Portrait assignment #1 for Roger Black at TYPE Magazine, Issue No. 1, Fall 2017.
Been working with Roger Black since 1977. First illustration assignment I ever did was twelve Mexican album covers for Promexa Mexicana as an assistant to Philip Harrison Hays. I was an illustration student at the Art Center College of Design. Roger was the Art Director. Very shortly afterwards, I moved to NYC and Roger gave me a New York Magazine Cover about new subways. I totally blew it, but Roger never stopped hiring me. So grateful to the great state of Texas, and the wonderful art directors who gave me a shot.
How To Build an Autocracy, The Atlantic (March 2017)
The Warm-up Drawings (To see more drawings, please find previous post, The Atlantic, Warm-Up Drawings, on Drawger.
Cover Comps; I submitted a total of 25 cover (photo) comps for this assignment. Through this process, the art director and the editors slowly began to focus their lens. Here are a few.
Cover Art; Initially, I painted the cover art in 3 pieces. 1.) The Sky 2.) Mr. Trump. 3.) The Crowd.
Eventually, several revisions were made to the crowd and thus the necessity to draw several more figures and revise 40 or so heads in the crowd.
The Crowd; Damn good thing I love to draw because this part of the illustration took 9 hours for the first rendition, and then probably 5 more hours of drawing and Photoshop time. The figure of Mr. Trump was fast and easy, and the sky was kind of a process using acrylic ink, watercolor pencil and digital media. All 3 pieces were painted at a different scale for speed and detail.
This is the story of the murder of Dr. Eugene Mallove, cold fusion pioneer. Dr. Mallove was beaten to death in an act of senseless, and random violence. The case went cold for 8 years, until a new investigator, Detective James Curtis finally solved the case.
This is a process piece about a recent assignment I did for Fortune Magazine titled, Battle for AIG. The assignment was essentially a re-creation, portrait illustration about a confrontation between Bob Benmosche and Harvey Golub. For reference, I used photography sent by the art staff at Fortune, and other reference from the internet. In Mr. Benmosches case, I assembled him from several pieces of reference. What follows is a look at the layers of my photocomp, and then the layers of my hand painted, FW acrylic ink illustration.
The exterior view, no.1
The middle ground; Office windows
The Foreground; Mr. Benmosche already assembled from several pieces of reference.
Foreground; Mr. Golub!
Extreme Foreground; The Desk
The Background; Another option
Back Ground; This?
Background; That's the one!
Step 1: For the sake of time, I decided to paint this illustration in layers. I painted the background at a small scale, the figures at a slightly larger scale, and the portraits at still a larger scale. For this layer, I painted only the windows necessary to complete the task.
I then copy and pasted the remainder of the windows using Photoshop>Warp Tool to adjust the perspective.
Senate Russell Building Rotunda, Washington, DC, "Bravery and Sacrifice: NYPD Heroes 9/11 and Beyond," an art show created to memorialize and commemorate the NYPD personnel response to the events of September 11, 2001.
I painted this band illustration of Imagine Dragons for Mark Maltais at Rolling Stone magazine this month. I used FW acrylic inks, watercolor pencil and digital nuance to create the image. Some fun!
Sketch: Trying for hierarchy, calligraphic brush work, chiaroscuro, triangular composition, good spacing and scale of the ovals and ellipses, foreground, middle ground, back ground, good abstract light shapes, good black ink composition and fiery energy.
Process: Calligraphic brush work, energy, and hierarchy of big black shapes to small black lines.
Final Art: Select light shapes, Rock concert lighting and garish, lurid, hellish color. Rock on!
Tear Sheet: Nothing like a good old fashioned, well designed tear sheet and the smell of ink on paper.
This is my 2014, teaching / sketchbook drawing from life portfolio. Some of these drawing are in a sketchbook, some in a sketchpad, using a variety of tools such as pen and ink, brush and ink, watercolor pencil, FW acrylic inks, watercolor, and digital media. All of these drawings are from life. Some were done on location in places like Union Station, Chinatown, The Fairfax Farmer's Market, and Zorthian's Ranch and others were drawn in the classroom. Many thanks to the fantastic art models who are the subject of these drawings.
I did this asssignment for The Washington Post last month. It was a story about a nun, a painter, and a wanderer, all non violent activists who cut through chain linked fences and climbed over hills to get into a nuclear storage facility in Tennessee. Once there, they threw blood from a fallen comrades body onto the exterior walls, and spray painted passages from Isaiah as well.
