Always the highlight of my year to do another FrogFolio illustration for JIm Burke. Thanks JImmy, for keeping alive... Keep those frogs from Croakin'... This year I was a little busy, so last minute effort. I chose the Tattooed frog, getting a a few more empty spots filled... Deadline Friday the 13th, and it's a Honey Moon.... Super lucky Bull Frog covered in Bug tatts... Much fun!
When I started this Illustration I had a couple ideas, but not much time to decide. So I did a dozen thumbnails... Carney Clown and Day of The Dead were top runners up, but Tattooed Frog gets the nod and we're off and running.
I had sketched off the tattoos in my sketchbook but left it on the coffee table at home. so I started this bug version but scrapped it at first because to me it seemed like it needed more traditional, old-style tattoos.
Change my mind again when the traditional tattoos were not reading fast enough as "Bugs". so back to this version.... Had I had a little more time I am sure I would redo them to some hybrid version but deadline is tight. Added details like stains on the tent, a few patches...a little more trash on the ground...and SHIP IT!
It is such an honor to be included in such a prestigious melee of talented illustrators, Carl Wiens fabulous robotic frog... so nice...(Chris Payne- Your pieces showed up on FB before I started mine ... lot of pressure, dude !), Victor Junaz, Wesley Albrook, John Dykes, Melanie Reim...so many great artists.
It's been an odd week for me, staying away from media, news coverage...it's just too disturbing. For those of us who have gone through any personal horror it just brings it all way too close to the surface. I have been trying to stay away from the obvious metaphors but somehow what's going on in the world still seeps into the personal work. This series started out as just a little experiment on color and the mood that it can create. The limited color palette seems to add to the creepiness and the dream like quality .
There are many of the posts I have missed seeing on Drawger. I will catch up later, need to finish candy houses, shopping, family gathering... Here's wishing you all a Merry Christmas. Have a wonderful holiday wherever your travels take you.
I liked the original two monsters so much that I decided to do more in the same line... one thumbnail, one sketch, one final. the original two are here -> http://drawger.com/billmayer/index.php?article_id=13445 Some of these turned out pretty interesting.. maybe a story to connect their paths and give them some purpose... Maybe something like this
"Goin' don that path is a feard' ta allas..." ....I was on my morning ride around the point and at the top of the hill on the road to Calf Pasture I ran into Mr. Pickle, in his heavy Scottish accent he said,"Goin' don that path is a feard' ta allas..." I had no clue what he was saying...but pretty sure it was something about the bike path...when I got home I wrote this silly story about Wee Pippie...
In a land in the far far North there was born a lass a big as Olde Knapp McGregor's barn. They called the beebye, Wee Pippie. No one quite knew why, as she were as big a lass that had ever been seen around Cramaché, and spoilt' she was too, as much as any child that had ever been. Pippie had a wee accident one day , when her God parents Uncle Fudd and Betty Byrd ran out of milk and Wee Pippy set upon a mission to make some milk of her own from poor Mrs. Shire's Dairy cows...A small group of volunteer Tartan Soldiers were dispatched to help remedy the dire situation. But alas they arrive seconds too late and stood in horror and watched the giant baby tried to squeeze milk out of the cow. A huge kerfuffle ensued with orders being thrown about and several cattle inadvertently lost before the Tartans could be herdn' them into safety...When they took the cowies away, Wee Pippie cried and stomped her feet causing a small town near by to collapse." Now that's my wee brae Pippie" Fudd said trying to console the little beebeye ," Now wouldn't ya rather come home for some neeps and tatties?"
The other day I was sketching in my sketchbook and I started drawing these little senarios for my little friend Bebo. In the same sexploitation and bad French (and now Norweigan) translations. This is a shameless jaunt through the rock and drug world, complete with a pair of Icelandic traveling companions Hotla and Helga, this story probably needs a rewrite but it was a lot of fun exploring. I am thinking it could still use a few more "fish" Clichés...all in all it was a blast to work on and I was pretty happy with the drawings ...writing well ,appologies in advance...Graphically I thought they turned out interesting enough to share....they were certainly a blast to play with. Couldn't resist throwing a few lines from one of my favorite parodies. If you Havn't seen "Fear of a Black Hat", put it on your Que. One of the funniest music parodies since "Spinal Tap."
nd yes just can't stop there is now a Bebo Trois...A rather stange trip back to the drug haze of Psycodelic Lutefisk, and a randy romp with Icelandic twins Helga and Hotla...Where the knulle this was going I have no idea but it was certainly a blast. I was trying to see if i could expand the pallet a bit. have the whole mess just pore out on the page and then suck it all back. I think it could definately use a little editing and maybe a rewrite. but graphically I was pretty happy with where this one went.
