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!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Food for Thought

Have you ever kept seeing an image in your mind's eye, and were compelled to find a way to honor it? That's how this series of drawings got started. I won't say much about them, other than it was fun to play with pastels, charcoal, and other mixed media. I'm curious about what you think.

"Haddock" - Mixed media on butcher paper

"Jumbo shrimp" - Mixed media on butcher paper

"Flounder" - Mixed media on butcher paper

Monday, August 15, 2011

Literary Landscape Logo

Recently, my daughter and I attended a Rosanne Cash concert at the Bard College Spiegeltent.  Her excellent performance was a benefit for the Red Hook Education Foundation (RHEF). Upon arriving at this event, I was surprised to find the logo I created for this organization emblazoned on a stage banner. It was a thrill to see my work displayed in this intimate setting.

The goal of RHEF is to support our local school system in ways that a typical budget may fall short of. One volunteer, Julia Crowley, remembered a logo I created in 1999, for a charter school we attempted to start in conjunction with Bard College. She asked me to update it to represent aspects of education they focus on; science, agriculture, arts, etc. Red Hook is nestled along the Hudson river, so I incorporated a stretch of water into the drawing. It was fun to give new life to an older image.

The original Bard Charter School logo I created in 1999.

You can learn more about RHEF at

Thanks to Andy Wainwright, who's photo captured the singer and her guitarist-husband so beautifully. You can see more of Andy's work at

Rosanne Cash is well worth seeing in concert. She has a world-class voice, and really engages the audience with her warmth and wit. Along with songs from her catalog, she also covered Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and sang a few beautiful renditions of her father's classics.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Red Blazer Girls

I'm thrilled to own the newest Red Blazer Girls mystery, The Mistaken Masterpiece, just out in hardcover. In January 2010, Kate Gartner at Random House asked me to illustrate covers for this fabulous series. It was fun to collaborate on a project that's geared towards middle school readers. Each book is about a group of 7th graders who attend a Catholic girls school in Manhattan. When they're not doing homework, they run a detective agency, searching for missing items of great value. Every story is like a treasure hunt, where the brainy sleuths must solve literary, mathematical and visual puzzles to locate the missing artifact.

Each cover has a similar design. The coveted object in the title is highlighted in a colorful circular drawing. Mystery and intrigue are emphasized in a reverse black and white drawing below the arch.

Reading a 300 page manuscript can be a daunting task for an illustrator. But the author, Michael Beil, writes thoroughly engrossing books. My daughter Abigail and I are both big fans of The Red Blazer Girls series. Can't wait for the next installment!

It was fun to visualize the authors description of this mistaken masterpiece.

I used a parchment paper background for the Vanishing Violin artwork
I researched medieval-era Christian jewelry to design this ring.
Here's one design direction I explored for this series. I scanned the fabric from my own red blazer to create the background texture.
Kate liked the boldness of this reverse black and white style.

my very first audio book cover.
My daughter put this Red Blazer Girls book in its proper context!