September 30, 2008

Street Art in Oaxaca

If graffiti is the voice of the people, then the people are saying, “Get rid of that bum Ulises Ruiz Ortiz!” Known simply as URO, Ortiz is the highly unpopular Governor of Oaxaca whom many blame for the violence and deaths that occurred in 2006 during the massive public service strikes.

The protests shut down the historic center of the city for months, bringing the city’s tourist trade to a grinding halt. Just this week the government released a financial aid package to help the hundreds of businesses that have either suffered loses or closed completely since then.

Sadly, the overwhelming majority of the graffiti here is not a means of political protest but simple tagging, an unimaginative eyesore that robs the city of its colonial character. The few exceptions I have seen are included here. Interviews Richard has just posted their latest podcast which features Jason Manley's recent interview with Richard Solomon. The interview contains advice to illustrators starting out, Richard's philosophy on artists' styles, and his take on the industry as a whole. It's 50+ minutes of non-stop Richard. Can you handle it? Yes you can!

September 28, 2008

Bye Bye, Sandra B!

Today we say a belated goodbye to our fabulous summer intern, Sandra Builles, who has returned to finish her degree at Ringling College of Art and Design. Her stay was short but sweet. She was such a hard worker and made friends wherever she went. So Sandra, we'll miss having you around. So will the firemen, the people at Fedex, the guys at the tea shop...

If you're an illustration student and are interested in learning more about the business side of things through an internship with us, please send us an email. We typically offer one or two new internships every semester. You can read a recap of Sandra's internship here and see what it's all about.

September 27, 2008

Senate Creates Copyright Czar

Senate Passes Bill Creating Copyright Czar from

Orphan Works Bill Passes Senate, Ready for House

Today the IPA posted a new call to action, a link to send a letter to your local representative. If you've done it before, you can do it again, it only takes two minutes.

From The Illustrators Partnership Orphan Works Blog:

Yesterday, in a cynical move, the sponsors of the Senate Orphan Works Act passed their controversial bill by a controversial practice known as hotlining.

With the meltdown on Wall Street, this is no time for Congress to concentrate our nation’s copyright wealth in the hands of a few privately owned corporate databases. The contents of these databases would be more valuable than secure banking information. Yet this bill would compel creators to risk their own intellectual property to supply content to these corporate business models. That means it would be our assets at risk in the event of their failure or mismanagement.

As David Rhodes, President of the School of Visual Arts has said, the Orphan Works bill would socialize the expense of copyright protection while privatizing the profit of creative endeavors. Copyright owners neither want nor need this legislation. It will do great harm to small businesses. We already have a banking crisis. Congress should not lay the groundwork for a copyright crisis.

– Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner, for the Illustrators’ Partnership

September 26, 2008

Rick Wagoner Portrait by Rick Farrell

This portrait of GM CEO Rick Wagoner was initially commissioned by Detroit Magazine. After rumors that Wagoner might be getting the axe, they decided against publishing the article. I already had it penciled and ready to paint, so I went ahead and finished it as a potential portfolio piece.

September 22, 2008

New Art: Rock Radio Guru Lee Abrams

Sterling Hundley has a full page illustration in the Sept./Oct. issue of Columbia Journalism Review. Since that's kind of a niche mag and you may miss it, we'll post it here for your visual appeasement.

[caption id="attachment_483" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Lee Abrams"]Lee Abrams[/caption]

September 19, 2008

Gary Kelley's Dark Side

It's still on pre-order, but Gary Kelley was nice enough to hand deliver a copy of his new picture book, Dark Fiddler, to our new office. He was also, ahem, nice enough to sign a copy for me to add to my collection (a thousand million thanks Gary!)

The book is a product of Creative Editions, whose picture books are more for art loving grown-ups more than for kids. Unless you have super sophisticated kids. What? Well of course you do! What was I thinking?

The story, written by Aaron Frisch, is about Italian violinist Nicolo Paganini. The jacket describes it so:

Enveloped in shadowy folktales and trailed by the rumor that the Devil guided his bow hand, Paganini was a ghost story even while he lived. His skills were so marvelous, his stage presence so otherworldly, that he defied any rational explanations available to audiences of the early nineteenth century. And so the legend began. In Dark Fiddler, Gary Kelley's haunting artwork accompanies Aaron Frisch's words to present Paganini's life of fame and affliction, recounting the tall but true tale of a man who mystified Italy, enchanted Europe, and made music that resonated beyond the grave.

So, a perfect bedtime story for your perfectly sophisticated child.

Below is a spread from the book.

[caption id="attachment_492" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Dark Fiddler by Gary Kelley"]Dark Fiddler by Gary Kelley[/caption]

September 17, 2008

Liz Lomax Flip Book: Building Amy Winehouse

Yup, still love flip books! Below is one showcasing the making of a recent Amy Winehouse piece by the amazing 3D illustrator Liz Lomax. Click on the arrows to flip through, or click on the book to see/email/share a larger version.

September 16, 2008

September 15, 2008

Dispatch from Oaxaca

As an illustrator, I find I don’t get much opportunity to keep a sketchbook. Sounds odd, but true. I do lots of drawing, but its all project related.

In Oaxaca, I’m changing that. The only rule is everything has to be painted from life, on site.

