Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Garlic Escapes

Robin Cherry is an excellent travel and food writer. She asked me to create a banner for her blog, Garlic Escapes. Its description reads "In Pursuit of Garlic Around the World, Around the Web, and Around the Corner". She writes fascinating stories relating to the history, uses, and varieties of garlic. A delicious recipe is included with each post.

 I found this to be a very tasty assignment. The unique shape of garlic came in handy when conveying  travel-related imagery. I used a drawing paper which has a texture and color reminiscent of this member of the onion genus. It was fun to create a mini-mythology combining travel and garlic. I hope you enjoy these banner ideas.

Robin travels far and wide to research garlic, so I thought a garlic balloon  would be a fun image
to convey her adventures.

Robin liked the day and night theme in this banner.
I tried to convey an old-world etching quality here.
         Robin loved this more literal interpretation of garlic escaping from the ground,
and sees it as a possible t-shirt design.  
Here's a more delicate approach.
Here's a cross-section of an 18" by 24" page of mixed-media sketches.

Please visit Robin's blog to see the banner that was ultimately chosen. 
More importantly, you'll learn a lot about garlic and find delicious recipes!

Friday, July 15, 2011

All the News That's Fit to Draw

Have you seen the new documentary about The New York Times, Page One? I'm looking forward to getting a peek inside the newsroom of a truly iconic newspaper.  This inspired me to share some drawings from a branding campaign that's all about what this publication stands for. It ran form 1999 through 2003.

Art director Sharon Driscoll asked me to illustrate ads which would promote various features of the paper, as well as home delivery.  She'd seen samples of my work which combined line drawings with collaged text.  She asked me to incorporate New York Times text into each illustration. I loved the idea of using their famously recognizable copy as an element in my drawings.

I worked with a copywriter who was adept at simple yet clever word-play. The text elements I added to each drawing always matched the theme of the ad. For example, if the business section was being promoted, I would integrate copy from the business section directly into the image. I liked how the intellectual content of the paper became part of each drawing.  Words and phrases from stories would come into focus, adding an extra dimension to each image. Sharon's clean and simple design helped each drawing stand out.

Originally, this campaign was to feature six to ten images, and run for six months. But it quickly took on a life of it's own. Over the course of three years, I collaborated on over 100 promotional ads. Drawings were also used on t-shirts, direct mail cards, new year's cards,  joint promotions with Starbucks, and even on a cow (see below)!

Given the many aspects of this project, I found it challenging to curate this post. Hopefully you'll get a sense of the fun I had creating these images.

Thanks to Sharon, Jasmine Shumanov, and the promotions department for allowing me such a gratifying experience. I couldn't have asked for a more unique palette to work with.

The concept process began as stream of consciousness doodles in a sketchbook. The page on the left contains ideas for the headline "Perfect Pitch". Many baseball and musical metaphors came to mind.

This "Perfect Pitch" ad ran square or horizontal, depending on how far the newsworthy music ran across the page.

Photoshop offers amazing tools, but for this project I enjoyed copying, cutting, and pasting the old fashioned way!

Here's an example where I simply enlarged a sketchbook doodle to use as the final art.

I've often used pages from The New York Times to wrap gifts. It might make a nice wallpaper as well?

For most drawings, I made a xerox transparency of the line art, and would use it as an overlay of the text. This made it easy for me to change the weight and size of the typographic elements.

Some ads had unique space requirements. Just as a story unfolds, this illustration unfolds.

Five drawings were used in direct mail promotions as well. I can relate to this "Personal Trainer" metaphor. My brain gets an excellent workout with this paper's help.

I love the simplicity and directness of this ad.

In 2000, New York hosted the Cow Parade. Artists decorated thousands of life-size cement cows which were displayed on city sidewalks. Along with the talented artist, Bruce Henke, I was asked to design The New York Time's entry, which was titled "All the Moos That's Fit to Print". This colorful cow stood, where else, but Times Square! Thanks to Bruce and Finn Winterson for making this bovine beauty look so vibrant.

I contributed drawings to 'new years greetings' pages in 2000 and 2001. This image was also used on a holiday card sent to subscribers.

I really enjoyed creating these drawings in black and white. In the case of this project, I think the content of The New York Times added all the necessary color.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Historic Hemp

In honor of America's 235th birthday, here's a unique portrait of our most famous founding father. Nancy Stamatopoulos from Whole Health Magazine asked me to illustrate the following quote:

“Make the most you can of the Indian hemp seed and sow it everywhere.” - George Washington, 1794

Our nation's first president grew hemp on his Virginia farm. He presumably made this proclamation because it's fiber is useful for making rope, paper, and clothing. Of course, what made this assignment provocative is hemp's membership in the Cannabis genus, making it a close relative of marijuana. It was fun to place the father of our country in a counter-cultural context. I'm curious what today's tea party movement would make of this depiction? In any case, I hope you have fun today, celebrating the red, white, and blue (or is it green?).

Here are a few ideas I cooked up for this assignment:

Happy Birthday America!