My second comic in an ongoing series for Tor.com, Lord of the Ringlings, is now live. Please click the link to see the entire piece.
After I did this sketch I realized that Gollum needed to be in water, and I also thought it would make sense to tart up the typography in a more circus poster-like manner; you can see the end result on tor.com. I was a complete Tolkein fanatic as a kid, I dug his own illustrations in The Hobbit too, so this one kind of flowed out pretty easily. Here are some beautiful British stamps that were made from some of his Lord of the Rings images, a few are by his son Christopher. The inner geek is alive and well.
This past weekend we went to our third "Walk in the Wild" at the beautiful Oakland Zoo. The weather was glorious; clear blue skies, hot and dry. This is the fourth year in a row that I've done the collateral artwork for the event, wherein they open the gates in the late afternoon/evening for fundraising patrons to come and sample local breweries, restaurants and wineries. Basically, you just wander through the lovely grounds with a plate and a glass and sample delicious victuals and look at and learn about these amazing creatures.
It's a fun gig and they always throw in 4 tickets to the event. All of the Oakland Zoo's animals are orphan or rescue animals, and man are these critters lucky they ended up here and not some other zoo. The OZ always have me do two images which they use in a variety of contexts that need to have animals from their collection, sans anthropomorphization, set in the landscape of their origin, and combined with music and food service imagery.
One of this years creatures was the Aldabra Tortoise, a species which had the good sense to make their home in the Seychelles, one of the most stunning tropical paradises on earth from what I've gathered. These tortoises lay around on the beach all day I think; it's a good life.
The other of this year's selected beasts was the African Lion. I enjoy how grumpy and put-out lions can look. This lady reminds me a bit of that Americon Idol runner-up from a few years back, what's her name... Ambrosia? Amnesia? Here (above) are the posters.
In addition to the signage and posters and prints and stuff, this year they made lables for wine made by Rosenblum Vineyards. It's a fine vintage, fruit forward and with a hint of reptile on the nose. Hey, who's that wino absconding with a bottle??
The evening isn't complete until we ride the sky tram. The view of the Bay is incredible up there, and it's always a bit of a thrill to be hundreds of feet directly over the tigers and lions. This year, a gust of wind on an otherwise windless day whisked Cynthia's hat off her head and into the bison fields far below.
My favorite food this year was the smoked crab cake thingie, served by Miss Pearl's Jam House in Oakland. Horatio's was up there too, despite the odd name for a Thai restaurant, with their peanut-sauce Satay skewers.
You don't feel guilty eating in front of the animals either, as the zoo crew had made sure that the animals all had their own treats, and because of the heat the animals each got their own custom flavored Icee blocks to slurp on. Unfortunately we missed the crocodile feeding!
Apparently, the zoo is having one of it's best years ever, despite the brutal economy. It's great to see the support they get from all of these patrons here. Here are some of the past year's images.
Edel's first portfolio post inspired me to scan these in, from one of my early portfolios upon freshly getting out of art school. For some reason I still have some c-prints of these lying around. I developed these drawings in my senior year, 1987, I believe they were oil pastel.
Like many young freshly graduated art students, I was hoping to get published in Rolling Stone. So, I drew a few charicatures and showed them to Gail Anderson, who freely offered criticism and advice. It wasn't until a few years later that she entrusted me with assignments. Here was my attempt at the "Let's Dance" era David Bowie.
This is a somewhat misguided attempt to illustrate Werner Erhardt's "Est" cult.
I was trying to include some economic images in my portfolio, so I made this somewhat generic image about oil.
My clumsy attempts at concept were going up against giants like David Suter and Brad Holland, but I did my best to figure out how to do it well enough to be given a shot. Stephen Taylor at Business Week was one of the first people to hire me in this style, it turned out to be a good relationship because even though I blew the first assignment by misunderstanding the dense material, he kept me on and had confidence I could get it right. Sadly, I've lost track of the pieces that I did for him.
It was a strange style. I liked to draw buildings. I still do.
Yes, these were the times of "Purple Rain". Not to mention, giant corporate record companies fueding over artist's properties.
They were also the times of Bush Senior, and a deep recession. I made my living waiting tables and tending bar. I don't know quite what I was trying to do with this piece, but there it is.
I made this piece, "Urban Jungle", into one of my first color mailers. Nicki Kalish at the NY Times liked it, and so began a relationship of doing work with her and others at the Times, even as my style changed and evolved. Ironically, many years later I'm developing this idea into a new children's book.