[caption id="attachment_464" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Calle Gurrion"]Calle Gurrion[/caption][caption id="attachment_465" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Comedor Lanchita"]
Comedor Lanchita[/caption]

September 12, 2008

Reach Ahead to the Furthest Communist Goal

Life outside of a fabricated communist utopia too complicated? Propagandize it! Become a working class hero by having your likeness painted into a Chinese propaganda poster through While you're at the site, check out some of the actual posters. These painters sure knew how to create drama.

Huh... never knew a painting could charge my cell phone.

This week's featured illustrator is Rudy Gutierrez

September 11, 2008

More Bacon

Courtesy Manhattan Users Guide: All Things Bacon, including this tasty scarf.

Poor Kevin, or Pork Heaven? A 10 Minute Assignment

Our artists will do just about anything. Provided they're given permission to do it creatively. Staff member Scott Brundage, an illustrator himself, decided to take advantage of this quirk with a new feature, the 10 minute assignment.

Scott chose Sterling Hundley as his first victim. The glove was dropped. Hundley picked it up. Illustrators can't resist a free glove.

Sterling was given a Brundage original tagline (a take-off on six degrees of Kevin Bacon), and 10 minutes, and told (asked sweetly) to conceptualize a sketch around the theme and email the result back. Here is that assignment—an expedited look into the thought process of a sharp thinker (you know, an illustrator).

Tip: click on the image below to see it larger.


September 3, 2008

Back to School with Republic Steel

Via Today's Inspiration: A 1955 illustrated ad campaign for Republic Steel.
Willie might play hooky more often—if only he could escape this giant steel trap!

Custom Illustration Would Never Let This Happen To You

From Galleycat: It's Deja Vu All Over Again.
This is one of the many advantages to custom illustration. It will never send you out of the house on prom night to run into another girl in the same dress.

September 2, 2008

Rolling Stones Logo Sold for $92,500

Article on Creative Review: V&A Buys Rolling Stones Tongue Logo for $92,500. The article includes an interview with the designer, John Pasche, who created the image for 50 pounds while he was still a student at the Royal College of Art.

Keith Richards FAIL (Interview with Sterling Hundley)

SB: Let's see, it's about noon. You're a freelancer. Have you showered yet?

SH: Going by the stubble on my face, I'd say it's been a full day and a half since my last shower. My wife will let me out of my studio tomorrow, when my assignments are due, for 20 minutes of fresh air, a shower or a meal, and one phone call. I remember the color of the sky so

SB: What is currently on your drawing table?

I am currently working on 9 portraits for Steven Charny at Rolling Stone. They will appear in the greatest guitarists of all time issue. Great job. Great client.

SB: Wow, 9 portraits? You really are busy.

SH: The project got bumped down to 8 portraits. Keith Richards didn't make it.

SB: You do a lot very smart conceptual work and also more straightforward work, such as portraits. Can you tell me something about how you approach either?

SH: The process is the same for both conceptual and aesthetic based work, but I spend more time up front on ideation for the "smart" stuff. In my ideation, I am trying to combine to disparate elements from the text into a single image. The process begins with two or more word lists, and I try to find a "bridge", or connection between them. Bridges can be visual comparisons, historical reference, literature, a play on words, etc.

Aesthetic images often become a game of match the medium with the content or tone. My best work begins with a preconceived idea of how I will treat the surface, or drawing. Once I'm into the piece, it's like a boxing match degenerating into a street fight—all rules go out the window.

Interview continues below...


SB: Huh...with all this preliminary work, how do you find time to brush up your Halo skills and dominate your apprentices?

SH: With discipline and training. I quickly dispatch my apprentices (Chris, Kenny, Shaun) in Halo so that I can get back to work. The truth is, I enjoy many things more than beginning a painting. The preliminary work is for me—to get things right. This step of the process, along with my sketchpad, is very personal, and I get to decide wether it is seen publicly or not. A blank canvas/board means judgement. I'll find many things in my personal life to avoid that.

SB: You are very involved with the Illustration Academy, along with a couple other artists in our group, Gary Kelley and C.F. Payne. Can you tell us a bit about the Academy, its philosophy, and why the students insist on hogging the Society of Illustrators juried student show every year?

SH: The Illustration Academy serves to bridge the gap from the student to the professional. Currently, we do not offer a degree, so students are there to get that critical information in a seven week vacuum. The growth of the students in that period is truly unlike anything that I've seen anywhere else. The best instructors in the world attract the best students in the world. All of these things combined create well-armed, highly informed visual problem solvers. I couldn't be more proud of the effect that we have on the student, each other, and the amazing kinship that is fostered at the Academy.

SB: While you're at it, you can stop hogging all the awards for yourself. You've been collecting medals consistently at the Society of Illustrators annual award shows for several years. Now that you are a rockstar, do you feel at all guilty having sold out? Are there groupies in illustration, and are they attractive?

SH: It's been a dream fulfilling run, as of late. I'm truly honored to be recognized. I'm seeing a number of students and young professionals imitating me stylistically. It's an odd feeling—strangely flattering. I was guilty of it at the start of my career, and it took some good friends to help make me aware.

As far as selling out, I don't believe in it. I ultimately make the images that I want to make. The text provided serves as a catalyst for the images, but each new problem requires a different solution. It's rare that my hand is guided too heavily with art direction, although it does happen. There's only one groupie—my wife, and I'm a bigger fan of her than she is of me!

WSJ Interview with RISD Prez, Designer John Maeda

John Maeda has just returned from several days of what he calls "summer camp at Harvard," where he took a crash course in how to be a college president...

Read the whole story at Design for Learning: RISD Gets a New Type of President.