Stay tuned for more developing stories..What's up next ? I don't know., I never have any idea where these little silly things are headed, just sort of hang on for the ride...
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. For me, I am much more used to heavy-handed art direction, so this "Do-whatever-you-want" theme I have been getting lately is just such a joy. But also hard to settle down in any one direction. No art director, no writer... Just do whatever you like.... How much fun this would be....
I did the normal thumbnail blast of overthinking directions and came up with four ideas that I thought worked pretty well. So, I comped those up and shared them with Alison. She warned me not to show so many ideas; that although they will enjoy seeing the process, they will not understand them and probably take me off in a direction I really don't want to go in. So we talked about them, and she said, "Do what ever you want...." This is still so hard for me, making decisions on what or where to go with a project so I decided to keep working on them and flush them out and sooner or later one would immerge as the right direction. I took the candidates and ran them by my normal group of internal critics and they like three, which I took a little farther toward the final poster. I wrote some copy and put together some type to give it that Carny feel...finally the two that were working both worked so well I figured either one would make a great poster so Sent them off to the "Reply all" group for feedback. They were split on wich one to go with but now offered some input (yes, of course, never too late for changes) on copy. Adding the performers and free drinks and victuals...( I had to look up victuals...)
Here are the first set of thumbnails i did trying to get some handle on style a direction
I always loved Carney's, the dark, sort-of seedy side of those traveling freak shows and circuses that we were exposed to early in life. We had a travelling fair that would come through our town every year. I remember those so vividly. There was a great little movie version of a Ray Bradbary story, taken from a line in Shakespeare..."Something Wicked This Way Comes" This was a pefect visual inspiration for the feeling of those old Carneys that I remembered. When we were in art school at Ringling, there were lots of old circus performers that lived in the Sarasota area. It was not uncommon to pass them sitting on the porch of an old boarding house... a dwarf and a fat lady, just sitting, enjoying the day.
This stuff has so much great texture. Lee and I collected victorian taxidermy animal freaks for a while . You know Chickens being ridden by squirrels with a little whip... Vampire mice with little capes, animated birds.... There is a great little shop, I think it was called Shoefer's on 31st between 6th and 7th Avenue in New York where we found a standing goat who's penis flies out when you pull his tail. Yeah I know silly stuff to lay around the house, but fits right in with our gypsy junk. Shoefer's is a glass eye sales and taxidermy rentals, bizarre little place that we frequented to buy strange and mostly damaged dead things out of the basement.
second set of thumbs, tied a few little color studies, Liked number 44....33, love this little character on 29...gotta think of a way to use him...
took some of the four directions and did a little tighter thumbnail and added type. these little guys are about an inch and a half tall...
Just trying to get some direction from the client as to where they want to go...unfortunately I liked them all... I did my usual poll of friends to see which ones they liked and decided to keep working on three of them.
I don't know seemed like just too much color. I liked this version better in the thumbnail...
I really loved the Black and white drawings, and tried leaving it that way. added subtle colors and distressed the drawing... actually, I still like the limited color..
Here is the final poster I sent for approval...I wrote some copy to give it a "Carny" feel. Seemed like it needed a second color. Red and black always work...
Beagle Boy to replace the Black faced clown...
