July 31, 2008

Booze, knives and gunshot wounds at their most beautiful.

This week's featured illustrator is Rick Farrell.

Gregory Manchess at the Norman Rockwell Museum

Next week Gregory Manchess will be teaching a (sorry folks!) sold-out workshop at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass.

Fully Loaded Brush:
Virtuoso Painting with Gregory Manchess

Explore the art of realist painting with Gregory Manchess, a virtuoso with a brush whose artworks have appeared both on gallery walls and in our nation’s most prominent publications. Demonstrations, direct painting from the figure in light and shadow, and an emphasis on process and technique will inspire you to hone your abilities and acquire new skills.

See more of Gregory's work here.

July 30, 2008

Custom Destination Art for Honda

Who knew? Being a Honda salesman has its perks. Artist Ted Wright was commissioned to participate in a sales incentive program rewarding Honda's top U.S. dealers with a custom piece of art, to tie-in with a prize destination tour. In this instance, the top deal makers and their spouses were whisked off to Singita, South Africa, for a photo safari.

While in Africa each couple was photographed, in safari garb, by a local photographer. Unbeknownst to the participants, the photos were then sent via FTP back to Ted Wright's inbox. Ted tinted each photo, added texture where necessary, and placed it with care into a pre-made collage illustration, which was used as a template for all participants. Each piece was then personalized, hand signed, matted and framed, and shipped to the winners. All participants received the art within 7 days of returning home from the trip as a personal gift from Honda.

Each finished artwork measures 40"x12". The use of a template makes it possible to create 88 commemorative pieces within a reasonable time frame, and reduces the total expense for the client.

Africa was the first of seven collages in this series. Ted is currently working on Hawaii and Vietnam.


July 29, 2008


Art Director: Bryan Gray
Client: Liberty Magazine
Description: This commission was for an article on the new atheists, and how they want to punish, even destroy all religion. The article specifically mentioned thought crime, which I used as the catalyst for the idea.

I've listed a number of the other ideas that were not used, as well.

At first read, I wanted this illustration to come across as a person praying, with their head bowed. In actuality, the figure is bound to a chair with his arms behind his back. A talking head n a projection screen behind him references 1984.


We Are All Businessman written by Mark Fabiano
Art Director: Jason Treat
Created for Atlantic Monthly

The fictional story by Mark Fabiano takes place in Sri Lanka. A Sri Lankan man serves as a liaison for an American Businessman. Under the promise that his son will be given preference by the American for a scholarship to study abroad, the Sri Lankan man's Buddhist faith is challenged when the American requests a prostitute.

In my research, I found that the lotus flower is a Buddhist symbol for enlightenment. During the day the lotus flower rises from the water and opens to the sun (enlightenment). In the evening, it closes, and fall beneath the surface of the water. This became my metaphor for showing the father's sacrifice of his own enlightenment (closed lotus) for that of his son (open flowers).

I've shown the approved sketch and the final drawing in my process.

I created this image using mixed media and limited reference. I invested a lot of time in the research part of the project, as my knowledge of Sri Lanka and the Buddhist faith was very limited. The final was first drawn on board, sealed with an acrylic midtone, then I painted my light and dark tones in acrylics and inks.


New Departure illustration and story for Virginia Living magazine

Engine 231
By: Sterling Hundley

Deep beneath the Confederate Sailor and Soldier monument, the row houses, and cobblestones of Richmond’s Church Hill, Steam Engine 231 has lied entrenched since a deadly tunnel collapse on October 2, 1925. Routine maintenance, heat, moisture, and soft earth led to the implosion of the plagued 4,000 foot long Chesapeake & Ohio tunnel. Three men, and possibly a fourth, are known to have lost their lives as a result.
A sailor’s life lost at sea is yielded to the sea. The sunken ship, is left as a memorial to the lives lost. Financial concerns and public outcry have hindered the recovery of the old train. Perhaps it is best that engine 231, her crew, and the legends that surround her remain entrenched in the soil and culture in which they are so firmly planted.

