1.28.2007

Peeper Toad

No, it's not a species... I think.

This is a little private commission from a law firm that wanted to honor a member (retiring? birthday? not sure). Anyway, they were excellently professional and kind, so I enjoyed the process, despite the fact that it's overly cute and simplified. They wanted a "Mr Toad" (mr toad's wild ride) body with the colleague's head (mr peeper). Keeping it simple was an objective, as well as not focusing on extreme grotesque exaggeration - even slimming the Mr Toad body was thrown in there, but it didn't bother me too much. It was a fun assignment. One thing this gave me respect for was those that use digital inking (Chris Wahl, Lar deSouza)- I'll need some tips on that, as my Wacom gave me little wavy lines unless I zoomed WAY in.

Either way, it's fun to show the middle-of-the-road gift caricature commissions sometimes, to keep things honest. Nothing I'd throw on a business card or promo-packet, but it's the meat and potatoes of the work.

It also gives me reason to consider this as a regular illustration approach (much like the pig/robot illustrations, below), because of the ease and simplicity it has, while delivering a clear message. Cartooning is a great thing, and has so much diversity and thinking involved (decision-making). There was a time when I emulated many artists' styles in my sketchbook, mostly Stephen Silver and Keelan Parham. It's a great way to learn.

As always, critical feedback never goes unnoticed or unappreciated.

4 comments:

Piotr said...

Lar and Wahl have some of the most cleanest lines, and it looks like you did a good job here too! I have to practice more, my hand is as shaky as the Hawaii Seismograph!

Melton Art Sketchpad said...

Joe,
In my opinion the eyebrows don't feel quite finished. Everything else in the picture has some black linework except for the eyebrows. I am assuming he had light colored eyebrows? Maybe just a few small black lines would help make them look finished.
Eric Melton

Zitman said...

I'm so happy to see this stuff from you too. I got a big commission and all they wanted were 32 drawings exactly like this.

Jason Seiler said...

Joe,
I'm not quite sure this style or look is quite right for you for editorial or illustration work. It's not up to par with what I know you can do, it looks like you didn't have much time, so you just whipped it out. That may not be the case, but knowing what you can do it comes off that way to me.

If you really want to start getting editorial work, or illustration work on a regular basis, you have to have a body of work that all says JOE BLUHM, there should be a consistant look to your work that people recognize right away. Art directors don't think outside the box much, and they don't have time to mess around . . . you need to spell it out for them, make it simple what it is that you do.

Your Trump (posted above) and the drawings you've done for Frank Caliendo are far better then most of anything I see in MAD (especially lately YUcK), Rollingstone, TIME . . . etc . . . you've got your own distinct look and style with those, and the style is very strong and sophisticated. You're one of the best caricature artists alive today, no joke, so my advice is to not mess around with work like this, you don't want to confuse art directors . . . you have something brilliant to offer, so do it man!