Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Gentlemen’s Quarterly

Christopher Buckley

Russell Simmons

50 Cent

Drue Wagner at GQ called for a portrait of satire novelist Christopher Buckley. I didn't know much about him at, but you'd hope he'd have a sense of humor with a dad like William F--! I used the pen to reference his well regarded book (and movie) Thank You For Smoking.

A month later Drue called and they wanted a portrait of Russell Simmons. He had just written a book about hip-hop and his Macchiavellian approach to power-building. I thought we should draw him as Macchiavelli and we finalized the above drawing. Soon afterwards Drue let me know the story was being held for the next issue and expanded. A few weeks later we got the story, a humor piece and it referenced 50 Cent and a lot more bling - so this is the one that ran.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Seasonal Concepts (not just a store at the mall)

Pilgrim’s Crossing

Leaf Lookers

Anywhere But...

Egg Coloring

Sometimes it is nice to just draw. These concepts are cover pitches and/or postcard promotions for an intended season - with bigger canvases, broader concepts and a self-imposed deadlines (amazing they got finished).

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

New Yorker - Goings on About Town

Kim Basinger, Danny Devito in Even Money

Jeremy Piven in Smoking Aces

Fritz Lang’s Fury

Pamela Sneed, Monologist

Merce Cunningham

District B-13

Wassup Rockers


Grant McLennan, Musician

On Deadly Ground

Over the last year or so, it’s been a blast working with Maximilian Bode, New Yorker art director and Illustrator (also - the least boring name in contemporary illustration). He's sent me lots of great action and noir movies to tackle as well as a French made Hong Kong style sci-fi thriller. Who knew?

Prior to working with Max, I created several illustrations (below) for Owen Phillips over the years. Owen’s distinguished art directing tenure at the New Yorker (and frequent restaurant reviews) led him to an editorship position at Men's Vogue.

Infernal Affairs - Tony Leung Film Festival

Downtown Show art opening

Edgar J. Ulmer, American Film Noir / Yiddish Cinema pioneer
Kiss Me Deadly
the band Afghan Whigs (second drawing ran)

Monday, May 7, 2007

New York Times Op-Ed

The Sky is Falling, Really

OK Corral

Gratuitus Disaster Coverage

Death of MGM

I have drawn several New York Times Op Ed spots for Brian Rea, who - in the tradition of Op Ed page art directors - is a terrific illustrator. Sometimes I try to get painterly with the black and greys, although the immediacy of the ink drawings can be a refreshing change from color work.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

New York Times Book Review - Continued

Returning to Earth by Jim Harrison

Lay of the Land by Richard Ford

Nature Girl by Carl Haissan

Nature Girl by Carl Haissan

I had long aspired to illustrate for the New York Times Book Review, which Steven Heller built into a venerable institution of art and design. When the reigns passed to Nicholas Blechman last year, I got the opportunity.

It can be an interesting challenge to boil a whole novel down to one image - especially when you only have a short review to work from.

Philadelphia Magazine

David Senior and Michael McCormick (who I'd worked with at Indianapolis magazine) called me in for this story in Philadelphia Magazine. Apparently the state fund raising chairs for both campaigns work in the same Philly law firm. We used the Liberty Bell to keep it local, but I think this drawing might sum up a lot of stories before 2008. (It also reminds me of a joke my dad used to tell about an animal that was a bear on one end and a rabbit on the other... can't remember the punch line though).

New York Observer - New Yorkerators

Rufus Wainright

Matthew Modine, Mark Forster, DJ Spooky at the Soho Apple Store

Elvis Costello concert and record reissues

McSweeny's Earth Explained

Bloggers from Baghdad

Whacked Sopranos - Panel Discussion

Explosions in the Sky

Andy Warhol / David Lynch

Jack Bauer Power Hour (drink special)

The Hazzards

Art Director Nancy Butkus invited me to illustrate the NY Observer’s “New Yorkerator” page on the eve of the paper’s major redesign. She and the editors have been very positive towards the work. It's become a regular gig with a lots of drawings and tight deadlines - and yielding many good results.

Los Angeles Magazine - Ed Note Drawings

As the regular illustrator for the Los Angeles Magazine Ed Note page (Joe Kimberling AD) or several years, I got to learn a lot about Tinsel Town. The gig ended last fall with a redesign of the magazine. I miss drawing their palm trees on cold winter days.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

New York Times Book Review - America at War

Nicholas Blechman of the New York Tims Book Review called thinking that I might be able to pull together six book reviews on the topic of America at war.

Luckily Nicholas gave me a few weeks to research and render the look of each battle. When in doubt, I drew lots of fire-- (leading him to conclude that I just like drawing fire). I've had the pleasure of working with Nicholas his self-published magazine Nozone. This carried on the spirit of some of those earlier collaborations.

ReadyMade Hipster or Homeless

Recently George McCalman moved from art directing Mother Jones to the top AD spot at ReadyMade. We've done many projects together and he asked me if I knew someone who could handle a little cross hatching. I assured him that I, myself, could pull it off, since I used to cross-hatch a lot in middle school! It was a great change of pace, and a learning curve since Geo and I had to consult many RM staffers - all 10 years younger than we are - to get the style details right.

Mother Jones - Not Easy Being Green

This was a series for Mother Jones about companies’ success, or lack of success, at running a “green” business. Art Director extraordinaire George McCalman pushed me to keep it loose on these.

2 Bob Morris covers, and one that got away

For an illustrator, landing a hardcover book jacket is a real thrill - Steve Snider from St.Martins Press had seen my Fresh profile in Communication Arts magazine a few years ago and decided I might be a good fit for the debut novel by Bob Morris, Bahamarama, a neo-noir mystery novel that follows a tough-guy hero based in the Florida Keys. The pulpy cover came together quickly with Steve’s Zen-like direction and it stood out nicely on the New Fiction shelves.

Bahamarama was a big success, garnering Mr. Morris a well deserved Edgar nomination for his two-fisted prose, and me a call for the sequel, Jamaica Me Dead. It also came together well although it had a little more pressure on it due to the first novel's success.

When the third book came along, the editors said they really wanted to do something “special” with this cover (read new direction). I have to hand it to Steve and AD Jerry Todd for sticking by me as we tried to maintain a series look - but I knew I was sunk when the editor requested something less “low-brow”-- ouch!

Anyway, here are several low-brow sketches for Bermuda Schwartz. (You can see the finished books on Amazon).