Wednesday, December 23, 2009

LA Times Food Section Illustrations- Part Deux

As promised, here is the second part of the commission for the Food Section of the L.A. Times. It's for a great little story about mothers, home-cooking, and working class South L.A. in the 1950s. The author explains how his mother's cooking (the best in the neighborhood) instilled in him a certain view towards food. That it should be about more than filling your stomach. It should be prepared with love, and satisfy more than just your appetite. Read it here.

Given the subject matter, I wanted this piece to reflect stylistic elements of vintage illustration, especially children's books, and design of the 1940s and 50s. It came fairly easy to me, because I usually derive a lot of influence from those areas already. Thank you again to Wes, who is always a pleasure to work with.

On another note, Chris Huth from Indy Ink recently asked me to participate in a group show at the gallery. I've sold prints from Indy Ink in the past, and was happy to join in the festivities. The main stipulation was that all work in the gallery be priced under $100, to tempt people to buy real art, made locally, instead of a gift card to some international chain. For anyone with some last minute shopping to do, and interested in purchasing something made by real live human beings, right here in Denver, check out all the work at Indy Ink on South Broadway. I have three high quality giclee prints of my Loteria pieces up. I believe the show will be up through January, in honor of "Buy Local Month."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

LA Times Food Section Illustrations- Part 1

I was recently commissioned to do two illustrations for the Food section of the LA Times. They were originally to appear in the same edition on Christmas eve, but the publish date for one got pushed up. This illustration ran in today's edition, in an article titled "The pleasure principle in wine giving." You can read the article, which gives advice on choosing wines for gifts, here. Or if you have REALLY good eyes you might be able to read it from the image below.

The stores mentioned are local to the L.A. area, but the wines discussed can be purchased in many areas, if you know someone who would appreciate receiving a gift of wine. I myself am more of a beer man (good beer, like Guinness, or Newcastle), but I'm getting used to wine. Here's a closer look:

I'll be posting the second piece after it runs, I believe on Christmas eve. I had the pleasure of working with Wes Bausmith on these, who is always great. Thanks again for all the great feedback, Wes!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Loteria Self-Promo Cards

I put these Loteria self-promotional cards together a few months ago, and I've been sending them out every now and then. For those who aren't familiar with Loteria, it's a card game played in Mexico that can best be described as Bingo with pictures. They've garnered some very positive responses from the Art Directors that have received them. It's a set of four cards held in a sleeve that slides on and off. Three cards have an illustration relating to the theme I chose to address (which is environmental issues), and the fourth card is an explanation of the project. The three illustrations also have a blurb on the back giving information on each particular subject.

I've sent a lot out to local firms in Denver, but if I missed you, drop me an email ( there's a link on my profile) with your mailing address and I'll get a set out to you. Or if you don't want the cards, you can just say "hi."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Boston Globe Piece About Asperger's Syndrome

I finished this piece for Chin Wang from the Boston Globe Magazine not too long ago. It's for an essay by a man with Asperger's Syndrome, an autistic condition. The author explained in his essay the feelings of isolation he experienced growing up, due to his problems interacting with other people. He wasn't even aware of his condition until he was diagnosed as an adult, after someone remarked to him that he displayed the characteristics of Asperger's. I love working on conceptual pieces like this, and Chin was great. The Denver Egotist gave me a shout out for this one too.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dallas Observer Cover

I just finished an illustration for Alexander Flores, for the cover of the Dallas Observer. The cover story is about a Mexican woman involved in a legal tug-of-war in a wrongful death suit, after the father of her children was killed in an accident at his construction job. Before settling with the companies responsible, she was stuck in the middle of a battle between two attorneys, feuding over who was really entitled to the settlement money. A great piece to work on. Read the article here. The good folks at the Denver Egotist took notice of this piece and mentioned it on their site. They also included me on their list of recommended talent a while back, after seeing me in Communication Arts' Fresh section. Thanks again Egotist!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Paper Sons Piece

I just finished an illustration for Wes Bausmith at the LA Times, accompanying an Op-Ed piece by author Lisa See. It's a very informative story, and an interesting piece of American history. Read it online here (sans my illustration). It was a lot of fun looking at old photographs from the early 20th century, when I was researching clothing of the period. The National Archives has a digital vault online with photos, immigration documents, marriage licences, and more. You can browse through it here. And, as always, it was great to work with Wes again.

I also did an illustration for Nick Jehlen from The Progressive recently. It appears in the book review section, where Moustafa Bayoumi reviews Engaging the Muslim World, by Juan Cole, and Sowing Crisis, by Rashid Khalidi.

With my illustration, I chose to focus on the first book, Engaging the Muslim World. As Bayoumi explains, it serves as an introduction to Islam, and the Middle East, and provides a way for the West to get to know Muslim culture, in an attempted cure of "Islamophobia." I felt it was fitting to portray the book as a doorway to a mosque. Thank you to Nick, who allowed me to go in a completely different direction, after I found an old North Korean poster that was very similar to the sketch that was originally approved.

One of my original sketches focused on the second book, Sowing Crisis, which details the ways in which the US and Russia, engaged in Cold War, exacerbated the many tensions, feuds and conflicts in the Middle East. I came up with a concept of the boot prints demonstrating the mess that the two super-powers left behind, and sent Nick the sketch. Afterward, I just happened to come across this old North Korean poster, which coincidentally used the same concept. I showed the poster to Nick, and he agreed that it was too similar, and let me go with a new concept.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

One out of 5,470 ain't bad...

