I probably shouldn't be telling you this, but I'm kind of buddies with Santa Clause. A while back, he was nice enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to pose for some reference photos to be used for illustrations. It was a crazy shoot that involved live rabbits, chickens, a puppy, and some very excited young children. Santa wasn't aware of what he was walking into that evening, but being his jolly old self, he modeled like a pro. Many thanks to all who helped.
Finally!!!! The Christmas art that gets worked on here year-round can be posted online without fear of angry mobs running me out of town for posting out of season! (made that mistake before!!) Prepare ye for a slew of posts this December!!! There's a pile of Santas, Snowmen, and Christmas cheer laying around here that has been patiently waiting for many, many months. I figured a puzzle image of happy people looking forward to the big day would be a good place to start...
Found this "Bits and Pieces" catalog amongst the junk mail the other day. Pretty fun for me to see one of my pieces featured on the cover. I guess they like me! That's always a good thing in this business. Also found a "featured artist" page in the center. Looks like I'm that guy who does puzzle art now. Fine by me. I like being able to feed my family and buy new underwear.
A strange thing happens to me from time to time... One of my long-standing sources of income has been drawing storyboards for television commercials. They are usually very quick turn-around jobs and are pretty much forgotten once they leave the studio. I'm not much of a tv watcher, but occasionally I'll sit down to catch a piece of a football game this time of year. Last night that strange experience came up where a commercial I had never seen before came on, followed by a very weird deja-vu feeling... and then I remembered "Hey- I drew that!" This time it's an ad for the Maryland lottery. Here are some of the frames below that were drawn many months ago:
So... this puzzle company, whom I'm very happy to be working with, keeps pushing the themes to a sweeter and sweeter cute-osity level. I don't know what's happening to me as an artist... I crossed the boundaries of coolness years ago and am now in a foreign land where kittens and ducklings are napping together.
Little did you know that while you were splashing and playing this summer, somewhere nearby there were multitudes of responsible animal parents teaching their young survival skills in the wilderness. See? Cute puzzles are educational!
The theme of this puzzle series is young animals playing games together. (Awwwwwww!!) Puzzle illustrations in this cute and somewhat realistic style have a been an ongoing thing around here for the past couple years. At first it seemed kind of an odd direction for me as my artistic tastes are mostly in the wild in wacky realm, but after a while I found myself really enjoying making these sweet innocent images. I'm actually really starting to love it.. Its hard to have a bad day when you're painting kittens and puppies.
Every year I have the pleasure of creating a series of posters and spots for the Public Library system. One of the reasons this particular job is so much fun is that I get to work in a different style every time! This year's flavor was concocted from a combination of tattoo art influence and a bit of 60s rock album cover art. The nice thing is that this is basically how I doodle all the time anyway! Please take a moment to pop over to my site and check out all the styles I currently work in. I'm still cooking with a lot of pots, which is how I like it! I'd love to cook up something for you!
What could be more exciting than a collection of straightforward generic-looking illustrations of heating appliances?!!
The funny thing is... these were really FUN to create! It's probably important to explain why though... First of all, when working in vector via Adobe Illustrator, I always find that the program takes my imperfect skills and magically transforms them into mathematically precise lines and shapes in a way that just puts me in awe. I sit back and say "yeah- I did that!". But really, the vector program did it. Secondly, these illustrations needed to be nice-looking representations of the gadgets, without needing to be completely mechanically accurate. If I had agreed to make these properly measured and mechanically precise, I would have most likely spent the evenings sucking my thumb and weeping.
Each illustration is based on an isometric grid. The process was pretty simple and less-than-scientific. A grid was downloaded for free from the web and via the transform tools in Photoshop, I stretched and pulled my less-than-helpful low-res and pixelated pieces of photo reference until a rough layout was created. The rough was imported into Illustrator, along with a layer with a grid. The vector was built on top of these and voila!