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.
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.
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!
Quick overnight spot illustration for Baltimore Ravens-themed Maryland Lottery tickets and billboards. Digitally painted in Photoshop. This was one of those fairly normal advertising agency situations where the assignment was given to me many weeks in advance but was put on "hold", and then one afternoon a frantic email shows up saying "It's a go- We need it by tomorrow morning!!!" Fortunately, it went pretty quickly and I was able to go to bed on time. Thank you internet for multiple references shots!
This one was a gas, Daddy-O!!! The scene was to create illustrations with a mock 1950s/60s barware vibe to be arranged and printed onto a old-style black metal cocktail tray. A combination of many things made this one a blast!... Whimsical character designs, mimicking an old retro look, the puzzle solving aspects of creating elements that could stand alone or in formation with each other, playing with lighting that works against a black background, and incorporating nostalgic text. The client is a cool connoisseur of cocktail concoctions who runs a site called “Mr. Booze”.com. I’ve done quite a bit of really fun work for him over the years- one of my favorites being the Mr. Booze logo itself. This tray was my kind of kitsch! Can’t wait to get my mitts on this baby!
I know, I know... An illustrator should not have too many styles. It confuses people. Although this advice has always made sense, it has also always alluded me. Eating the same food or watching the same movies over and over has never been my thing... nor sticking with one form of art. It's a bit of a sickness really. I try... really try to keep my portfolio down to just a couple of looks, but before I know it, I'm veering off into something totally new and different. I love learning new things- especially illustration styles that are challenging. This year, of all things, it's been digital paintings of sweet happy scenes for cards and puzzles, prompted at the request of a rep I work with. I have to admit, I feel a little weird doing them sometimes- the subject matter is really sappy! But for some reason I find them incredibly relaxing. Maybe because, in the light of sad news out there, it's just nice to imagine a world where dogs, cats and horses can share their pumpkins...