Brian Stauffer
February 2009
Skin Deep
Cosmetic companies have figured out that sufferers of Eczema will pay just about anything for even a glimmer of hope that they can cure or manage their skin disease.  Unfortunately the creams that cost 6 to 10 times more than existing treatments produce the same results. That was the topic for this illustration that ran in yesterday's New York Times 'Style' section.
Thanks to NYT AD Barbara Richer for being such a pleasure to work with.
After my John Grisham portrait ran in the NY Times a few weeks back, I received a number of calls requesting portraits, not my typical fare. So I decided to do a couple experimental images to continue working on this very tough form of illustration.  Hats off to those who have mastered it.
This is supposed to be Kate Winslet.
Hazarous Topic
Many communities don't know what cargo rides the rails through their train yards and over their rivers and lakes until a catastrophic derailment spills those contents all over hell and back.  Illustrating the dangers to the public health when hazardous materials are transported by rail was the assignment from Roy Comiskey at Security Management Magazine.  He was a great guy to work with as always.
I really enjoyed the line work in this one.
Appraising Lies In Home Lending, For BusinessWeek
What does a governing body do when it finds a systemic practice of home appraisers and lenders colluding to inflate values of homes? They make a law requiring a licensed middleman to ensure accuracy.  Unfortunately, the appraisers who were doing the bogus assessments simply changed the names of their businesses and began offering their services as the watchdogs.  (article here)
This was the subject of a juicy assignment from Ronald Plyman and Steven Taylor at BusinessWeek.  Below are a few sketches and details images along with a screen grab of the final in the spread.
This is another image in a recent series that reveals a bit of an evolution of my work.  I'm still tapping into found objects and textures, but more and more adding the element of line drawing.  It's a bit different from previous years work but still me, I hope.
Toxins,Toys, and Blood Spatters, Oh Boy!!
A while back I was asked by Los Angeles Magazine AD Steven Banks to do an image about the lingering issue of lead paint-tainted toys from China.  The inspiration for this solution came from my own house as I watched my two 6 and 7 year old boys clutching their favorite toys as they slept.  The idea that something so treasured yet toxic really struck a nerve. Although there are many different types of toys affected, dolls seemed particularly poignant to me since the lead in these paints is transfered by touch, rubbing off and staying in a child's system forever
I had done a version earlier the day before that was a bit more sensational and graphic, showing the manufacture (think toxic doll factory) which was approved, but it just didn't think it would hit a nerve with readers.  Thanks to Joe Kimberling and Steven Banks at the publication for handing me this one and for keeping open minds to change.
A short while later I received another assignment for the same magazine from Deputy AD Lisa Lewis for a tricky book review.  They were reviewing two books on completely different subjects but wanted the art to address both.  The common thread was the LA Noir style both books were written in.  One book was about a crime scene clean-up technician, the other was about a restaurant critic. 
I thought this image made for a fun, albeit unlikely,  combination.
And lastly, Greg Klee from the Boston Globe is a fairly regular source of rich topics.  An assignment for two images discussing a theory called "Toxic Life" proved rich with possibilities.  The idea behind the theory goes contrary to the idea that if left alone, nature will right itself, being that it's a balanced system.  The writer states that if one considers that there was in fact a time in the planet's history when oxygen was a gas toxic to organisms that thrived on methane and sulphur, eventually killing them off.  He described many examples of where, when left to it's own devices, the Earth would literally kill itself and many of its' inhabitance.
2nd piece for Toxic Life article
Fat Assignment
"Thinking with your stomach"
What goes on in the brain of those who wrestle with obesity?  This series accompanied an article in Neurology Now Magazine that delves into  the thought processes and lifestyle habits  that lead to obesity, as well as, the unhealthy effects on one's ability to get recuperative sleep.

This was another in a long string of assignments from Anthony Kosner, AD for Neurology Now.  A number of our collaborations have found their way into the annuals, in no small part due to his appetite for doing things thoughtfully.
Alternative sketch
"Obesity leads to uncomfortable sleep"
Alternative Sketch
"TV consumption leads to increased food consumption"
My Contribution To the Drummer Show
A few months back I got a call from fellow Drawger Scott Bakal about being included in the Cut To The Drummer exhibit.  Sandra Dionisi at The Bipo + Mimi Project suggested that I do a portrait of Darrin Pfeiffer of the band, GoldFinger. 
Below is the base drawing/sketch that I incorporated into the final along with a few collaged textures and even a bit of watercolor.  I also wanted to try an unusual composition, somehting new to me.  The figure was drawn absed on pics i took of myself and with drumkit layout schematic diagrams. 
Thanks to Sandra for creating such a showcase for illustration when it's needed most, and a big thanks to Scott for sharing the opportunity.
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Stauffer is teaching at TutorMill, an online mentoring site for students of illustration!