I created this image using photocopies and marker transfers, which I painted into. The final color was added digitally. Of note, all the elements in the image are from old train photos, including the figure on top of the statue, and the train cabs, which I used as row houses.

I was attempting to make a connection between the train buried beneath Richmond's Church Hill and Ships that are lost at sea that serve as the tombs for the fallen sailors. The smoke stack of the steam engine and the sailors monument on top of Church Hill seemed a perfect visual comparison.


I've recently returned from the Illustration Academy. What an amazing group. I'm listing several of the pieces that I created this summer while at the Academy in different posts. The train illustration was given away in the raffle at the end of the Academy, along with five of my figure drawings. All of the instructors give drawing and demos away to the students at the program.

I'll be taking part in a group show at Columbia University in Chicago entitled: "Paint for Print" and will include the work of Ofra Amit, Shino Arihara, Gérard DuBois, Penelope Dullahan, Aaron Jasinski, Robert MacKenzie, Joe Morse and possibly two others (TBA). The venue is [C]Spaces Galleries and the show will be up from November 3rd through December 19th.The reception will be on Thursday, November 6th from 6-8 pm. I am not yet sure wether I will be in attendance, or not.

Video: SOI President's Dinner '08

July 28, 2008

Post Comic-Con Recap

The bloom is off the rose of the Con for another year. I finished a portrait demo in about an hour & a half today, as part of a series of artist demos for Tor books. I couldn’t resist the urge to paint Hellboy, Mignola design ala Manchess. I had great fun painting the big red lug and every stroke was designated to bring smiles to onlooking fans. It felt like we all participated in the process.


I showed the finished piece to Mike and got his smiling thumbs up before chatting with him about the latest Hellboy movie.

The rest of the day was spent critiquing student & emerging artist portfolios and stopping by to say hi to favorite artist’s booths. I love meeting all the digital artists that work on projects for Pixar, Disney, Blue Sky, LucasFilm, and many others. I’m such a fan of their work, and sequential storytelling. It’s nice to engage in conversation with them when I find that they are enthused about creating original oil paintings. We all have so much in common and drive each other farther.

The enthusiasm to create new ideas for my work will last for weeks, much like it does when I get to the Society of Illustrators Annual Show. And I’ll have hundreds of dollars worth of French graphic novels to keep it going after that.

Later on, after dinner and drinks with friends, I’ll snuggle up with volume 1 of Travis Charest’s “SPACEGIRL”...grin.

Editor's Note: Check out a video of the Spectrum hosted demo at tor.com

Flickr: Mid-20th Century Illustration

WOW. Leif Peng's flickr set Celebrating the art and illustrators of the Mid-20th Century: Classic Illustrators by Name. Or you can see the same art categorized by subject.

July 27, 2008

Report from Comic-Con San Diego

Once again we see that “mere illustration” has proven to be more popular than the museums can hold our interest...

I’m here in San Diego attending the infamous Comic-Con, which started out as a bunch of comic enthusiasts 30 years ago, and has gone on to become a multi- faceted event with close to 150,000 attendees.

Amazingly, it has become the place to be for striking deals with publishers, producers, directors, writers, galleries, comic companies, toy makers, etc. It’s also where artists from so many genres come to hang with each other, play and brainstorm.

Wednesday night was the official opening night, but felt like Saturday at the Con: more people attending than ever before. It seems to get better each year, or worse depending on your perspective.

I’ve been stunned since the first year I attended at the level of camaraderie amongst the various types of artists and how freely we all seem to exchange information, ideas, and encouragement.

Today is Saturday...the busiest day for the Con. I have my agenda to wander the floor because I discover so many unique approaches of artwork from so many ambitious creative minds.

The skill level here is off the charts. These are not amateurs...these are thinkers of the highest order, but applying their abilities to the art of communication, not art-for-art’s-sake.

Students and amateurs abound and all are soaking up the information to become, perhaps, the next generously humble master of the profession.

