Forward Magazine: Bankrupt Nation

Here is some new artwork from a great client, Forward Magazine.

From the art director's lips (or rather, the email): "This story is simply about the great debt our nation is in. I think we want to depict the “gruesome” aspect of this topic, and really drive home the point that our debt is ruinous. Your style struck a chord with me because you’ve done several pieces that are sort of dramatic in manner, but can deliver the message in a palpable way. I’ve attached a cover template so you can also get an idea of where things fall in placement. I’d like to get 3-5 different sketches, and then we’ll choose one for cover, one for inside."


Heh, I really liked this sketch! I think it was the lighting; seems like it would have been fun to take to final. However, I think it was a bit too much for the art director; also, my girlfriend said it was a little over the top. Well, you should have seen it before I photoshopped out the blood. I have yet to illustrate a piece with a snake! This has to happen at some point.

And the same could be said for this sketch. I was really happy with my body language on this one as well as the hanky in his pocket. Was a bit too violent? But it's metaphorical violence! No? Ok...

A penniless Sam, pretty straightforward.

Lady Liberty drowning in red ink (quote from article) explored in two sketches.

And lastly, a bank picked clean.

The art director chose the Uncle Sam sketch, and I can understand why. This sketch is subtle and still dramatic, an approach I think is often best. As such, I try to offer a sketch of this type in every assignment.

Initially, the sketch was just Sam, and I added the reaching hands at the end as I felt it just needed something to represent the middle class victims (you and me) of the economic storm. I also like the play of scale between such small figures and a giant Uncle Sam that cannot help them.

Final Cover Artwork:

I slightly adjusted the cover art :) The masthead was overlapping Uncle Sam's head, and I reversed it for sake of the portfolio. Thanks for reading!

 The art director then went with the torch as the interior image:

Thanks to Gretchen for a terrific assignment!
Enjoy the Day,

Las Vegas Weekly: Criminals In the Family

Ryan at Las Vegas Weekly recently contacted me with an assignment I found pretty intriguing: one person's conflict about turning a family member over to the police. It seemed to be a situation no one would ever want to be in, and I thought it could make foe a good image. The deadline for this cover was very tight so I worked up some roughs for the AD to choose from:
VERY rough, I know. But when I provide such rough ideas, I work out a refined sketch to give the AD a good idea of what the final will look like; this also allows them to get a jumpstart on the layout:
I really like the way this cover turned out. I went through a lot of color versions only to come back to this approach.
Thanks to Ryan for encouraging me to work on a black background; that's always fun!

Enjoy the Day!

America's 1st Freedom: Richard Daley

I was very fortunate to be contacted by America's 1st Freedom back in March; they wanted a portrait of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley for their "First Things First" spread. America's 1st Freedom is a National Rifle Association magazine. Having grown up in a hunting and fishing family, I feel strongly about the right to bear arms. However, I also see the problems with guns in the wrong hands; it's a tough situation to mediate. But according to the article, Mayor Daley is advocating his drastic approach even though it is highly likely to be deemed unconstitutional, and he will continue his support of harsh firearm laws after this ruling. It seems even the Supreme Court can't get through to him.

Playing off the themes of immaturity and ignorance, I worked up these sketches:
As you can see, I had no qualms about showing Daley in a negative light; the AD felt the same way about the mayor's demeanor. Thanks to the AD for the photo reference as well! Here's a quick rundown (clockwise): temper tantrum, pouting schoolboy, blank face with plugged ears (grumpy alternative). I also thumbnailed possible layouts for the AD to work off of based on the sketches as well as some alternative compositions for the portrait.

These sketches were a bit rough due to a busy schedule, but the AD was cool about it. Thanks, Clay!

Pouting Daley was chosen for the final art, and I was thrilled. One reason noted was "I love the idea of putting him in a beanie in our mag." Ha ha!


Sadly, the beanie had to go as the NRA gave it the axe. Ah well, what can you do? Also, there is a very subtle color difference after I lost the beanie because I warmed up the colors a bit. Looking at the sketch, I think I like the initial likeness more; he's too pretty in vector :)

Thanks for reading, and thanks to Clay for supporting the beanie until the very end!

Enjoy the Day,

Sketchbook Excerpts Vol. 4

Hello. Here are some more sketch pages. I'm aiming at sharing these in every volume of the newletter. Feedback is always welcome!

Enjoy the Day,