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.


Beer + Paper = Fun

While at my friend's great bar in Orlando (Redlight Redlight - in Winter Park, check it out), I saw a funny version of my girlfriend, Danielle. I cut it with some color tonight, as I came across it while organizing.


Feeling the Paint

My parents were visiting recently, so with them I took my 3rd visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I am constantly impressed with many of the 19th-20th Century American and European painters, primarily Sargent and the great painterly portrait artists. I tried my hand at some oil painting in college, but didn't get far. About a year ago, I started up again and feel some slow growth. I will work more on it once REJECTS is finished, but for now, I'm just analyzing what I've done and what I have to work on. It's so fun to see paint move so well. Sebastian KrΓΌger (link on the right) is such an all-star at handling his medium with control and chaos working well together, and he inspires me all the time, yet I have to be careful.. I don't want to emulate his work, rather I'd like to grow by learning basics and getting better, while developing my own voice.

Feedback helps me grow, so hit me with some harsh crits, if you want.


Debating Styles

I have been fighting this for a long time: establishing a "style." When doing freelance illustration, I'm finding that my mentors weren't lying when they said you have to define your style as your unique product... that when they call you, they should basically know what you're going to do before you do it. I love the idea of growing, learning, experimenting, and rarely have enough free time to do it outside of paying work (don't be mislead, I don't do a LOT), but it's getting to where I feel I need to streamline, simplify, or just CHOOSE what I'm going to do from now on. I have several ideas, including marketing as a 'studio' with a look, or even marketing myself as 3-5 different artists! This isn't too crazy, if you think about it - it'd satisfy my creative and explorative itch. (was that even worded correctly? o well.) I'm sure I'd get sick of the demand for one of those styles, but I think it's time I define my 'product' for illustration. The frustrating thing is, I feel like I could do almost any gimmick and whatever happens to be 'hip' or popular at one time will be far more successful.. and WHO knows what those crazy editors and art directors will find kitch?!

Here are two illustrations I did (compare to work on my website, if you want to see what I mean) that were low-paying and I told the art-directors that I didn't have a lot of time, nor could I put a lot of rendering into it: that I'd do a quick cartoony look. The robot is from about 4 months ago, the pig from this week. They're usually pretty cool with it, but I'm wondering if I shouldn't just do it all the time and save myself the guessing game.


Britney Spears is On Fire

While freelancing with SO! Animation (before moving to NY to work with them), they produced several of these little pieces. This one is a test with the puppet idea. I like how shaky and ridiculous it is.


the Great Illustration Game

I don't do a whole lot of illustration, but I get my share of city papers, as that's what I've targeted over the last couple years with self-promotion. Sometimes they pay well, sometimes it's nearly free, but usually it's a good experience, because the lower-budget papers give you freedom. This is an example of a paper that decided to change a lot about the illustration. I won't say anything bad about them, as they were probably the most professional I've dealt with, but it's always a strange surprise when you find your artwork quite different on their website... after they thank you for the great work.

I guess it's an ever-lasting part of the gig. Caricatures will always have a sen
setive spot with many viewers, as long as they exist... I guess the rebel side of me gets a tickle out of the reaction, mostly because off the misunderstood nature of the artform.

I recently purchased Sebastian Krueger's 2007 calendar, and he/his management do a great job of covering this area on the inside cover; along-side a picture of Sebastian in Times Square, it reads:

...Kruger approaches nearly all of his subjects with a level of respect and sincerity contrasting the often extreme exaggeration of their features...

Smart fellow.


Tom Cruise and Gay Aliens

This was created by SO! animation before I joined the group, based on quick sketches of mine.