I’m already looking forward to Sunday, when I get to show off my own hard won skills with a demo painting at the Spectrum booth at 11am!

John Foster and Gregory Manchess
Jon Foster demo

July 25, 2008

Vanity Fair's Answer to Barry Blitt

Well certainly the tongue in cheek takeoff was not, editorially, the same thing, but boy can Tim Bower draw. Check it out here.

James Yang Video

This video will inspire all you freelancers and moonlighters to want to take full advantage of a profession that is not location dependent and give your creative selves a chance to see the world. Produced by James Yang for ICON 5 and featuring globetrotting illustrators Hanoch Piven, Michael Bartalos, Fernanda Cohen, Nate Williams, Monika Alchele, Ingo Fast, and Laurie Rosenwald.

July 24, 2008

New Art: Steve Buscemi by Liz Lomax

Liz Lomax just emailed in this hilarious 3-D portrait of Steve Buscemi, one of her favorites, and also an inhabitant of Liz's old neighborhood.

I can just picture him, looking like this, waiting in the morning coffee line at Connecticut Muffin. You gotta love New York.


July 22, 2008

John Mattos at Portuguese Historical Museum in San Jose

If you're looking for a cultural fix in Southern California, be sure to check out the Portuguese Historical Museum in San Jose. John Mattos currently has 6 pieces in their current exhibition, a remembrance of the 50th anniversary of "Vulcao Dos Capelinhos" in the Azore islands off the coast of Portugal.

The Capelinhos Volcano was a submarine volcano that erupted on the 27th of September, 1957 at the eastern side of Fayal island. The volcano raged for thirteen months before going to sleep, having changed the landscape forever. Many refugees from the island came to the United States under the protection of the Azorean Refugee Act, initiated in part by then Senator John F. Kennedy.

So now you know.

The exhibition includes these gorgeous stamps by John Mattos.


July 21, 2008

July 19, 2008

Most Expensive Book Illo Ever Auctioned

Beatrix Potter's The Rabbits' Christmas Party has broken a record, becoming the most expensive book illustration ever to be sold at auction, raking in £289,250 in London on Friday.

More from BBC.co.uk.

The Rabbits

July 18, 2008

Creative Review: A Decade in Design

Ben Terrett surveyed award-winning creative directors and designers who've been with him in the English design trenches over the last decade, inquiring "Were they happy? Did they earn enough money? Did things turn out as they’d hoped? What does a career path in design look like?"

The result was this post on the Creative Review Blog, an interesting read for design lovers even they are in the U.S.

July 17, 2008

BibliOdyssey: Beatrix Potter illustrations at Auction

A nice sampling of Beatrix Potter illustrations from BibliOdyssey.blogspot.com. Her work sure takes me back...

"All images in this post were obtained from fishing expeditions in the archives at Sotheby's and Christie's auction houses. (Sotheby's have an auction featuring some of these works in the next day or so)."

The Art of Shouting With Your Mouth Shut

This week's featured illustrator is C.F. Payne.

July 15, 2008

Posters to Help Iowa Flood Victims

Ted Wright recently gave an illustration demo at Washington University in St. Louis. The result of the demo was two variations of a new image titled "Cockadoodledoo... The Mighty Flood in Waterloo." Ted created the piece out of concern for the recent flood damage to friend and colleague Gary Kelley's hometown of Waterloo, Iowa.

Putting the finishing touches on the images, Ted had the idea to use the art as a fundraiser for families living in the flood affected farm communities of Iowa.

Buyers can choose from two versions of the 17"x36" image, shown below. Each poster is $30.00 and can be ordered by emailing tedw@AvalaMarketing.com. All proceeds go to the Iowa Red Cross.

For those who expressed concern, Gary Kelley's second floor studio remained unaffected by the floods in Cedar Falls. The tight knit community rallied together to protect the historic downtown and managed to save it, and Gary's studio as a result, from certain disaster. We shudder to think of what would have been lost if not for the determined citizens of Cedar Falls.

