Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Mullet is Back.

One thing I have noticed while in Poland is the fashion, especially amongst the younger generations. That being said, I have witnessed several, oft-believed extinct mullets. And for some reason, both boys and girls, men and women can pull it off here. We're not talking about the typical Kentucky Waterfall either, these 'dos are carefully coiffed.

The Illustration Brothel predicts 2009 in the USA will be known as the 'Year of the Mullet.'

Here is a quick sketch of a local boy I saw today rocking the mullet - complete with some fine razor work on the sides.

Mullet Boy (Pen)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Rzeszów, Poland

I'm currently spending some time in Poland. For the next four weeks I will be living and working in two different cities. The first city, Rzeszów, is located in southern Poland and is filled with a rich history and amazing, warm people. In roughly two weeks I will be headed north to the town of Poznań.

I wanted to take less photographs on this trip and spend much more needed time in a sketchbook. So, I've attempted to sketch as much as work will allow.

These first sketches were created quickly while waiting for a connecting flight at the O'Hare Airport in Chicago on Friday. By the way, I am a complete weakling when it comes to sketching in public...I try to remain in stealth mode, and quickly avert my eyes if my subject glances my direction. So these drawings reflect that...quick bursts of line that, at times, miss the detail that could improve them. I'm without a scanner, so forgive the bad digital pics of the sketchbook.

Airport Man #1 (Pencil)

Airport Man #2 (Pencil)

Today, we finally had some great weather in Rzeszów, and I wanted to head out to a local park named Park Sybiraków to try and sketch some local people (without being noticed).

At the top of one hill, I saw a gathering of older men who undoubtedly had seen the hardships of communist rule. Two or three would sit and talk, and others would wander up - almost as if they were expected - and share vodka with one another. You could see the years on their faces and in their movements. As I sat there, I saw something I thought was quite beautiful. Down-trodden, visibly worn men gently pouring glasses of vodka for one another. Several had only empty glasses that they held, and others would share what vodka they had, exchange a few gentle words and move on down the path.

I sat there and drew. These were some of the men.

Polish Man #1 (Pen)

Polish Man #2 (Pen)

Polish Man #3 (Pen)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Through the Trees.

Another color. This one beat me up, as I really attempted to establish the right light. I spent more time on this in the past few days than I should have. I guess I was inspired by Ludwick's drawing...had to up the ante...or try, anyway. I'm working at 600 ppi, so a lot of the detail in these low res versions is getting lost.

Inked. (Painter)

Without. (Painter)
The bad news is that this is only one spot on a page of three. Ouch. Two more to go.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Richard Simmons.

With this deluge of work in Painter, it got me thinking about older illustration jobs...and the fun of working with oils under a deadline. Galkyd, Japan Drier, Cobalt Drier...I think I tried them all.

I actually was so under the gun on one occasion that I actually thought putting illustration board, layered with lead white and cadmium oil paints, in an oven was a smart idea. I thought a quick bake at 350 degrees would help dry a glaze so I could rush to a finish. What an idiot. Of course I used the down time to unexpectedly fall asleep. When I finally opened the oven door...the paint was bubbling and belching noxious fumes.

This was that painting. Maybe it was Richard getting even.

Richard Simmons. (Oil on board)

Cheezy Aroma.

More progress on the Mice in the Barn project. This is the first spread of the book...pages 1 and 2. The spot on the left will have text underneath...something like "In the box. Out of the box. Through the hole."

I'm resisting my urge to add some sophomoric humor here. You do the same...for the sake of the children.

With ink. (Painter)

Without. (Painter)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Metro Mouse.

Well, since it appears that I'm in the midst of an all-nighter...

This was the first concept test for the Mice in the Barn book. It's quite a departure from the typical illustration work they tend to publish. I submitted a few preliminary sketches, and did an extra piece in color in hopes that they would go with this style. Almost had it, too. Everyone in the art department really liked it...and it looked like it was a go...until the AD came back from a trip, and put the kibosh on it.

Sad times, indeed.

In the box. (Painter/Photoshop)

Maybe in the future, I'll write a book called Metrosexual Mice in a Loft, and use this.

Friday, May 9, 2008

I Hate Meeces to Pieces.

Progress on the illustration job with JB Ludwick. You can see this original ink on the Zealot's blog.

With linework. (Painter)

Without. (Painter)
Still working out the kinks in Painter, especially with this type of painting technique...but, I'll tell you - at times, it's easy to forget that you are in a software package and not at an easel. Now if the good folks at Corel could incorporate an element of danger like a lead paint option, or a combustible turpentine dropdown menu - all the cool kids would buy it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Miley Cyrus You're Next.

Since we're on the subject of caricatures...isn't the driving force behind any good caricature how 'buzz-worthy' that person is at the time of publication? Me thinks so. During this age of instant information and the constant deluge of imagery we all see...it's all about the now.

I must admit, I'm the first guy who likes to stick his arm, elbow deep, into the sparkling dung heap of pop culture, and pull out a
caricature that has some immediate importance (to someone). The problem is, a few months after the fact, does the illustration still hold any significance? Does the narrative still make sense? Does anyone care? Or are we all now only concerned with the current orgy of child stars, sex tapes, and gastric bypass?

