Monday, December 22, 2008

Johnny Cash

I love it when Jose Reyes, Art Director of Paste Magazine calls, he always drops the sweetest assignments. He has a gift for matching the illustrator to the right project. In the November 2008 issue, Paste Magazine reviews Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison: Legacy Edition, and Jose wanted a full page portrait of Johnny Cash illustrated from that era, circa 1968.

I drew up a few pencil sketches. I wanted to provide Jose with different moods for this illustration, so he could have a choice.

Here's the Review page as printed, with all the graphics and logos. To make the illustration really match Paste's page layout, I sampled the aqua color from the "R" logo and painted the background behind his head with a bit of it. I also sampled the light red from the same logo and used that in the center of his face. With that done, I was pleased with the way it all turned out.

$65 includes shipping within the continental US, prints are gently rolled in tubes and shipped via USPS, signed and titled by the artist.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

NPR 2009 Calendar

It was a great honor to be one of 12 selected artists asked to develop a piece for the NPR 2009 calendar. Meghan Gallery, the Director of Creative Services was a treat to work with, and I finally got to see what studio 4A looks like.

Henry Butler - Pianist. From his live interview in Studio 4a. Ink on paper 11 x 14.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Life Drawing Workshop

I've been spending my Thursday nights at Jacqueline Nicolini's studio, brushing up on my life drawing. These drawing were done in colored pencil at 18" x 24" and take about 20 - 40 minutes each.

Life models: Teresa, Cecilia (circus girl) and Myra.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Chinese Democracy

I was knee deep into an advertising project when Steven Charny from Rolling Stone called. Naturally, I dropped everything, told him my schedule was clear, and began listening to him describe the illustration assignment. "Lead review illustration for issue 1066, Guns n’ Roses’ “Chinese Democracy”. We want Axl Rose in performance with lots of energy and action." I spent the next week doubled up with work, while having the funnest time ever drawing Axl.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Vince Young

Art Director Andi Beierman called from The Texas Monthly and asked me to illustrate Tennessee Titan's Quarterback Vince Young. I love drawing sports heroes, especially when there is a dark twist. Questions of Vince Young's mental ability to handle disappointment plus his physical injuries have sidelined his season.

I sketched a quick layout of Vince Young against the dark Tennessee skyline and Titans Stadium trying to create tension between the skyline and the figure. I refined his face as a colored pencil drawing, as a study for the final inking.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Improper illustrations

Juliana Hatfield - musician

I worked with Katie Noble and George Restrepo illustrating 5 pieces for The Fall Arts Preview in The Improper Bostonian. This was a really fun job because I got to illustrate other artists, musicians, actresses, and writers. Since these pieces were to hit the stands right at the peak of fall, I decided to use brighter and more vibrant colors than usual.

Simon Rich - author of "Free Range Chickens" and writer for SNL.

Since Simon is quite young and his book has chickens in the title, I couldn't resist placing him in a little egg. Even though the final illustrations would print small, the size of the original ink drawing is much bigger. 11" x 14".

Anne Kauffman - writer of the "The Communist Dracula Pageant"

Annette Benning and Meg Ryan in "The Women" by Diane English

Tara Donovan, Artist.

I was amazed by Tara Donovan's work. She takes everyday items and transforms them into epic items and landscapes. One of the great things about being an illustrator is doing the research on the people I draw and learning things not usually in my scope.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


These drawing are from my sketchbook. I drew them more than a year ago, back when Obama was an unknown longshot.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


This summer I illustrated a series of 6 Voting Posters for MGM Casinos. Art Director Cory Pilot and AE Erin Olsen teamed up on this fun project done through Virgen Advertising, Las Vegas.

Just for fun I drew everything at poster size, about 30 inches tall.

Now go VOTE!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Paste Punk Rocker

Jose Reyes the Art Director of Paste Magazine and founder of Metaleap Design asked me to illustrate a cover for their International Issue - Redefining World Music. This was our first job together and since this assignment we have worked on a few more pieces together. I'll post them later.

I was asked to draw a Chinese Punk Rocker as the issue would hit the newstands in time for the Olympic Games, hosted in China. As it turns out, Punk Rock is a growing thing in China. Chinese officials are allowing it, even though it is a form of protest normally frowned upon. Music and culture is one of the few things America is exporting that other countries want. This infusion of cultures is what is "Redefining World Music".

This is what the printed cover looks like next to the original drawing and inking.

Technical details: I drew this using an old school #2 pencil on 11" x 14", 100 lb Strathmore paper. I inked one size up on 14" x 17" smooth bristol paper with Sumi ink and a Speedball 513 nib. Jose sent me Photoshop templates of the magazine cover, with the title, headlines, cutlines and all that, already in place. I just drew into whatever space was left.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Runner's World

Joel Klock: Wear Tester for Runner's World

I illustrated these portrait's for the newly re-designed issue of Runner's World Magazine.

Art Director Marc Kauffman asked me if I had time to draw 3 portraits for The Fall Shoe Guide, the next day he called again, said there were now 4 portraits and asked if I wanted to "bat cleanup". I wasn't sure what it that meant, but I said yes anyways. I finished out the week illustrating 13 teensy spots of people's feet in different stages of running, in addition to the portraits.

When the issue came out I saw what "bat cleanup" meant. My teensy weensie illustrations on one page, right next to fellow illustrator Mark Matcho's full page spread, full pager and 2 quarter pagers.

My portraits printed at 1 5/8 " tall, it was a challenge to make the drawing read at that size.

Ms. Dye: Wear Tester for Runner's World

I sketched the portraits in my small 7 x 10 sketchbook with colored pencils. On these little portraits, I ink right over the top of the sketches, using a lightbox, making corrections as I go.

If you compare the sketches with the final illustrations, you can see how I'll move the eyes up and over, or change the line work, using the sketch as a rough guide.

Brian DeRath: Wear Tester for Runner's World

Erin Maloney: Wear Tester for Runner's World

Monday, July 28, 2008

Heath Ledger

I drew this portrait of Heath Ledger earlier this year, after he died. Now his movie "The Dark Night" is a huge box office hit and Heath is not around to enjoy it.

Carpe Diem, people.

7 x 10 inches. Pen, brush and ink on 80lb Strathmore 400.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Black Book Portraits

Mike Longo over at Black Book Illustration asked me to draw portraits of the entire staff for the masthead of the Black Book 2008. I worked with designer John Dill of Pickled House, who did a fabulous Job designing the book and the interior sections.

The original inking were done right in my sketchbooks, one of them is small 6 x 8, the larger sketchbook is 11 x 14. Some portraits were draw with brush markers, others with pen and ink.

In addition to illustrating the masthead spread, Mike Longo asked me to design an 18 x 24 inch point-of-sale poster, using the 12 portraits used in the book, plus an additional 4 staffers. That's 16 matching portraits for this project. Nice.

Each Black Book staff member needed to have a "code name" to go with their portrait, and I got to make them up. Giving people nicknames is one of my favorite things to do. So, it was pretty neat be use that ummm "gift" in my work.

Joe Resudek: Cobra: Even though he looks 16 years old , he's the CEO and runs the show.

Maggie Lipson: Viper: Maggie is the VP of Black Book.

Mike Longo: The Closer. The Art Director on this project and an all around nice guy. When not stepping in as the AD for special projects, he is charge of marketing.

Joe Paul: The Muscle: Joe is the designer over at Black Book. They never let him out of the cage because he designs everything over there, but this is what he looks like.

Linden Hass: Ruby: Linden worked production on this project; she is also the photo editor at Loft Life Magazine. Busy girl!

You can see all 16 portraits on my website or in my illoz portfolio:
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