The assignment was a lot of work and a very quick turn around, but in the end, I got a lot of positive feedback, and even sold a set of prints to someone who enjoyed the story and the illustrations.
I painted this portrait illustration of Bill Cosby for Fred Fehlau and the Playboy Jazz Festival. Along the way, I documented the process by scanning the drawing (1.) then the drawing with shadow shapes (2.) then the added tonal washes (3.) and finally the finished result (4.)
There were no pencil lines laid down to guide my brush drawing. I draw with a Raphael Kolinsky #8, round sable, watercolor brush, and I start where I like.
The medium I used is FW Acrylic Inks, and the surface is BFK Rives printmaking paper. The image is approximately 20 X 20 inches. I started in with Cosby's right eye and worked out towards the edges of the face, as opposed to starting with the shape of the head and working towards the smaller interior shapes. I find that I am much more sensitized to the topography of the head, and the life in the face when I proceed this way.
When I was a student learning to paint portraits, my education consisted of observational drawing, awareness of line, shape, and tone, some proportion, technique, design, composition, the study of color and value of color, and the anatomy of light.
Since then, curiosity and pedantic obligation has lead me to study Leonardo Da Vinci's proportions of the human head, and various anatomists identification of the muscles in the face and head; the obicularis oris, glabella, Levator labia superiors alaeque nasi, dilator nasi and greater alar cartilage of the nose, nasolabial furrows, nodes, orbicularis oculi, the philtrum, yada yada yada.
Of course, anatomy is not drawing, and nothing can replace empathy for people, their character and personalities. For me, knowing correct proportion intensifies the wonder and glory of life's imperfect faces, and knowing something about the muscles of the head demystifies the subtle forms that are the underpinning of the human visage.
Here are several illustrations about "Confrontation" I've done in 2009. All were for magazines, most were full page, some were half page. The clients were Harvard Divinity Magazine, Rolling Stone Magazine, G.Q. Magazine, Security Management Magazine, Forbes Magazine, Golf Digest Magazine, Reader's Digest (London) Magazine, American Cowboy Magazine, and Asset International magazine. In these stories, the subject confronted a wide range of forces including war, addiction, religious beliefs, patriotism, arrest, intimidation, avarice, criminals, a very big fish, a storm, poverty, sexual predators, shotgun weilding gangsters, and the viewer. Confrontation comes up a lot for me in my illustration work.
Time magazine called on 4.7.09 with an assignment to do 10 small portraits for the Time 100 issue.nbsp Fortune magazine called on 4.8.09 to do approximately 7 illustrations for a story about the rise and fall of Bernie Madoff.nbsp Later that week, another portrait for Time came in.nbsp All 18 pieces were due on 4.24.09.nbsp That meant 18 illustrations in 15 days!nbsp For some illustrators, that is not such a big deal.nbsp For me, this was a definite challenge and a reason to be very nervous.
The Time portraits were simple and straightforward.nbsp Do a portrait of the subject and don’t worry about concept, or even a background!nbsp The Fortune illustrations were a bit more challenging because the assignment required that the same character be depicted in several illustrations, and that the environments be credible, and that several characters be represented in a narrative kind of way.
The fees for both assignments were handsome.nbsp In this economy, the combination of both assignments represented a fair amount of money and even a chance to relax for 15 minutes after the work was done.
Throughout my career, I’ve done similar assignments for clients such as Sports Illustrated, Wig Wag, The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, and G.Q., as well as other clients.nbsp One would think I would have the experience and confidence to move through this work without any undue sense of fear and anxiety.
Well, I got it done and here it is. nbspAll I can say is that being an illustrator is like shaving without a mirror.nbsp If you can’t “feel” it, you’re going to bleed.
I've always loved to paint faces. I did this illustration of James Moody for Fred Fehlau and the 2008, Playboy Jazz Festival. What follows are portraits I've done of musicians going back to 1977; Buddy Guy, 2007 Playboy Jazz Festival / Chuck Mangione, 2006 Playboy Jazz Festival / Art Blakey, 1980 Playboy Jazz Festival, and best in show, Editorial, 1980 Los Angeles Society of Illustrators / B.B. King, student piece, 1977. The Elvis, Hank, B.B., Bobby Blue Bland piece was done for the Op-Ed Page, 2007.