TMZ has stolen my will to live.

Well, in that vein...here are some recent, yet 'old news' illustrations.

Kim Jong-Il
- (Photoshop / Painter)

TomKat...on their beloved 'birth' of daughter Suri (Photoshop / Painter)

Monday, May 5, 2008

A 5th Grade Punch to the Gut & Hillary Clinton

I've been aching to sit down (and complete) a caricature recently...I do love me a good caricature.

Speaking of which, I've got a good story about the first (and last) time I ever tried to use my drawing wares to pick up a lady. It was fifth grade and I had a crush on a girl named Angie - cute, blond curly hair, middle school cheerleader who was 'going with' the quarterback. I sat at her homeroom desk, which was full of pink Trapper Keepers, during 4th period English. I thought that if I drew a funny picture of her boyfriend Jason and discretely placed it inside the desk...she would find it the next morning, fall deeply and helplessly in love with me and immediately dump him in favor of me. So, I scratched out my best caricature of her boyfriend eating dog poo on a sandwich bun (which I cleverly accompanied with an arrow and the words 'dog turd'). I was quite happy with the likeness...I even included his football number on his shirt. With a huge sense of satisfaction, I placed my masterpiece in her desk and daydreamed about future hand holding in the hallway.

Flash forward to the next day at recess. Here comes Angie...walking right toward me with a huge smile on her sweet, little face. The plan had worked out perfectly! That was, until Jason came out of nowhere - punched me in the stomach, and said 'That's for drawing pictures of me!' Angie turned around, grabbed Jason's hand, and together they walked to the other end of the playground.

I cried.

I cried again a few weeks later when a girl punched me - but that wasn't art related.

So, back to the caricature. Seeing as how the eyes of the world will be on Indiana this Tuesday for the big Obama / Clinton showdown - I wanted to take a stab at Hillary. She's a master of contorting her face, so I thought it would be challenging and fun.

Here's the initial sketch (Painter) :

Not sure about that...it was close, but maybe a bit too young.? When I went into color, I tried to angle her up a bit more, emphasize her age and the very impressive bags under her eyes.

Hillary Clinton (Photoshop / Painter):

Her expression reminds me of the feeling I had after my 5th grade beatdown. Foreshadowing? We'll see.

Friday, May 2, 2008

'Office Fatties' 2 - Electric Boogaloo

10 years ago I could verbally designate the second part of any idea with a simple '[insert topic] 2 - Electric Boogaloo' and get some form of laughter. A chuckle, belly laugh, and the whatnot. Nowadays it usually results in a blank stare. I guess it's just testament to the fact that I am getting old...maybe I should stop hanging out with 18 year olds.

Regardless, big ups to Ozone. (I just popped and locked when I hit the period key).

Here are some of the earliest 'Office Fatties' images. Quick character sketches, to which Mike Flaherty developed some hilarious names. It's funny to look back at these now, and see how they have evolved.

Early Fatties from top down, left to right: Harris Wildman, Zapp and Roger (the fused-together IT guys), Rusty Bennet & Leon Candles. (Painter)

I went back and better developed a concept of Harris Wildman (who now pronounces his name 'Wildmin'). I wanted him to look more sinister and amorphous...the hair color is my homage to young Mike Flaherty.

Harris Wildman, take 2. I've always been a fan of big teeth, perhaps because I've got a large set of choppers, myself. (Photoshop / Painter)

'Night on the Avenue' Backgrounds

Here's another Ludwick/Baldwin endeavor...'Night on the Avenue' a short based upon oral histories of the 50's jazz scene on Indiana Avenue (downtown Indianapolis). Will this ever see the light of day? Hope so.

Long pan background. (Photoshop/Painter)

Back room poker hall. (Photoshop/Painter)

Avenue at sunset. (Photoshop/Painter)

I've got more of these, I'll post later.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

'Office Fatties' backgrounds

Here are some backgrounds for 'Office Fatties,' A concept developed by me and John Ludwick (I call him Brian, but you must first obtain permission from the man - lest there be a smackdown), and currently aided by Mike Flaherty on the writing tip. The premise is pretty straightforward - Fatty Professors wreak havoc in the hallowed halls of academia...thus the tagline - 'It's lunchtime, do you know where your professor is?'

This has been a work in progress for nearly 3 years. Geez, 3 years...that's depressing. It's hard enough carving out time to work on this without being sidetracked by other jobs that actually pay - but, I do have faith in this one. 3 years later, and I still laugh at the writing - which I'll take as a good sign.

This is the 1st floor lobby - tiny elevator to the right, vending machines off stage left. Portraits of past and current Office Fatties, including Dean Harlon Butterball, hang in the hallway. (Photoshop/Painter)

This background is an establishing shot of the office elevator complete with industrial sized gears that hall the fatties between floors. I'm not sure if there are actually cotton-candy colored elevators...but it does make me hungry for fair food. (Photoshop/Painter)

This is the same elevator - several fatties are inside, returning to their offices after lunch at the Hungry Hippo. This shot takes place right before a gaseous implosion on board...perhaps due to mechanical failure...or the beef stroganoff. (Photoshop/Painter)

More 'Office Fatties' stuff to come...