So I didn't have an art director on this project until the very end and then seemed like everyone had something to say about it. Less type might be better.(Like I designed it originally, before you added all of the type?) Okay, let's bounce it off a few art director friends i know.mThey all say more type is better so the type stays... I am off on other projects. Honestly, I killed myself on this one by doing multiple versions of the same poster. Live and learn... and finally, the black faced clown had to go.... I loved that silly black face so it was hard to let go of this... But I had already been warned by both Lee and Alison that this would be a problem. The black face I never saw as a black person, but a way to bring some solid weight into the top of the illustration... But Black-faced Clown has to go. Finding a replacement I liked as much took a few tries. Seemed like Beagle Boy would do the trick....and he did work just fine.... Still awaiting a decision on which direction they will go with, but I like both of them, so either way I will be happy.
Projects like this are always so fun, it's hard to settle down and just do one version. They don't really come around that often and somehow you just really don't want them to end. Thank God for deadlines to help them out the door and help folks make final selections. Big thanks to Alison and the folks at WorkBook.
I was recently on my old website and ran across this little series of drawings I had done some time ago. I had beed playing around with putting together some more little mock-ups last week for meetings with publishers. wednesday I wrote a little copy to go with them, and comped it up. I thought it turned out pretty funny. I edited the mimes down to half the number, probably needs to be edited and cut down again, but thought I would share it. Thought about using that little name we came up with for the bad egg... Edgar Oddskin.... liking it a little more.. Enjoy.
The Dead Mimes started out as a series of little thumbnail drawings for a good friend Rick Anwyl, who at the time had asked me to draw a harlequin clown for an Art Festival in Atlanta. I think he could not have imagined what would pour out of my little brain. We had just been silently been assaulted by mimes on the steps of the Metropolitan. The rest is a very disturbing cry for help and a long extended stay in a mental asylum.
If it's not apparent, JAZZOO is a fundraising event for the Atlanta Zoo. When I got a call to do this poster, it was pretty much an open canvas. Jeff Stewart, the art director, had gone through my fickr site and pulled off some old samples of "Blind Boys" and other samples of some of the more folk-art styles I had done a few years back. He sent them to me as a possible direction. I did the normal "bunches of thumbnails" exploration. They were having a lot of trouble understanding the thumbnails so I took a few and added color to make them easier to understand. As an after thought I did a second bunch of fun little folk art versions. Lee liked the folk art ones, but said "they'll never go in that direction..." It's great when clients act unexpectedly, and occasionally, it can make for some fun outcomes.
colored a few thumbnails to make them easier to understand.
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. worked pretty well.
This is the little comp I did, pulling all of the elements from the thumbnails together and organizing them to get a clearer idea of how the drawing would work. Some of the final editing came through after the painting was done to make it read better .We opened up the distance inbetween the characters and the type. I had initially thought about hand doing the other type until they sent me final copy. too much to squeeze into the illustration , Which seemed crowded already so I put the Type at the bottom.This will make it easy to edit as I am sure the copy will change several times before we go to print.
When I posted this on Facebook last week a couple of people mentioned a nod to the modernist. I really wasn't trying for that but when it was all finalized and put together it did remind me of one of those great cubist circus posters they used to do back in the 1960's. I can definately see some Flora infulence. Some of their wacked out cubist drawings are just so inspiring. My grandson Forest said, "Oh, retro Bill Mayer!..." I guess he's remembering those old scatchboard drawings I did of the birds ......the skeleton and The Blind Boys of Alabama....
The Lady in the Kimono was a simple illustration that went through several concepts before I landed on this one. The Idea was to do a kind of traditional Japanese lady in a Kimono holding a little iPhone. I had been playing with the black and white drawing with the collage elements worked in. Most of the time, the collage elements actually have more to do with the concept, but in this case it was just decorative. I loved the graphic line and old clip-art pieces thrown in. The diference in this and the stamp drawings was that the drawing came first and the other elements came later. With the stamps, they were always the first thing on the page and then I would come back and draw over them. I guess it works both ways.
The Hanging is another little collage illustration: taking a somber image and using contrasting collage pieces to bring humor into a rather bleak subject. Lee is not going to like this one, either... I can't show thumbnails or sketches because this is just a little thumbnail itself....
