Rob Dunlavey
Sketchbook: Dec. 2014
This is semi chronological for December 2014: I ping-pong back and forth between imaginary painted things, landscape drawings and doodles all in a black bound sketchbook. I also submitted the final art for a children's book and did some pro-bono things. Where does the time go?
Merry Christmas to all!
A small commission from Bernadette Dashiel of the New York Times last week let me dust off my editorial skills a little. Maybe some of you got the call and turned it down? The job was a breeze and fun to do. These days, I do personal work mostly and I'm working on several children's books. …I wonder how one chapter ("editorial illustrator") ends and the next one ("children's book illustrator") reveals itself. It's all a continuum of course.
The Times article was for a tech lifestyle section called "Disruptions" and it was about high-profile companies like facebook and Uber's questionable and even amoral behavior. This, despite their public stances of "doing no evil."
I first did a few sketches in pencil and ink and they were tepid. I slept on it and at 5:00 the next morning when I was more focused, I created a bunch of drawings in watercolor detailing the antics of the blue tech guy and a randy red devil. I received feedback later in the day and a suggestion to show more of a "partnership" aspect in the tech-guy/devil relationship. Bing-bang: send in a few more sketches and later, approval of # 9.
They wanted my digital style so that's what they got the following morning. It ran on Thanksgiving day. 
ABOVE: first round of sketches: watercolor & ink. Submitted as a multi-page pdf.
ABOVE: a second round of sketches.
ABOVE: The sketch they liked.
Bernadette wanted my digital style so the final was done in a Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I think the sketch is so much better!
In 1974, my older sister unwittingly gave me "Milton Glaser: Graphic Design" as a birthday present. I loved art but had no ideas, let alone ambitions, to be an illustrator or designer. But over the years of art schools, part-time jobs and countless trips to art museums, this book became as well-traveled as I was. I still refer to it subconsciously…as my sketches above might attest. The expressive ink silhouettes by Milton Glaser are another example of his elegant, witty and humane approach to Art. And that too is an inspiration.
Old Haunts
I was in Chicago recently for a high school reunion. Some of the atendees I hadn't seen in 30-40 years. The same goes for the Art: I'd taken a few classes at the Art Institute of Chicgo when I was  a teenager --so much has changed! Still, I visited a few old favorites (Impressionists, Manet, Cornell, The Hairy Who folks, Ferdinand Hödler, Seurat, so many images and objects have flowed through my neurons!) and pondered the journey so far. It's a great museum.
Matisse "Woman Before an Aquarium", 1921–23
Torbach "The Music Lesson" 1670 (detail)
George Muk: Saleratus Jart (bird design), 1848, Maryland
George Muk jar (detail)
Wilhelm Schimmel carved wooden eagle, 1865/90, Pennsylvania
When I got back to Boston life was just a little topsy-turvy, emotional messes here and there, a death of a friend. The sketchbook has always been my therapist (for better or worse)
10-22-14 (colored pencil, paint stick)
10-24-14 (ink, charcoal)
a Great Blue Heron 10-24-14 (ink)
Things started to look up 10-25-14 , mixed media
All those owls are for a new book I'm sketching out. And they are sliding over and crashing into paintings for a new picture book. I've been posting teaser images, work in progress over at facebook.
Almost done with that and it's gonna be great! But I can't wait to really sink my teeth into the owl book.
Bonne journée!
Before I go to work
Nifty brush and ink drawings of Canada Geese. Now that Summer is really here, the word has gone out to waterfowl far and near that South Natick is a destination!
There were lots of animals hanging around the South Natick Dam in the last week or two. As the water level goes down (unless we get more early season man-size hurricanes --unlike wimpy Arthur). Families of mallards will start holding swimming lessons, herons will be bumping into each other and children wil splash across the shallows over to the island to look for buried treasure and return home with poison ivy.
You can find me over there most mornings between 7:00 - 8:00 am before I go to work. 
He reminds me of the Marlboro Man: aloof, tall, strong and handsome.
Like just about every day I check these guys out. It's cheap therapy
Take a number! Geese line up on the tip top of the dam across the Charles Rover. Love that dirty water.
Drew this technicolor goose off site. I think it was in church…
The South Natick dam has a fish ladder on one end. I've seen fish trying leap up over the dam. There's no way they can make it over. They really ought to use the fish ladder. What were they thinking?
An Eastern Painted Turtle. His appearance was auspicious: I'm working right now on a painting of a similar type of turtles for a new picture book. More action shots in a facebook album:
These fish are too heavy and they do not spawn upriver as far as I know. They must weigh 10-15 lbs AT LEAST. There were about 15 big carp cruising back and forth along the face of the dam the other day. I blogged about them here
detail of three fish. (charcoal, watercolor)
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