Sunday, December 30, 2012

Rutgers Rules!

When I think of New Jersey, the first things which come to mind are The Boss, The Soprano's, Long Beach Island, Governor Chris Christie, and...Rutgers University. Judging from the variety of stories I illustrate for their alumni magazine, this dynamic school has much to offer our society. The drawing above is about a campus 'living-learning community' which aims to 'encourage the aspirations of female engineers by allowing them to live and study together, and forge nurturing bonds.'

For a story about the eradication of brown stink bugs in New Jersey.

On another end of the spectrum, the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers is studying methods of eradicating the brown stink bug, which is severely damaging crops in the mid-Atlantic states. For this drawing, I had fun depicting the Garden State as a leaf.

For a story about Rutgers community outreach in Camden, N.J.

Rutgers Alumni are always finding ways to support local communities. As an example, the Law School sets up free 'Ask a Lawyer' events in Camden. The Ben Franklin Bridge serves as a backdrop in this drawing.
Here are examples of the weird ideas that come to life in the sketch process:

Ideas for Living Sleeping Science.
Ideas for Getting Rid of the Stink
Ideas for Good Neighbor Policy

Thanks to John Van Cleaf and Michelle Cody for another satisfying assignment.

Friday, November 30, 2012

World Tour Exhibit

I'm thrilled to be exhibiting my map-drawings at Taste Budd's Cafe, Dec. 1st - Jan. 31st. These pictures were inspired by a dusty old atlas which sat in my studio for years. I contemplated taking this dilapidated book to my local recycling center, but thought better of it. Instead, I decided to explore my lifelong  fascination with maps, by turning the pages into canvases. The result is an ongoing journey around the world (through drawings). You can view much of this series, as well as other personal projects, here.

My day job is that of a freelance illustrator. I provide creative content for newspapers, magazines, books, etc. It's a rewarding challenge; solving visual problems for a wide range of clients (You can see examples of my illustrations here, here, here, or throughout this blog). But it's also important to honor personal ideas through art. Projects such as this make me more curious about this enormous world we live in. My goal is to keep exploring these ideas and find an audience to share them with.

I used Sumi ink to draw these pictures. It has a very bold confident stroke, and dries thicker and darker than india ink. Instead of using washes to create the lighter tones, I used a dry-brush technique (literally painting as the brush is drying out).

I had fun creating this promotion for the exhibit:

My World Tour will be up until January 31st. 
If you're in Red Hook, I hope you'll take a peek.

Maori Rock Carving, New Zealand
A special thanks to Dan Budd and Taste Budd's Cafe
for providing such a wonderful exhibit space.

Budd's Buzz is my favorite coffee in the world.

Thanks for viewing, and happy travels!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How Tweet It Is

I love collaborating with local institutions. These spots were created for Marist College, which is just 20 miles down the Hudson River from my home. This alumni magazine article addresses how the school is embracing social media. Twitter, Facebook and other platforms are utilized to promote the school to prospective students, advertise events, and keep the community connected. Marist has plenty to offer, and social media is an excellent way to get the word out.

This spot accompanied a chart showing Marist College's 'following' on various sites.

Facebook acts as a portal to prospective students.

The process of creating three simple drawings can get pretty messy, as evidenced by this pile of sketches and references in my studio:

A special thanks to Leslie Bates giving me into this fun assignment.
You can see more social-media-themed illustrations here.

Update: You can see my latest project for Marist College right here.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Supreme Filing Cabinet

Sometimes the most literal images are the most effective. This piece for American Lawyer accompanied a story about what's on the docket for the new U.S. Supreme Court session. The justices will rule on big antitrust and class action cases, as well a high profile affirmative action suit. There's also a possibility that same-sex marriage will be addressed this year. Art director Morris Stubbs liked this idea of a 'supremely' big filing cabinet representing a big docket. This drawing was influenced by one of my favorite artists, David Suter, who is a master of visual puns and transformational art.

Below are ideas I submitted for this story:

Thanks to Morris Stubbs for adding another fun assignment to my docket!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Alphabet Soup of Advice

This portrait of our first president accompanied an article in today's Wall Street Journal. There are many kinds of financial advisers offering services to investors: CFA's, CPA's , RIA's etc. This article explains what these acronyms stand for (example: CFA = Certified Financial Adviser), and what the people behind these titles are trained to do. It's a helpful guide for investors to find the right match. I thought it would be fun to show George Washington sampling an 'alphabet soup' of acronyms. Thanks to art director Orlie Kraus for this tasty assignment!

