Thursday, December 18, 2008

Royal Bank of Canada

To see all my illustration portfolio samples, visit
A handful of years ago, through SPUR Communications (in Kansas City) David Svet, Creative Director, I worked on a CD-ROM project for the Royal Bank of Canada's insurance and annuity division. It was an advertisement/tutorial using the story line of a couple making decisions regarding their retirement plans.
I created many vector images of the characters and backgrounds in Adobe Illustrator... then the production designers implemented them into a flash program to minimally animate the images for the CD-ROM. I thought I'd post them here now, just to show examples of images created digitally on my Wacom Tablet in Adobe Illustrator, because my web site portfolios does not show any image samples created in this manner. (Most images I create are drawn & painted, scanned, then compiled in layers in Photoshop with additional digital modifications.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Secret Golf Graphics (Shhhh!)

To see all my illustration portfolio samples, visit 

Anyone who knows me, is aware that I love to play golf. (Not today, of course: it's 37 degrees and raining!) I grew up playing golf as a kid in New England... and even won my State Golf Association Junior Amateur Championship when I was18 years old at the Equinox CC in Vermont. I then went off to design school in NYC, graduated from Parsons School of Design, and worked as an illustrator for a handful of years in NYC. Then, burnt out from everything, and the city... I ended up living in Connecticut and became an assistant golf professional at The Yale Golf Club (Yale University's golf course in New Haven, CT) and an apprentice in the PGA (Professional Golfers Association of America)... passing their required PAT (playing ability test) and going through their first stage of business school. After a few years in the golf world... I then went back to being an illustrator for my career again. The “golf years” segment of my life seems like a million years ago now... but was so much fun.

A couple of my golf buddies here in NYC are also illustrators: James Yang, and Annette Vasilakis. Annette took a photo of me swinging a club and integrated it into one of her photo/illustration assignments for a sports publication (see first photo posted at the top, which is accompanied by a photo James took of me playing the 18th hole at Bethpage Black Course). Now, I usually play golf once a week... though not nearly as well as I did when I was in younger, but I still love it. When I'm not too busy with my illustration assignment work or children's book projects, sometimes I take a little time and experiment with creating golf related images, just for myself. 

The images posted here are not ones I ever show, because they are not consistent with my “career” illustration style. They are just for my own enjoyment as an expression of my interest in the game, and it's history. The 2nd and 3rd images from the top are details from a national golf architecture design competition I entered a couple years ago. The bottom two images are: a small painting I did of Ben Hogan practicing, and a drawing of Sam Snead entitled ‘Original Smooth.” is a clip of me at the practice range, hitting a 3-metal draw.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Doodle Power


To see all my illustration portfolio samples, visit 

Doodling, like singing in the shower... is an uninhibited act, because there is no one around to try and impress. The best doodling, I feel, occurs when you are simultaneously talking on the telephone or watching television. Or in a classroom. (I remember my high school chemistry class. At the end of the year I gave my teacher 119 pages of doodles I had executed during his class. I think the gift raised my grade from a C to a B!) The distraction of listening to something while you doodle helps it to be an unselfconscious expression. 

Doodling is different than sketching. Most sketches are executed with forethought, or intention toward developing an idea or image to a more evolved stage either for yourself or for an art director. (eg: having an idea for a painting and conducting a series of sketches to fine tune your image toward the end result) But a doodle, in comparison, is like improvisational just begin making a mark, without quite knowing or caring what it will become in the end, and the brain is so lightning fast that once the pen line starts moving you instantly form an evolving opinion of what you will “draw” and spontaneously direct the form accordingly. Suddenly you have made a face with an expression, or a character in a pose, etc... 

The doodles, shown above, were culled from pads and throw-away scraps of paper (on which I do the bulk of my daily doodling!). Numbers 2. and 5. above (the boy wrapped in green leaves and the other image of the weird looking fellow in pink) were probably done when I happened to be standing at my drawing table, had access to watercolors or colored inks, and this is why they look more “rendered”... but both started out as lines and marks that simply grew into an image without any pre-planning. (it's funny that the character at the top of number 4. kind of looks like a teenage George Bush!) I chose these images because they all depict “people,” just to give this posting a theme... but I should have also shown a pure classic doodle consisting of just odd shapes, objects, swirls, and abstract graphic marks!

Doodles help to clear your head, or expand your creative process... and actually, over time, help move an artist's style into new directions. One certainly cannot be bored while doodling. The doodles I have posted here are rather conservative images (edited for adult content!) ... because of the fact that I write and illustrate children's picture books (which have been translated into four languages). So, I have many young readers visiting my web site (to which my blog is linked), hence I must tone down anything appearing in my blog, too! 

Last word. Everyone should doodle. It's fun and therapeutic!

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Long Way to the Bottom? (aka: caught on the slope)

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Here is one of my recent e-mail promos I sent to AD's at newspapers, magazines and corporations... It is actually an illustration I did a handful of years ago (and subsequently was showcased in a "techniques" section of Step-by-Step magazine, discussing the simple Adobe Photoshop layers technique employed in placing the scanned stock report in the background of the image) and seemed relevant to the current state of our economic situation, wondering how much further all the financial indicators will fall, or if we have already reached the "bottom."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Picture Book... “sketch-to-finish” stages

To see all my illustration portfolio samples, visit 

Here are five sequential images (from one spread in Pantaloon), briefly showing the stages I must go through when bringing a picture book illustration to life. What is not shown are the multitude of preliminary character sketches of the baker I must go through between steps 1 and 2. 

See previous posts for more information regarding this new picture book, Pantaloon, created for Golden Books, and will be released in 2010. Roberta Ludlow/art director, Diane Muldrow/editor.