I received my copy of the Communication Arts Illustration Annual 50 the other day, and I've been spending a bit of time wandering through its pages. The art in CA Annuals is always very inspiring. I feel deeply honored to have one of the 207 winning projects (out of 5,470 entries), which includes work by illustrators that I've looked up to since high school (Gary Kelley, Brad Holland, Edel Rodriguez, just to name a few). This is my first time being accepted into the CA Illustration Annual (although I did have some old work exhibited in the Fresh section of the CA website), and it's incredibly motivating to see my piece alongside the industry's best talents. Pick up a copy and enjoy all the great illustration!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Boston Globe Magazine Piece

I finished an illustration for Grant Staublin at the Boston Globe Magazine a little while back, and haven't been able to post it for a while. My girlfriend, our little girl and I just moved into a new townhome, and we've been spending the last couple weeks gutting it, and renovating. The piece was for an article explaining that many people are trying to escape the bad economy by seeking another degree (with little success). It was fun coming up with a concept for this one, and I really like the texture that came out in the student's face.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Murray Tinkelman does it again

Illustrators hear the word "style" a lot. One major stress for soon-to-be illustrators during senior year of art school is finding a style (even though most illustrators' style changes significantly after they graduate, and continues to evolve throughout their career). The word gets thrown around a lot. So every now and then, when I hear someone remark to me about my style, I'm honestly a little caught off guard. To this very moment I consider myself still struggling to "find" a style. I don't have a formula for approaching an illustration assignment the way some illustrators do. I solve every problem individually, and without a preordained method for visual communication. I draw inspiration from a thousand different places. I do admit that I have a few top influences. My favorites are posters (from rock shows, to propaganda, to Polish films). But no two illustrations of mine look identical. And sometimes I worry about this. Is an illustrator's work supposed to look consistent? I mean, really consistent? That way an Art Director knows exactly what to expect. I hope not. I came across this post on Today's Inspiration, a blog by Leif Peng, and it put my mind at ease. Murray Tinkelman is the subject of the post, and it displays a few pieces Mr. Tinkelman has done throughout his career. They look like they could have been done by five different artists. "All these examples, taken from the first two decades of Tinkelman's career, suggest that the restless illustrator rarely settled twice on the same visual solution to any given problem," explains Peng. He reports Mr. Tinkelman stating in an interview in American Artist magazine from 1970: "'I enjoy variety and I try to use style in the same way a typographer uses type faces. The style is not dictated by whim, nor by the art director, but by the problem the job presents.'" I named Mr. Tinkelman, in a questionaire I answered for Communication Arts' Fresh page, as a major inspiration to me as an artist. When I was a soon-to-be illustrator, he gave a lecture at my school as a visiting artist. Now, through my monitor, from a quote on a blog, he's managed to inspire me yet again. Thank you, Mr. Tinkelman. Here's a great Tinkelman bio on Zina Saunders' drawger blog.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

LA Times Op-Ed

I just did a piece for Wes Bausmith at the LA Times for an op-ed piece written by Barbara Ehrenreich. It was a great article about unemployment in the U.S., and how Americans deal with it. The gist of it: Unlike the masses of unemployed in other countries, we don't organize in any effort to change the system. We get pretend jobs. A very well written piece, and a lot of fun to work on. Wes is one of my favorite ADs to work with. He always has great insight and feedback.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Village Voice Cover

I just finished a cover illustration for the Village Voice in NYC. I was working with Ivylise Simones on this one. I worked with her back when she was at the Miami New Times, and it was great to work with her again. The cover story is a really horrific cold case in the Bronx that's just been solved. Its a very sad story that, no matter the outcome of any trial, doesn't have a happy ending. Read it here.

I recently got a call from Joshua Kors, the author of the story. He called to compliment me on my illustration, and to tell me that he appreciated my work. I've never actually heard from any writers of the articles I've illustrated, so it was great to hear from him. Thanks again for the kind words Joshua, and keep up the good work.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Card for Sabrina Vega

Sabrina Vega, a very talented graphic designer from Austin Texas, has a blog called Sabrina: A design project. Her idea was to send out self-addressed, stamped postcards to various illustrators and designers, to let them put "Sabrina" on the card. After they were sent back to her she scanned them and displayed them on her blog. The first round of 100 cards were sent to such design legends as Milton Glaser and Gary Baseman. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that she chose to include me in her second round of postcards. She just received my card and posted it on her blog.

Here's the card that I sent to Sabrina. I noticed that everyone else was writing the word "Sabrina," so I thought: why not show it in sign language? Check out Sabrina's blog. There are a lot of really cool cards. Thanks again, Sabrina!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Communication Arts Illustration Annual 50!

Last week I was informed that a recent piece I did has been chosen to appear in Communication Arts Illustration Annual 50. I've been looking at Communication Arts magazine since art school, hoping to one day get the chance to grace the pages of its Illustration Annual. Its an incredible honor to be included in this publication, and I'm looking forward to seeing all the other work when it comes out in July.

This is the piece that will be in Communication Arts Illustration Annual 50. It's a personal work that reflects my feelings towards people that use their religion to justify any act of violence, no matter what faith they subscribe to. It's mixed media on vintage book cover.

Monday, April 6, 2009

SND Award of Excellence

The first piece of news I have concerns an illustration I did for Wes Bausmith at the LA Times last year. As visitors to my website may already know, I received an Award of Excellence from the Society for News Design for the "Wrong Turf" piece I did. It's a great honor to be recognized by the SND. The illustration was for an Op-Ed story about the author's neighborhood, and its persistent gang problem.

Thank you for the opportunity, Wes!

What's one more blog?

Having realized that operating my own web page didn't sufficiently propel me into the 21st century, I've decided to join every other person in the world and create a blog. I'll be using this blog to share illustration, news, and thoughts and opinions with anyone who cares to look. The "News" page on my website will probably be phased out in time, as this will be quicker to update. Enjoy!