Bill Mayer
January 2012
Shows and Awards SI-54 AI-30 SI-West-50 3x3
This year the group that I was lucky enough to get into, Society of Illustrators-54 was a diverse selection of pieces. Some surprises, some disappointments but all in all thrilled to have a few pieces in the show. Disappointments on some of my favorite pieces that didn't even make the cut. Surprises in some of ones that did and especially the one that had a medal. Always a shock when something falls this way. Having judged several times I know how truly lucky it is when someone champions one of you pieces and you end up with some nice shiny piece of medal to show off to your mom. My mom will be thrilled. The Creative Carnival won a Silver medal in the Advertising category. I know there will be a bunch more deserving pieces I will see in the show. I know what a fluke it is whenever I seem to get one. So happy to get to plan another trip to New York. Hang out at Domo Sushi, go to a few galleries. Breathe the air, stand on the carpet, check out all the beautiful work...Always humbling...

"Creative Carnival" Sometimes something just lands in your lap with so much potential. When you have a client that is open for you to do anything you want, and an audience of your peers that will surely thumb their nose at anything sub-standard, you can't help but panic a little at first; right? This little poster was just so much fun from the very beginning, it was hard to see it all come to an end. Much thanks to all of the folks at Workbook for giving me the freedom to take this wherever it ended up falling.

"Under Pressure" It’s always nice to ease back into work with one of SooJin’s illustrations. We had a great break on holiday at the cottage in Canada. Great to unplug a bit, turn down a few illustrations jobs and just get lost. Now that we’re back, Jumping right into the thumbnails is a great way to get back in gear. This article was about the squeeze Euro companies are feeling on their benefits and retirement plans. Sometimes the most obvious directions work the best. SooJin had said that the article had been put on hold for some reason. Rarely do you get a chance to look at something again after you finished. I opened up the file the other morning and played around with darkening up the backgrounds. I like the feeling this gave the illustration and thought it might work better with the type as well so I sent off to SooJin to get her take on it. Altogether I think it made for a stronger cover design.

"Jazzoo" Part of the direction was that the poster had to be of a giraffe. I really didn't think about it much before I started, but that long neck became quite a problem. Tried everything I could think of to work my way around it; hooking it around, over the top, or just cutting it off. I think that is why, when it came to the little folk art versions, I decided to just " Picasso" it and ignore the long neck and move the mouth down and make it into a little face. This worked out better than I had hoped.  They loved this direction and their only comment was to make the drawing more colorful. So I took the little thumbnail and comped up a version with the colors close to the way I thought it would work. Then printed it out and painted over it on the light box.

" How Safe is Too Safe" The article was about too many regulations and safe guards that get in the way of productivity. I was thinking how silly it would look to have a huge guy with all kinds of floaties on afraid to go in the water. Sometimes it seems the most absurd ideas just fit.

" Resurrection " This drawing started off as an idea to take something disturbing and try to cover it up with something beautiful. Sort of a masking of the harsh reality of death but also became a symbol of resurrection as well. I thought this might make for a little series of its own. Taking evil or disturbing images and covering them with flowers.

"O Brasil é aqui" The art Director Maria Cecelia Marr wanted a shocking emotional cover for a story about the terrible rains and flooding in Brazil. Some people are dying inside their cars in Sao Paulo's usual traffic jams and here in Rio due to mudslides. The worst is that heavy summer rains are natural, not a surprise. But the cities are growing too much and too fast and either people construct in places that are dangerous or just construct too much leaving insufficient garden areas to absorb the water a very sad situation.

"Street Walker" I really like the way that the strong Back and line work together. I wanted to try some limited color treatment not to over power the line and yet give it a bit more atmosphere. I typed in to Goggle Translate a bunch of little things like "Frog Town Disco" and " All You Can Eat Flies" ...But I really have no idea what the type actually says. I just hope it's what Goggle said it was. I did think it turned out kind of cool. After letting it sitting around, I am thinking I like the Black line as much without the color.

"The Jester Dies" The Art Director Jim Burke really liked the idea of having the jester in the foreground, so I was determined to at least give it a try. I darkened the figure in the foreground and put several layers in between, lighting the background and creating some visual distance in between the two. Added a little reflected light also to cool down the foreground figure. Boy this was starting to get really complicated... Hey Jim When is this thing due?

"Death Of The Mouse" This little drawing started out as a little thumbnail, well they all do. But I just loved the satisfied look on the cats face and it reminded me of Our friends cat that used to bring home little presents and leave them laying around for them to find. He would eat the main parts but leave the crust. The nose tail and little feet laying there in perfect position. When I started putting in the mouse it just seemed like a perfect fit to have a famous mouse take the victims place. When Oz-cetera magazine called me about an image for their cover I pitched a few of these new little drawings I was playing around with. This one they picked for the very first online cover.

“Death of Frog 2” Unfortunately, we had a long time until the final art was due so that leaves a lot of time to rethink what your doing. Jim suggested if I had time his second favorite was the Heron with the frog on his nose... I had an Idea to do some really loose painting a limited palette of colors. Not another airbrush Photo-shopped piece. So I played around with doing these really loose brush drawings. The paper was not getting me anywhere so I tried painting on a glass. A really nice experiment with some great surprises..

“Words To Impress and Seduce-1” It was Maria’s Idea to do a play off of the Correggio's Jupiter and Io, I love this direction but thought I would try something more graphic with the words caressing the woman. Like Magical realism… The writer  tells that he made a note of the best words and used it to impress and seduce. Do you know Correggio's Jupiter and Io?  Your drawings of women are SO beautiful, if you like the idea, perhaps a cloud of words could envelop a woman... In this case use only:passatempo: desenfado, espairecimento, entretém, solaz, recreio, filistriamonopólio: açambarcamento, exclusividade, hegemonia, senhorio, império

“Words To Impress and Seduce-2” Another variation of the same Idea having the words make up the “Mons Pubis” or the Mound of Venus” didn’t really dawn on me that no one has pubic hair any more ,especially the Brazilians. So I think this idea was totally lost.

