Major League Baseball: Reading Pitcher Body Language

Boy oh boy, am I excited to share this artwork with everyone! I assume it is cool to share this as it has been published, and I have tearsheets so here goes!

Back in September, I was very fortunate to get an assignment for the 2010 MLB World Series Program. I was super psyched to create this artwork, and I think it shows in the images! Along with the usual scorecard and player info, the program also features great articles for readers to enjoy. The subject of this particular article was pretty cool: how some players can "read" a pitcher's demeanor on the mound. In doing so, they can predict the next pitch to be thrown. With the article being interesting and fun to read, I knew I would have a blast doing sketches for two spots and a full page image. In speaking with Melanie the AD, I decided to pitch some images that could also work as a spread with minimal extra effort on my part. 

Spot and Spread sketches:

I gotta be honest and say I fell in love with the yelling back concept; I felt it captured the pitcher's body betraying him (a prominent aspect of the article). The crystal ball and stoplight were also favorites of mine as I thought they would challenge me in new ways. In the end, Melanie actually asked for a spot sketch as the full page illo and a spread sketch as a spot. Works for me!

Final Art (spread cropped because I like it that way):

I'm not going to lie: this project was awesome! I got to try a lot of new things in my work, I had a great art director, and I love the tearsheets. Thanks to Melanie for the commission as well as your hard work in getting me the sample issues! I truly appreciate it!

 In the midst of this project, the Phillies were doing well, and I was hoping they would make it to the World Series so that the city I lived in would also be a part of the event. Sadly, that was not the case. Hey, what can you do? I mean besides make like a bajillion errors in each game, that is. Eh, the Giants just wanted it more. Congrats, San Fran!

Enjoy the Day,

Scientific American: Speech Recognition Software

In October, I was asked to do a pretty odd-but-interesting editorial by Scientific American. The premise was the improving quality of speech recognition in computers and other digital devices. I had been wanting to work for the folks at Scientific American for a while, and I was super excited for the project (although I had no clue what I was going to produce).

I had met Michael, the AD, earlier in the year at the Society of Illustrators, and I knew from his personality that we would probably have the best time working in a humorous approach. That was fine by me as I feel that is a vital part of my own personality :)


It was decided to go with the imac sketch. I assume the choice was made as it focuses more on the reception of sound as opposed to the delivery from one's mouth. This is why I always think it's important to explore two or three themes in your sketches; you want to give the AD options in case your initial reading of the article was off. In my opinion, doing three sketches of the same idea with just different compositions isn't really exploring the subject matter; and where's the fun in that?

I was quite partial to sketch #2 (tongue of text), but it was stated that this may be too similar to the Rolling Stones logo and may confuse readers; although not intentional, I find it interesting that the association was made since that logo is a great example of turning sound (music) into something visual, tangible and relatable. In writing this and reviewing these sketches from months ago, I may take sketch #2 as I visualize it as a fun image; those lips could be a fun challenge, too.
The final image went forward without any hiccups (except an attempt at a flesh-tone imac: eww), and I was happy to add another non-figurative image to my portfolio. Thanks to Michael and Caitlin for a fun project, and I hope we get to work together again!

Enjoy the Day,

Phoenix New Times/LA Weekly: Immigration Cruelty

Before the end of the year, I was asked to do another immigration-based image for Phoenix New Times. I assume this was based on my previous immigration image for Barron's, but I've also worked with Peter several times resulting in images that we both always enjoy. The article is about cases of abuse brought about by immigrants; they are alleging that border patrols are being cruel to immigrants in several ways including beatings and stuffing too many people into police wagons when being deported. The latter is often referred to as putting them in "kennels." The goal of the article is to raise awareness of possible deaths at the hands of border patrol officers and give a voice to those who have been mistreated.

Preliminary Sketch:
We were on a pretty short deadline and I already had some irons in the fire, so Peter and I discussed cover concepts over the phone to save the time of doing a round of sketches. The result is a sketch I thought to be pretty powerful and immediately empathetic; as a pet owner, I have witnessed very unhappy cats in pet carriers, and who wants to be in a cage? So I just tried to take Peter's initial suggestion of a officer/pet carrier and turn it into a crowded hand-held mini-prison.

Final Art without text:
I'm pretty stoked with how this image turned out, and I was very happy to add it to my portfolio. In a nice turn of events, New Times' sister publication, LA Weekly, decided to re-run the image as their cover the following week. With so much exposure, I hope the article was read by folks who can do something about the way these people are being treated; even if they are not citizens, they still have rights as human beings.

I was lucky to have my LA-based buddies Josh and Julie send me copies of the issue as well. Thanks guys!

Enjoy the Day,

SF Weekly: Bait Car

I recently had a blast doing a feature for Andrew at SF Weekly. Andrew and I had collaborated WAAAAAY back when I was first entering the editorial field and he was working at Sacramento News & Review. So it was exciting to hear from him after his relocation, and he had a great story to tackle.

Apparently, a show called "Bait Car" is filmed in Los Angeles and was moving to San Francisco under questionable motives. Not only is the concept of a bait car often seen as entrapment, but the SF police force seemed to be allowing the show access for "fifteen minutes of fame." The article is a great read as it speaks not only on how wrongful arrests occur when good-intentioned citizens try to move bait cars blocking traffic, but it also addresses how many of these cases are just dismissed in court.

After reading the article, watching an episode, and reading folks thoughts and comments online, I decided to focus on the entrapment angle in my artwork. Here is a sampling of the ideation and thumbnails:

Sketches (very fun to draw this time around! More vehicles, please!): 

Andrew decided to go with sketches #3 and #5 with a slight revision to #3; seeing the steering wheel as too dated and sportscar-ish, we decided to make it a bit more generic and modern. Revision:


Upon, completion, it was decided that the skull emblem on the steering wheel was distracting from the concept and making the wheel hard to recognize. Goodbye, skull :) Final cover (Andrew did a great job with the text):

Interior layout. The interior actually had the viewer's shadow (you!) in the bottom right corner, but I nixed it in order to give Andrew room for text. Perhaps I'll add it back in for the website and portfolio...
Thanks for reading, and thanks to Andrew for a great assignment that made me stretch my skill set!

Enjoy the Day,

Sketchbook Excerpts Vol. 6

Here are some recent sketchbook pages from a Moleskine I tend to drag with me wherever I go. I am actually switching to a toned-paper sketchbook which I hope will result in some interesting work.

Enjoy the Day,