The CRISIS Magazine: Hollywood Issue

I was very lucky to get a repeat commission from The CRISIS magazine in January. Wayne was looking for a bold image for the cover of their Hollywood issue. The main push of the issue is how there are not many African Americans in the film industry, and he wanted to work with a portrait of a film-industry African American calling others to action. The sketches:The first sketch was a spoof of the popular Rodchenko poster that was imitated for many album covers including Franz Ferdinand. Next was a Moses-type figure with film reels. Basically, with this image I was communicating that film is a way for African Americans to deliver a message by having a figure "delivering" the film to us, the viewer. Sketch 3 is pretty straightforward, and it depicts an African American man with dreadlocks that morph into rolls of film. The last sketch is of a figure calling for action through a microphone; this sketch operates on two levels by not only calling to action but also alluding to a film director using a megaphone on set.
Wayne decided to go with the last sketch, and he requested that I incorporate the word "Action!" into the image. I tried doing so in several ways including overlaying it and using a speech balloon to isolate what I thought would be the main article. However, it turned out that it was not an article headline, but simply text to accompany the image so he chose the overlay. Final art:
Among several color mocks, we originally decided to go with a red background and lots of bleed as he had a large amount of text to work with, but then we decided to use the figure against white. Above is the submitted final art and the final cover after the revision. I'm happy to say that we managed to stay very close to my original composition; I felt bleeding the megaphone off the right side was an invitation to the reader to open the cover. Thanks to Wayne for a great assignment!

-Enjoy the Day,

Connecticut Magazine: Rating the Small Towns

Here is a quick rundown of a recent commission from Connecticut Magazine. The article was their annual "Rating the small towns," in which the towns of Connecticut are judged on crime, culture, education, etc. Cover sketches:

The article also had a spot illustration. Note how these spots tie-in with the cover themes, and yet the art director also has a choice of mixing up themes if need be. Sketches:

The art director decided that she like the first cover sketch and the gauge-theme spot illo, but she wanted to place the cover sketch's #1 on something rather than it be a giant object itself. She asked for a hot-air balloon, and I did a quick revision. The art director tried it out with the text, and she liked it. After approval, I provided the refined drawing on the right to give her a better idea of the final art:

Final artwork:

I mocked up this cover based on the text the art director tested on the sketch; I think its pretty close to the actual cover. I'll find out when the issue arrives!

Enjoy the Day,

California Lawyer: Challenging Porposition #8

Jake at California Lawyer contacted me at the end of 2009 with a pretty moody cover subject: the plotting behind California's Proposition #8. The gist of the story is that "for months the people backing the case had been operating in stealth mode because they wanted the federal complaint to be the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the successful 2008 initiative that had declared, 'Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California.' "

The art direction of the article was to focus on the secretive planning aspect as if this is a movie scene when the bank heist plan is being planned. The sketches:

I looked at a lot of old movie stills to get that moody, deceptive atmosphere. The second sketch was originally not seen through a door, and that was added after Jake's great suggestion. It really helped the image. The finished artwork with text I mocked over the image:

I never received a tearsheet or saw the cover, so I faked this text to place the illustration in context; this is one of those images that looks weird without type due to the large black shape on the right. I made a few adjustments to facilitate the text such as removing the window frame, making the background into the shadow of the lamp on the yellow wall.

Enjoy the Day,

Haiti Poster & Sketchbook Excerpts Vol. 3

A few posts back I mentioned the Haiti Poster Project. I took this opportunity to do an experimental piece. Its pretty far removed from my illustration work in terms of medium, but I think its closer to my sketchbook which is quite interesting:

And here are some bits from the first half of the latest sketchbook:

Enjoy the Day,