I did this little Cat piece trying to solve a little problem with a nice rat illustration I had that had no concept, just a nice rat.. Seemed natural to pick another celebrity cat to use. My first thought was Felix, and then Lee mentioned Hello Kitty... seemed like a great fit but after wrestling with how to make it work with the rat, I just decided it worked much better on its own. We were walking down to the Brickstore Pub to meet some friends, so I doodled this on my napkin to remind me.... Goodbye Kitty... Seemed like such an obvious idea, although Yuko Shimizu designed Hello Kitty for Sanrio, so for sure there needs to be heavy credit to them... all I did was add pink blood....
Just for clearification the Yuko that designed Hello Kitty is this Yuko Shimizu
This little drawing I came up with at the same time as the cat. Most of the time, when I am laying there thinking of little ideas I just roll over, go back to sleep and forget about them, but this time I actually sketched a little hieroglyph in my sketchbook to remind me. I love the traditional wood cuts from Japanese artists of the ninteenth century. This little drawing was influenced by one of Kiyomitzo's, but instead, the beautiful girl is replaced by an Ogre and the patterns woven with Japanese corporations. An attempted metaphor for the the new direction of a more aggressive Japanese business climate?
There are snakes under those Kimonos... and they have teeth...
And on my ongoing quest to get the portraits better, here's a little "Leaky Man" of WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange. I always loved those old cartoons, where the guy gets shot in a few dozen places and walks away, only to drink a glass of water and have it spout out from the bullet holes... old clichés never die... seemed so appropriate.
Okay a great way to stay sharp. take an object from your studio and do ten sketches :10 min.... The keys are so dull and cold let’s try something a bit more ….festive….. Candy Corn works for me.
Right brain thinking....So it's a little exercise I started when I was in art school...Doesn't have to be brilliant, ( and sometimes there not) just a great way of staying fresh and keeping the ideas flowing. Honestly this little set of drawings only took :10 but then another 20 minutes to scan them and figure out how to post them....but you get the idea.
Okay a great way to stay sharp, take an object from your studio and do ten sketches :10 min.... for me; ( insert some lame joke about unlocking the creative psycy) ...So a key works..... If you want to see more "Staying Sharp," see Staying Sharp #2. Right brain thinking....So it's a little exercise I started when I was in art school...Doesn't have to be brilliant, just a great way of staying fresh and keeping the ideas flowing. Honestly, this little set of drawings only took :10 but then another 20 minutes or so to scan them and figure out how to post them....but you get the idea.
So, waiting on approvals the other day, thought I would try out a few more brush drawings. I picked the goldfish because I was looking for some graphic elements that would lend themselves to the brush... Bought me a new Winsor Newton Series Seven brush and did these little sketches I thought I would share. Winsor Newton Series Seven is an old stand by for me but can't resist a little trip to the art store to get some new toys, and nothing works quite as well as a brand spakin new one. next time I thought I would try some different subjects, maybe a little more conceptual, adding color. But here's the first batch, hot off the scanner...couple more that were not on Facebook, enjoy...
Cecilia, from piauí magazine again and I have an enquiry. Here's the thing:
On our next issue we'll have a short piece by one of our great composers and dramatists, Chico Buarque de Holanda, where he tells, with delicious humor, about an old and out of print copy of a synonyms dictionary that he inherited from his father (a well respected academic). He loved and used the book so much that it finally started to disintegrate in his hands. He then decides to buy all the editions he could find of the said dictionary, just in case.
Recently he learned that the book is being relaunched and he feels a bit betrayed, as if something very private was being scattered in the wind for all to see. After each important word he lists the it's synonyms - for fun and emphasis.
I don't want to use a book to illustrate the piece, I am looking something very graphic, like an illustration made with type but not with words - our magazine is in Portuguese. Browsing your site I found a work (layout attached bellow) that is almost there. Almost... It then occurred to me that perhaps you have similar works not released on your site. Who knows... perhaps you have just THE illustration for that text. Do you think you have something that could fit (loosely) better than the one I found?
Please let me know.
Thank you very much,
Here are a few more images you can look through...
I can do one, we could scan in some parts of old dictionary pages, something that would in a simple way represent dictionary.... I will grab one, but I don't have a Portuguese dictionary.... do the same funny thing with them. when do you need this? b
just occurred to me that you may need words to make the tree. From the text:
He also 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:
I like that Idea...Okay a few more ideas for you to ponder. I was not familiar with Correggio's Jupiter and Io, I love this....
