variety of “green investments” including new energy research, reforestation etc. The headline I worked with was “offsetting your carbon footprint”

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Here’s one sketch that’s a little unlike me, but I’m still pretty fond of. I definitely can see how it would be a little silly for this article though.

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Big thanks to the AD, Mark Tyner, for the commissions. A great guy to work with.

 

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Here’s a recent illo of mine of the musician Feist. Been doing a lot of experiments lately with printed and drawn media and combining it digitally. It’s an interesting process, allowing me to alter elements on the computer as much as I want, while maintaining the texture of original materials.

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I enjoyed how some of these layers came out on their own. This layer’s on a Japanese printing paper.

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I went back to using a rapidograph for the line drawing. I approached it much more like a sketchbook page. This was liberating at first, but in hindsight I feel it’s a little busy. Moving forward I want to focus more on really simplifying the design of illustrations at their very inception rather than trying to simplify in later stages.

An interesting feud transgressed this week between the illustration community and a CBS-affiliated blogger who used a copyrighted painting of Chris Buzelli’s (easily one of my favorite RISD professors) without permission. I think it’s a pretty worthwhile issue to link to. You can get a pretty good sense of things from Buzelli’s blog post and the comments. Probably the most troubling thing is that, besides being a little extra stubborn, this sort of issue really isn’t that out of the ordinary. At least one be proud seeing an entire industry rally in support of Chris.

 

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This was my first large format piece for the Saturday Wall Street Journal and I’m pretty thrilled with how it came out. These quick turnarounds are getting to be quite fun.

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The article reviewed three different books on marriage counseling; beyond this common thread all three books were actually pretty different, covering a wide spectrum of marriages. When sketching concepts I tried to focus more on the process of repairing, without necessarily showing an outcome.

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Big thanks to the AD, Susan McDermott, who was fantastic to work with. I’m really happy with the direction the piece took and how it looks on the page.

 

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I’m getting so forgetful with blog posts!
This was a piece I recently completed. It’s a revision of an older concept about the possibility of using of cloned meats in restaurants. The final became an exercise in restraint. At first the colors just weren’t working; really local and over-saturated. Eventually I just started eliminating huge blocks of color, letting the paper show through.

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Simplifying my palette, especially where you just see drawn line on paper is so satisfying for me. I think I’m going to try a few pieces where the color is used even more selectively in the near future.

 

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Last week I got a call from the Wall Street Journal to do an illustration for the Sunday Journal personal finance column. I’ve been a fan of the design and artwork on the WSJ for years and it couldn’t have been better working with them.

So why a black swan? Well, as I’ve recently discovered, black swans are a metaphor used by statisticians for “the existence and occurrence of high-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations” such as the recent financial collapse in Greece. Scott Patterson’s column was about learning from the mistakes of “quants” (or quantitative analysts, essentially mathematicians who play the stock market like a game, and we partially have to thank for the 2008 crash).

Some initial sketches:

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As evident from the sketches, the piece was going to be a smaller spot, but as a pleasant surprise, got bumped up in scale significantly while working on it.
Big thanks are due to the AD Mark Tyner, who was really great to collaborate with.