Monday, April 28, 2008

Sneak peek at my next Blackbook directory ad

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Every year since 1991 I budget to advertise my illustration work to art directors, designers and advertising art buyers in the various illustration industry directory books. My promotional ad page(s) can been seen in multiple directories each year. Sometimes, but not often, I will simply use an existing illustration that was created for a client, but usually I create a new image to function specifically as the self-promotional ad...
Posted here is a sketch (top) and the final ad page art (bottom) for the upcoming BLACKBOOK illustration directory which will be published and distributed to about 18,000 art directors, designers, art buyers, etc... in October 2008. The sketch was simply done in Photoshop using flat colors... the final piece was painted in gouache, scanned, then enhanced in layers in Photoshop. It was Earth Day when I created this image, so I wanted to somehow inject the image of the world... after a lot of doodling thumbnail sketches, I came up with the image of a large silhouette of a woman with the moon and stars within her shape... then it just seemed to make sense she would have a handbag in shape of the earth. The final art has subtle texture which is lost in this 72dpi version. Look for the print ad in the October BLACKBOOK.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Chef Mario Batali

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In my neighborhood here in Manhattan, I'm always seeing celebrities, if not literally nearly bumping into them at times. (a lot of movies and TV shows are filmed in this area) Usually, like most New Yorkers, when I spot a famous person, I do a double-take... but never bother them. On my street alone I have seen Edward Norton, Matthew Broderick, Liv Tyler, Julianne Moore, Ellen Barkin, Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Sam Waterston, Drew Barrymore, Benjamin Brat, and many others. A couple days ago I spotted the American chef Mario Batali. (from "Molto Mario" and the "Iron Chef" cooking shows on the Food Network, and of course all his books and wonderful of which, Babbo, is very close to my home) The close proximity of this popular restaurant probably explains why I saw him walking toward me. 

Now, in this instance, with my younger brother being a chef and a big fan of Mario I decided to summon up the gall and ask for his autograph, to give to my brother. But as we got closer, Mario started talking on his cell phone, so I aborted the autograph quest and just said, "Hi, chef Batali." He gave me a nod in response.

When I got back to my studio, I did this quick caricature of him... though, I made him look sweet. In reality, at that moment, he had an intense game face on... Maybe he was hammering out a contract for a new restaurant. Anyway, he looked like he could have snapped me in half like a twig, and I am glad he elected not to. 

I've illustrated quite a few cook books, and hundreds of food related images for magazines... so, maybe some day I will get to illustrate one of Mario's cook books. (and then I will make sure to get his autograph!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Banner image for the ICON5/NYC web site

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The Illustration Conference ICON5/NYC 2008 used a detail from one of my illustration images within the banner space on their web site home page (announcing the event information for the conference this year in New York City in July). The wonderful illustrator Isabelle Dervaux in San Francisco was involved with their site design, and asked me to contribute an image, which I was happy to do... mostly because I am a big fan of her illustration work!

Animation Character Design Samples

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When I first graduated from Parsons School of Design years ago (now named Parsons/The New School for Design) I immediately began working as a freelance illustrator, but was not quite getting enough assignments to meet all my bills, so I also got a job as an “in-betweener” for the animators at a commercial animation studio in NYC, Perpetual Motion Pictures. At that point I thought my career would advance through animation, as I really loved animated films and had studied animation at Parsons under instructors Howard Beckerman and Randall Enos. (it was pre-digital days... my student film was done the “old fashioned way” with cells and background paintings, then shot on film using a vertically mounted camera) But after a year working at the animation studio I started getting so many illustration assignments that I quit the animation studio to concentrate just on illustration and have not looked back.
Recently I created about a dozen or so "animation character" samples on my web site, two of which I have posted here on the blog... for the purpose of catching the eye of an animation director or producer and getting back into animation by doing some character design. I'll see what develops!

Icons for The Hollywood Reporter re-design

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Creative Director/designer James Reyman and his team of designers (Reyman Studio in New York City), recently finished the complete re-design of the film and TV industry publication The Hollywood Reporter... and I had the fun assignment of creating 13 small icons of the various industry award statues, which will be used in the magazine in conjunction with reports about these specific award events and winners. The Oscars, Emmys, SAG Award, Palm d' Or, etc... They were created in Adobe Illustrator... then the Reyman Studio placed them within a design template with a color background. Posted here are a few of the 13.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Wall Street Journal/Wine Notes

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I've created illustrations for the Wall Street Journal for many years... mostly as the designated illustrator for the Finicky Traveler column. Now I have become a regular illustrator for their Wine Notes column, working with art director Ketrina Hoskin, which is proving to be great fun. I have been creating food and drink related images for magazines, cookbooks and advertising for many years, so this is a nice continuation. Here are a few samples of the spot images from The Wall Street Journal's 'Wine Notes' articles...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sneak peek at an upcoming advertising campaign...

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Art directors and editors in publishing who only know me through my children's books are not aware that the majority of the images I create are actually for advertising and editorial projects, and the art directors I work with in those areas are not aware I also write and illustrate children's books... 

During 2007 I worked on an advertising print campaign (I cannot give the name of the client until the campaign goes public)... consisting of a handful of ad images which were to begin appearing in about a dozen different magazines in spring 2008, but has now been pushed to a new launch date of September 2008. The second stage of the project is to be a multitude of related "collateral" imagery used at all the company's point of sale retail locations: signs, large wall images, kiosk graphics, etc... Posted here is a sneak peek at one of the print ad images without the ad copy, of course.

Below the ad is an image of “dancing chefs.” This food related image was done several years ago for installation as a ten-foot high wall graphic in the food court area of the new Convention Center in Washington DC. It was this "dancing chefs" image, used in one of my promotional pieces, that was seen by the creative director at the mystery company and prompted him to contact me to create the images for his upcoming print ad campaign.

I've never seen a bad drawing by a child!

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Kid's drawings are always innovative, mysterious and cool... Posted here at the top is a page from my picture book Coco the Carrot (2005), which depicts Coco making herself a new hat. Just below is a drawing done by a young fan of the story, Zoe Gordon, who created her own delightful version of my illustration for her book report class. (I am sure she received an A+)
Some of my picture books have been translated into Chinese, Korean, Arabic and German! So, maybe I am inspiring a wave of new artists and writers around the world! (which is precisely the message within Coco the Carrot -to be creative and not afraid to venture out into the world.) Visit my web site to view samples from most of the children's picture books I've illustrated.