I may have skipped that art history class, but I am very intrigued with that direction. Here are a few more
to wade through. Get back to me as quickly as you can.
Hard to choose... I like that but I also like the "v" a lot. Since all are so good it will be safe to show all to the magazine's editor and let him pick one - and he will love that so much. I'll let you know! Right now he is busy on a meeting so I think we will only know on Monday... sorry about it. But I'll let you know as soon as possible. Thanks!
and the winner is......
Well ... we even delayed sending the page because we still cant' decide! Picture 1-3 is so much fun, so colorful (all your fonts together) I think it may be the winner. But I'll let you know. Sorry about it. We are not that undecisive usually ... but you gave us too many good choices.
(sorry it took us such a LONG time to decide)The page looks wonderful with it, fun, the art will attract the readers to the text. So, what shall we do next (payment, byline etc etc)? Raquel usually takes care of those things, I'll tell her to contact you.
Queen of Swords.
I 'm not really sure if there is a rational explanation behind this silly little drawing, I used to paste these stamps in my sketchbooks and draw over the top of them. I loved the contrast of the beautiful craftsmanship and stoic nature of the stamp and the playful, graffiti like gesture of absurdity. It makes me smile.
You know that call from you came at a time when I was going through a lot of hand holding with art directors and way too many revised sketches. And it was a perfect thing to bring me back off the edge of the building. Thank you.
Some of the dozens of thumbnails I did trying to work out the perfect line weight and composition. Trying many diferent combinationns of heads of state to find that perfect selection.Okay no thumbnails but much thanks to Maria Cecilia Marra , the art director who used it in the fabulous Brazilian magazine Revista Piaui....
A frank discussion with your lungs and why we embrace the things that kill us...
Recently worked with NYC-ME on a new pitch for a COPD account, we did some directional thumbnails for character development and part of the direction was to create this little lung character. These are the thumbnails I sent, and the direction they went in was a light line and simple color, to keep the subject matter less serious.
Here are the little thumbnails of the directions I pulled out and did a little color study of the two, I felt had the most potential. This was a huge amount of work done over one weekend included hundreds of thumbnails maybe thirty pieces of finished illustrations for print and story boards. After all of the smoke cleared I took the little direction they didn't go in and made it into a little comic called Poony Poony. A frank discussion with your lungs and why we embrace the things that kill us. I sent it to Susanne Frenk the art director she thought it was hilarious.
Originally this little comic started in badly translated French, I thought it was funny but the gang around the studio felt it was funny enough in English. So the mangled English-French-Spanish was a compromise. I loved the Idea of creating a comic. Grew up on them, collect those great underground comics from the 1960's.
One morning I was looking for some thing to drag down to Java Monkey with me and I ran across a couple of the old Zaps and stuck them under my arm and hoofed it down to the coffee shop without really looking at them first. Once I got my coffee and sat back and started reading them, I realized I couldn't just lay them out on the table and hiding in the corner I felt a lot like some perv.
I finally grabbed a go cup and headed back to the privacy of a park bench were us social misfits are much more comfortable. Those comics were great they addressed racisms and incest head on and in the face.
My comic had none of these social attributes it was just plain and simple smutty fun. Shameless tales of animal lust and fishnet hose...Originally I did these for fun but I decided to use them as sort a running strip through 3x3 directory. Unfortunately I got a call from Charles who said as much as he liked them they had to be single images, and technically they were multi images on each page. So I opted to run some of my stamp drawings instead
I have had this Idea for a painting in my head for a while. Ever since I read Blood Meridian, a novel by Cormac McCarthy. It was McCarthy's fifth book, but my first introduction to McCarthy. There was a description in the book of a bush the Kid comes across the heads of native infants impaled on the limbs their soulless eyes staring out. When the Fragile Planet project came along it seemed like a great fit. What I had in my head was the Earth as a fragile child crying black tears pooling underneath, a sad and somber piece. I did some little tumbnails and this gouache sketch on corrugated board as a study for a painting, then decided I liked the study.