Monday, December 26, 2011

Musical Mares

You never know what to expect from your next illustration assignment.  I certainly didn't foresee interpreting a horse as a singing star on Broadway! But thanks to John Van Cleaf, art director at Rutgers Magazine, this became reality. He asked me to illustrate a story about horses who've had roles in famous musicals. I'm no expert on Broadway, but it was fun to assimilate an equine element into some familiar theater posters. Who knows, maybe my next assignment will be drawing Birds of the Bolshoi Ballet?

It's time for equestrians and thespians to unite,
and support the musical mares of Broadway!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Brave New World

Our technological world is evolving rapidly, forcing publishers and writers to think outside the box (or in the case of this drawing, inside the box). This illustration for Rutgers Magazine accompanied a profile about alumnus, Dan Blank. His business helps authors and publishers navigate the shifting terrain of technology; E books, Tumblr, kindle, ipad, twitter, etc. Such a service has great value in this "sink or swim" economy. I hope you get a kick out of this illustration and the ideas leading up to it, which interpret traditional writing  with a modern twist!

Writing from the perspective of the virtual world.
An old typewriter cranks out html code.

An old-school scribe writing on an ipad.
A traditional writer dives into ipad-pool.
Edgar Allan Poe, a raven, and an ipad.

Here's a mock-up of the artwork in context.

A special thanks to art director John Van Cleaf, who consistently assigns me with fun projects!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Home Amongst the Trees...

This residence is nestled right at the entrance of the Catskill Forest Preserve in the Hudson Valley. I drew this portrait for the owner, who's a true lover of botany. Whether drawing inside or outside of this home, I was constantly reminded of its beautiful natural surroundings. No doubt, this is a feature the owner appreciates.  I've read that David Hockney does extensive drawings of his home environment to gain a deeper understanding of it. That's great advice for anybody who loves to draw! I hope you enjoy this virtual tour..

{ If you see the world as beautiful, thrilling and mysterious,
as I think I do, then you feel quite alive.} 
- David Hockney

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Investment Inventiveness

The Wall Street Journal has taught me much about investing. I have great teachers in art directors Orlie Kraus, Sheryl Dermawan, and Jia Baek, who give me enlightening assignments about various funds. This story is about a conflict among companies who offer ETF's (Exchange Traded Funds). Certain funds under this umbrella are leveraged, causing greater volatility. Some companies, namely BlackRock,  feel these leveraged funds should be reclassified as ETI's (Exchange Traded Instruments). Hence, the 'F' in my drawing is being sawed down to  look like an 'I'.

In order to to interpret investment concepts clearly, it's important to doodle lots of ideas on paper. You literally need to think through your hands. Here are some sketches for this story:

Once I was able to see this 'saw' concept on paper, I was betting the editors would go with it.

Here I wanted to create conflict between pencil and eraser.

Here the idea of reclassifying certain 'investment vehicles' creates a confusing traffic pile-up.

Fund managers literally battle over the F in ETF.

A tug-of-war over a letter in an Acronym.

"The F goes!" "No, the F stays!"

This post inspired me to compile some drawings I've created for Orlie, Sheryl, and Jia  over the years. I hope you find some value in these investment-related illustrations:

This story was about the reaping the fruits of dividend funds.

This spot accompanied a year-end quiz about mutual funds.

This image attempted to illustrate the flow of closed-end funds.
This investor is getting a lesson in municipal funds.

When it comes to investing, losses can sometimes lead to savings.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bambi...or Beezlebub?

This drawing for About Town accompanied an article about the polarizing nature of deer; animals adored for their Bambi-like appearance, and despised for the diseases they spread (as well as gardens they destroy). It must be hunting season, because I just heard gunshots as I posted this!

Having been afflicted with Lyme Disease, I could certainly connect with this story. Here are a few subtle ideas I submitted to the editor:


Is this creature a friend, a foe, or just a doe?

Monday, November 21, 2011

James Fergason, Inventor of LCD technology

James Fergason (1934 - 2008) invented the improved Liquid Crystal Display, or LCD. His contributions to technology resonate strongly, especially when I think of my first calculator or digital watch. IT company Softmart asked me to create a portrait of him for a calendar celebrating great innovators of computer technology. Art Directors Ray Gedeon and Dan Zuena were fabulous to collaborate with. Even though the new year is still a month away, their beautifully designed calendar  sits prominently on my desk!

 Below are some of portrait ideas. It was fun to integrate this inventor's likeness with various elements of LCD technology.

The art directors liked this dry-brush approach, but asked me to replace a recent reference
to Mr. Fergason with a younger reference.

This idea presents James Fergason from behind technological curtains.
Here I played with the idea of putting the inventor's name in LCD lights.
I was commissioned for this project based on portraits of in my portfolio of a some other innovative historical figures:

Thank you James Fergason , for your important contributions to modern technology!

You can view my new illustration website here!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pick-Up Sticks

Did Hurricane Irene create havoc in your neck of the woods? My town was fortunate to be spared serious damage. In the aftermath, I was picking up debris on my property, and imagining what to make of the mess. I decided to branch out (so to speak), and integrate my new stick collection into some drawings.  I hope you get a stick, uh, I mean a kick, out of these pics! More important, If you were affected by the storm, I hope life is back to normal.

This was inspired by the fashion of a Highlands tribesman, Papua New Guinea
I revisited a trusty dry-brush technique (with Sumi ink) for these drawings.

The sticks helped unify seemingly disparate images.
I taught this drawing how to fetch!
Oh deer!
This primitive narrative was inspired by Indiana Jones films!

"A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease." ~  John Muir

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Deep Down Local

This portrait appeared on the cover of About Town, a publication that's geared towards my Hudson Valley community. It accompanied an essay which asks "How long must you live in a community before you can be considered a true local? " five years? ten years? a lifetime? generations? That's a tough one to answer, but I certainly find illustrating local themes helps me feel more connected to my home turf.

This accompanied a story about Mohican Indians who once inhabited my town.

About Town's editor, Paul De Angelis, has been assigning me with fun projects for over thirteen years. It's been rewarding to collaborate with area writers, and learn about the history of my town.  The drawings posted here all incorporate local maps into their content. I hope you enjoy them. More importantly, I hope you enjoy a meaningful connection to your community!

This accompanied a story about a local burglary crime-wave.
If I ever get lost, this local map comes in handy.

This cover image accompanied a story about the 300th birthday of Germantown, NY.
Here's a link to About Town.

 I'm curious if you feel like a true local in your community?

You can view my new illustration website here!