July 14, 2008

Barry Blitt: A Modest Retrospective

On the heels of some controversy over his latest New Yorker cover depicting Barack and Michelle Obama decked out in a turban and camo respectively, the blog fishbowlNY has posted a retrospective of sorts of Blitt's past New Yorker covers in defense of satire, and the ability of our citizens to recognize it when presented.

July 11, 2008

Spotlight on Canadian Kimber's Work/Life

Canadian artist Murray Kimber was interviewed for a feature in UPPERCASE gallery's book "Work/Life", which explores the creative life of notable Canadian illustrators and photographers. Publisher and designer Janine VanGool wanted a peek into the studios and minds of working artists, trying to find the line between work and life among a group of dedicated people who have trouble seeing the difference.

The article also explores Murray's technique and process, taking a job from start to finish and giving a glimpse into what an art director can expect from hiring a professional illustrator. Says Kimber, "My philosophy has always been that art directors always have a variety of projects on the go. I want them to be able to know they don't have to be able to worry about the one I am doing. That creates repeat business."

Read the full feature by clicking the images below.

You can also buy the book here: http://www.uppercasegallery.ca/titles/


July 9, 2008

Hard Case Crime Book Party

Hard Case Crime publisher Charles Ardai hosted a book party Tuesday to commemorate the 50th Hard Case Crime novel, Fifty-To-One. The party also celebrated the release of Naomi Novik's latest book, Victory of Eagles (Temeraire, Book 5). Charles is one of our favorite clients, the kind of guy who one day hand delivered tearsheets to our office just to meet our tiny crew and pass out free books.

The party took place at The Explorer's Club, a gorgeous old building decked out with remnants of legendary historical conquests, including mounted tusks as tall as I am, and a stuffed polar bear shot by Rudy Valentino. In attendance was a troupe of dancers performing the Quadrille in full dress, several writers and performers from NYC's Pinchbottom Burlesque, writers, editors, publishers, book dealers, and a few friends including Art Director Irene Gallo of Tor Books.

Fifty-To-One was actually written by Charles Ardai, and the reviews are amazing. Isaac Asimov says "Charles Ardai... will be the next me but, I hope, less peculiar."

Hard Case Crime has published, to critical acclaim, the best modern pulp fiction on the market. The cover art on these books is just striking. In addition to using our artists, Gregory Manchess, Rick Farrell, and Bill Nelson, Charles has art directed covers by Robert McGinnis, Glen Orbik, Chuck Pyle, and more—every one a winner. Check them all out on Hard Case Crime's website.


K.Y. Craft Inducted into the Illustrator’s Hall of Fame

The New York Society of Illustrator’s annual President’s Dinner ended with the introduction of Art on a Grand Scale Artist Kinuko Y. Craft into the Illustrator’s Hall of Fame. More...

On The Shelves: CA Illustration Annual

This year's Communication Arts Illustration Annual (July issue) is out and about, filled with incredible work and some pretty nifty articles. Every year we enter this competition and generally always get several pieces in. I can boast about this since it has nothing to do with me, and since our artists are so rarely boastful of their own accord.

This year we had some trouble around the time of CA's call for entries, and were unable to enter many pieces that our artists created over the past year. Juror Liz Hale and Editor Patrick Coyne graciously acknowledged this fact in the Editor's Column (p.149). Our artists, however, did manage to enter some pieces on their own, and so there is still a nice sampling in the magazine of some of the stellar work that they do.

Check out Sterling Hundley (pp.17, 67), Mark Summers (p.72), James Bennett (p.75) Ted Wright (p.83), John Mattos (p.85), Gary Kelley (p.101), and a pirate-y spread by Gregory Manchess, (pp.110-111)

July 7, 2008

World's Largest Freehand Drawing

on designboom.com: The World's Largest Freehand Drawing by Jim Denevan. This piece is three miles across. It lasted for a week before being washed away by a rainstorm.