“The Disappearing Act” I got an email from Minh at New York Times about a little spot illustration for a story he said he would love for me to do. I can remember reading it, thinking, "Edel must be on vacation…" Anyway, a great little story about how “we seem to be losing the digital right to be forgotten or deleted." In Europe, there are legislations for consumers (if they wish) to have their personal information be deleted from company data banks. In the US, there’s no such thing. These companies need to keep your info so they can sell you stuff and trade it w/ others. Seemed pretty straightforward.

"All Wrapped Up." It was about bundling services in your retirement plans. It's more about having all services from one place. Bundled service. Can you focus on bundled coming from this direction? Seemed like a fairly obvious idea once SooJi put me on the right track. I liked the the kind of surreal image of the man with the drawers in his body…

“The Bad Egg” I woke up Tuesday morning with a little idea for a story, I had thought about exploring the Goldfish / Death of Frogs style a bit and what better way to do it than in a sweet little story. I came into the studio and painted a few illustration’s . When I stuck those on the scanner at 11:30 I started writing the little story down. I finished it and printed it out at 12:00 just in time to read it to Lee over lunch. She liked it so when I got back from lunch I did a few more, then went for a walk up the mountain. I walk everyday , it’s a great way to clear the head. When I got back I showed the story to my grandson Forest and he edited it, we had our editor artist meeting around 4:30 when he got home from school, He suggested adding a few more frames to flush it out a bit. Wednesday  and Thursday morning I finished adding the new frames ,designed a cover title page and back cover. The last children’s book I did for Simon and Schuster took a year and a half of waiting drawing and revising this was a real treat to do the whole book in two and a half days. Thursday after noon I got some direction from the Harford Stage thumbnails I posted last may, you remember those? I barely did myself. But finally on to final sketches and hopefully finish. This little exorcize was pretty fun. Not sure if it would be a Caldecot winner but I hope you will enjoy it just the same.

Society of Illustrators West, thrilled to be in the winners circle again with anpther "Patrick Nagel Award" for "Jazzoo". A little gouache drawing for a poster and promotional  for Jeff Stewart / Zoo Atlanta. A SIlver Awardl in the intitutional category for the Dellas Graphics / Jim Burk " The Jester Dies", a Bronz Award for WorkBook / Alison Cury" The Creative Carnival" and an Honrable mention for the "Under Pessure" illustration I did for SooJin. Somehow I think even though this show is much smaller it's just as much a thrill to see anything you've done get a little attention. With a total of nine pieces in the show, there will be a lot of great news to share with all of the great creative flks who really are ust as much resopsable for the ultimate survival and printing of these pices. Much thanks to all of them...SooJin Buzelli, Jim Burk,Jeff Stewart, Alison Cury, Mihn Uong, Marianne Serigy, Christina Wills, Thanks you all so much....You're the greatest....
5 little things...

I got a call from Marianne asking if I was working over the Holidays.Well, I had really been planning a little time with the family but Marianne is so sweet and  it looked like a pretty simple little project, so sure why not. Five spots in a simple style should go pretty fast....Ideas always come pretty easy, I just sat down and did the thumbnails  and sent them off for her to get back to me on what worked for her.

Then I had a second thought , what if i could use some unifying theme and tie them all together. So I did a second set of thumbnails with a circus theme .I could do the "Housing Crisis" as a clown getting out of a car or carrying a ladder and saw. Uncle Sam as a clown, China a a fat man, saw the world in half...or shoot it out of a cannon....this could work.. I loved the monkey in the top hat....I really liked this direction but Marianne decided on the ones she liked. I drew them out scanned them in and colored them. Then set them aside and off to Christmas and our annual hiking trip to Mount LeConte .
- Housing: Is it finally bottoming out?
- Europe: Can its leaders over come political sclerosis to avoid the worst?

- China: Can Chinese leaders engineer a soft landing for their economy and amp up domestic consumption?

- Politics: Will the U.S. political system behave itself, avoiding government shutdowns, threatened defaults, or divisive recount battles?

- X-factor: Can we be lucky enough to avoid the random, destructive things that held back growth in 2011--no more Japan earthquakes, no spikes in oil prices due to Middle East turmoil, etc.?

But wait there's more.....When I got back I had thought of a diferent way to finish the spots in more of a kind of folk art , I don;t know maybe more contemporary way and I thought it would be easy enough to put them together and at least she'd have two options. Why do I want to do this? I don;t know, It's more work for me, A good chance she won;t like the newer direction.... Oh who cares it will only take a few hours to do, and the main reason is I like it.....So here's what they look like...
 I am never afraid of taking a chance on trying something new....
- Housing: Is it finally bottoming out?

- Europe: Can its leaders over come political sclerosis to avoid the worst?

- China: Can Chinese leaders engineer a soft landing for their economy and amp up domestic consumption?

- Politics: Will the U.S. political system behave itself, avoiding government shutdowns, threatened defaults, or divisive recount battles?

- X-factor: Can we be lucky enough to avoid the random, destructive things that held back growth in 2011--no more Japan earthquakes, no spikes in oil prices due to Middle East turmoil, etc.?

In the end she liked the the second direction a lot but decided to use the more traditional looking illustrations and drop the watercolor paper backgrounds and use them on stark white...I think her design worked better with this direction. but I still think these little gouache drawings have some potential somewhere....I am never afraid to try something a little different...

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