Thursday, April 28, 2011

Historic Trauma Cases # 3

Recently I was given assignments to draw Steve Allen and Frédéric François Chopin for my job at Advance News Magazines. I thought it was interesting, both being piano players. I know very little about Steve Allen aside from the Tonight Show and the CDs I have with him playing as Jack Kerouac recites poetry. Steve is finished here in the style of all the other Historic Trauma illustrations...

I know even less of Chopin, but I like how intense he looks in the one known photograph that was thought to be taken in 1849, the year of his death. I referenced that photo, which can be found all over the internet. This drawing is still in its rough stages, but I wanted to give an early stage of the process before I pretty him up with ink and color. So this is Frederic as he now sits in my Moleskine sketchbook, waiting to become a final draft. This is usually what my final pencil sketches look like before I get feedback and approval from editorial staff...

I think I have John Lennon coming up in the next couple months. That will be some fun drawing time.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fishtown Shad Fest 2011 - April 23 at Penn Treaty Park

This coming Saturday I will be at Penn Treaty Park (on Delaware Avenue) for Shad Fest 2011. This is the 3rd year I'd reserved a table. I hope the weather holds out and brings a crowd. I will have new Fishtown T-Shirts and ladies' softball tees for sale. I will also have some of my comic books I'd be happy to sketch in.

By far though, I think the most fun item I will have at my table is a limited edition silkscreen printed gig poster I illustrated for Shad Fest's headlining act, Black Landlord. For those who don't know Black Landlord, they are a full-on funk/hip-hop group based here in Philly led by Maxx S-Williams (formerly of The Goats and Incognegro). There will only be 100 prints. Each will be hand-signed and numbered and up for sale at the festival.

I went over different concepts with Maxx. We discussed several versions. One was a spoof on "Where the Wild Things Are" with him in the wolf suit on a boat labeled "MAXX". But we decided this concept, inspired by Slim Pickens' famous Dr. Strangelove scene, was way more fun (except we had him riding a giant fish instead of a bomb). Joannie helped me out with the blue and orange color scheme. I wanted something festive that'd pop on the white background. The awesome dudes at AwesomeDudes are making the screens and will be doing the printing this week, so we can have them hot off the press by the weekend.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I am a patient boy. I wait, I wait, I wait, I wait...

These past couple months I have spent many hours sitting in the waiting rooms of hospitals and doctors’ offices with Joannie, mostly Temple’s Foot and Ankle Institute. I can only play so much “Angry Birds” before my mind starts to turn to oatmeal. And I can’t bring any large-scale drawing projects with me, because there’s just no room for that kind of work. But I have started bringing a small Moleskine sketchbook. So in between bouts of spanking all of Joannie’s opponents in online Iphone Scrabble, I’ve been noodling around with “throw-away” drawings that don’t take too much concentration. Since January, I’ve been very gratefully gainfully employed at the University of the Arts, and also keeping part-time hours at Advance Newsmagazines. I am happy to be working, but my drawing time has definitely taken a hit. With everything around me being so regimented and work-focused lately, these waiting room visits have actually become a good time to come up for air. It’s been really nice to take this time to escape into quick and tiny sketchbook work, especially while sitting in a crowded waiting room. It’s sort of like hiding in plain sight. These moments make me remember that initial joy of drawing I had when I was four.

Anyhow, this piece was drawn in a small sketchbook while sitting at the Foot and Ankle Institute yesterday. I did it with colored Micron pens. It started out as a guy singing with a cat, but I decided to turn him into a gravedigger once I put the bowler cap on him, and the cat became a gas lantern. Please don't ask why a gravedigger would wear a tie. It seems like back in the old days, a lot of fellas wore hats and ties no matter what line of work they were in.