Thursday, August 25, 2011

Who watches the watchmen?

You know that eerie feeling, like you are being watched? I'm thinking the Albuquerque Police Department has been experiencing that recently. I did this illustration to accompany a story (in the Weekly Alibi, click here to view) about how the City Council in Albuquerque voted to have the U.S. Department of Justice investigate the APD. The Feds said... They were already looking into it! OooooOOOOoo!

So I decided to set the illustration in a diner, because I love drawing food. I've got Lady Justice with a chocolate milkshake and some unlucky cop about to take a bite of his lemon meringue pie, when he realizes... That he is being watched!

Researching diners was a lot of fun. So many great visuals. I can see why George Lucas wanted to put a diner scene into Phantom Menace. Right. I can only imagine what the computer jockeys were thinking when Jorge asked them to concoct a diner scene for STAR WARS. For no good reason. At all. For more thoughts on matters of this nature, I recommend RedLetterMedia's hilarious autopsy of that whole fiasco.

Here is my initial sketch. I was struggling to put the "DINER" lettering in the window, but eventually gave up and decided to just try really hard to make the setting look like a diner without literally spelling it out.

And here's the refined sketch. One day I hope to get to a point where I can skip this step and go straight to final. In the mean time, I will hug my giant Wacom tablet to my chest and drink more tea.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Macleans back page obituary illustration

My latest piece for Macleans, for a Hindu man who loved the Vancouver Canucks and wrote his fiancee more than a hundred love letters.

Macleans now has an iPad app, so part of the job is creating a spot illustration that incorporates elements from the larger frame. I enjoy this part, it's a bit more abstract than I'm used to being:

You can see in the frame that the background images of the buildings are faded away and washed out. That's what happened when I did the silkscreen print of it, and I was on the fence as to whether or not it was a desirable effect. I had a digital version that was all crisp and perfect:

I sent the art director both versions, just in case. We decided to go for it and run the silkscreened version! I really like it when an art director will give something a chance.

Here's the sketch:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Featured on WoW Insider!

Disclosure: I play World of Warcraft! Not as much any more, but in the good old days it was all about the raiding and the sweet, sweet, epic gear. I've even crafted my own gear in-game, but the best gear I've ever crafted has been a series of in-real-life Warcraft-themed t-shirts for my friends and family.

I have a tag on this blog for all of it, but I'm really excited to share it with fellow players on, the BEST site out there for Warcraft articles, commentary, and news. I've visited their site pretty much daily for years, which makes it even cooler that I've managed to get on there!

I also have some other video game art too.

Thanks to Anne Stickney at WoWInsider for the feature and for editing my wall o' text answers to her interview questions :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool! -- National Post Travel section

Here's something that got published in last Saturday's National Post Travel section! The illustration is for a humourous travelogue written by Ken Hegan, wherein the author visits exotic locales while incorporating the philosophies of many wise gurus into his personal outlook. In this installment, he visits Boston Bay, Jamaica while absorbing the teachings of the sagest of sages, Mr. T. (Click here to read Ken Hegan's article, "A fool's paradise")

In a series of ancient VHS recordings (painstakingly archived for all eternity on YouTube), Mr. T advises kids in high-waisted, acid-wash jeans to "Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool." He instructs them on how to overcome frustration, anger, embarrassment, basically all of life's troubles. Very inspiring! Lots of breakdancing.


In this sketch, I have the author surrounded by some of the obstacles he encountered during his trip. Uncooperative cabbies, a drunk Belgian who wouldn't let him into the dumpy beach hut he booked, a man who shaves Hegan's hair Mr. T-style, and the kids who laughed at him when it was done. The background also includes the cliff-side bar he enjoyed at the resort where he ended up.

For this sketch (and the one below) I wanted to recreate the look of those chintzy figurines that are the mainstay of every souvenir shop. This one is a souvenir version of the composition the art director eventually chose.

Here's the second souvenir concept sketch. In the article, Hegan writes about spending the night at a cabbie's house (after the aforementioned inebriated Belgian refused him entry) where he enjoyed the company of some of Jamaica's local fauna. Do bugs count as fauna?

And here's the one we went with! I included a bunch of stuff mentioned in the article, such as patties, rum, the cliff-side bar, one of the multi-story huts at Hegan's resort, and tropical beverages. I also put in Jamaica's national flower and the hummingbird was meant to represent Jamaica's national bird, only its tail isn't long enough and I ended up eliminating it so the composition wasn't as packed.

This was my second time working for the National Post (see my first job with them here!) and it was tons of fun. I love when an art director has the confidence to assign such different kinds of pieces to me -- It's always nice to show a bit of range!