Below are ideas I submitted for this story:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

American Lucifer

The 2012 Vice Presidential Debate takes place this evening. Coincidentally, I recently drew this portrait of a vice president who's been debated about very much; Aaron Burr. He lives in infamy for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel. He was also put on trial for conspiring to invade and take over Mexico (he was acquitted).  But Aaron Burr also had redemptive qualities. He was a feminist, a rationalist, and a supporter of manumission (the act of a slave owner freeing his slaves). He also perfected many campaign techniques which are utilized in modern politics. This article for Princeton Alumni Weekly examines this complex man who historians are presently reassessing. I created this mirror-image portrait to convey Aaron Burr's dueling legacies. A special thanks to art director Marianne Nelson for this fascinating assignment!

Here are layout ideas I submitted for this story:

Mirror images of Aaron Burr, portrayed as a devil and an angel.

Straight-on portrait of Aaron Burr with relevant elements of his story.

Contradictory portraits of Aaron Burr overlap.

Aaron Burr as devil, reflection as angel.

Reference to famous duel with Alexander Hamilton

May the best man win this evening's debate!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Secret Cellar Cover...

Here's my new cover for Michael Beil's fabulous Red Blazer Girls series, out today! These adventures follow a feisty group of middle school sleuths who solve mysteries throughout Manhattan. My daughter and I are big fans of Michael's writing, so it's a thrill to contribute to these tweener mysteries. I'm also thankful to art director, Kate Gartner, who pushed me towards this bold style. You can see some interior spots from the The Secret Cellar here.

Here's my sketch process, starting with thumbnails:

After feedback from the thumbnails, it was time to create some more detailed comps:

A fountain pen plays a central role in this mystery. Here's the circular art and sketch ideas:

It's always nice to see my artwork in it's proper context. Here's an older photo of my daughter reading the second book in this this series, The Vanishing Violin:

I'm looking forward to presenting her with a new copy of The Secret Cellar!

Happy reading everybody.

You can view my new illustration website here!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

On the waterfront

I was in a crabby mood while drawing this picture for Rutgers Magazine. Researchers at Rutgers' Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences have found that water quality along the New Jersey coast has improved in recent years. Given this encouraging story, there's reason for Jersey shore crustaceans to party!

Here are sketches I submitted for this story...

Shut Up and Drive....

This illustration accompanied a story about safe driving practices. Engineers and researchers at Rutgers have "designed a smart phone app that identifies where the cell phone user is in the car. If it’s the driver’s side, the app communicates to the caller that the driver is unavailable; if the call is urgent, it simplifies communication steps for the driver in order to reduce distractions." Worthy apps like this will certainly help smart phones get even smarter (and hopefully save lives in the process).

 Thanks to art director John Van Cleaf for another fun assignment!

You can view my new illustration website here!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Osamouflage Bin Laden

On this 11th anniversary of 9.11, it's comforting to know Osama Bin Laden is out of the picture. He created a powerful mystique just by staying invisible. I worked on this series two years ago; with a camouflage-theme to convey his elusiveness. In the end he was exposed as a loser; hiding out with his porn collection.

"Osama bin Laden is dead, and New York City’s spirit has never been stronger.” 

- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dreaming of Harvard

This drawing accompanied a Harvard Magazine story written by undergraduate, Berta Greenwald Ledecky.  While attending high school in her native Ireland, she was disillusioned with it's rigid education system. Berta dreamed of an education that would brighten her horizons. Searching the web, she discovered an intriguing summer program at Harvard. Berta worked diligently to save money for this opportunity. Upon attending, she had a truly enlightened experience, much more about asking questions than taking dreary multiple-choice exams. It opened up her world, and she's never looked back.

Eying Harvard from across the pond.

A Mary Poppins umbrella transports Berta across the pond.

An enthusiastic leap across the pond.

Weighing education experiences in Massachusetts and Ireland.
A special thanks to Art Director Jennifer Carling for a fun assignment!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Drawing Dividends

This drawing reminds me of William Shakespeare's quote, "All the world's a stage." It accompanied a story in today's Wall Street Journal; about mutual funds which give investors access to dividends from overseas. In illustration, 'harvest' themes tend to be very cliched, but transforming America into a patio, and continents into trees added a unique twist. Thanks to art director, Jia Baek, for such a worldly assignment.

It's always satisfying to see my work on the printed page.

Here are sketches for this illustration...

Collecting dividends in mailbox from overseas

Dividends fly in from overseas to U.S. investor

Collecting dividends from trees that look like foreign countries

Collecting dividends from overseas well

Thanks for viewing.