Monday, June 15, 2015

An interesting freelance project subcontracted from a designer friend of mine.  Basically it's an inside joke the customer wanted to get printed onto t-shirts.
While sitting in a dentist's lobby waiting for a friend, I sketched out the rats on the back of a form that didn't print out properly.  I scanned them into Photoshop and inked away. :)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Blue Whales and Neoplasticism

 Inspired by printing out and hanging my bird illustrations, I started thinking about what I should do next.  I've never really illustrated any underwater life, which I had plenty of reference for from years of going to the zoo.  So, voila!  Blue whales to start.

Looking into some Piet Mondrian and Neoplasticism for some ideas on painting a bookcase, I created this bottom illustration to use as my desktop.

Adobe Illustrator CS2

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Couple New Illustrations

 A caricature of some friends we visited for Christmas.

A stylized mourning dove.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Something I decided to ink for #inktober on facebook.  Inspired after looking at a lot of Jack Kirby art, I decided to depict a character from a little story I'm messing with, and employ some Kirby dynamics.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Anniversary Illustration

Eva and Shadow
     For an anniversary present for his wife, my friend commissioned me to illustrate a picture of his wife and their recently deceased kitty.  For reference he sent me a phone cam pic he just happened to catch when the moment happened.
     I opened the jpg in Adobe Photoshop, and YIKES!  Very small and pixelated! (He warned me of the pic quality ahead of time).  Pretty much a small, dark, fuzzy 72 ppi jpg.  I forget the original dimensions, but my friend had asked for an 8.5" x 11" illustration.  Using Photoshop's Image Size functions (Alt-Ctrl-i) I increased the dimensions as far as I could without losing too much detail so I could work on top of the photo.  I could only increase it to about 8" x 10".
     Since I would print the final result, I set the Image Mode to CMYK (Alt-i-m-c).
     Dark rooms and phone cam pics without a flash don't mix, and so the photo had muddy colors and hard-to-see detailsAdding new Adjustment Layers (Alt-l-a) I adjusted the Levels and Hue/Saturation until I had a brighter, clearer photo.
     I created four layers:
--a background layer which I filled with white (Alt-Delete fills the layer with the foreground color, Ctrl-Delete  fills the layer with the background color),
--the photo layer,
--a color layer I would use to paint under the inks,
--and the inks layer.
     The inks layer: switching between my Wacom Intuos 4 and the mouse, I went for a kind of pen and ink graphic design stylization that kind of comes naturally to me, .  Using lines, dots, simplified shapes, and some Franklin Booth-inspired hatching, I drew over the photo.  I made some of the contours more geometric, and worked to capture the essence of the details with minimal shapes and strokes.  With the white background layer I could make the photo layer invisible (clicking the eye graphic next to the photo layer in the Layer Window) to see just the ink layer and check my work.

Inks Layer
     Painting in the color layer underneath the inks layer, I used the Eyedropper tool to pick colors from the photo layer.  I continued rendering with geometric shapes.  I kept the curtains, pillow, and shirt colors flat to keep the focus on Shadow and Eva's face.
 Color Layer

     I printed the illustration at the local Fedex/Kinko's and sent it off so it would get to my friend in time for their anniversary.  Afterward they both told me they like it and will get it framed and hung as soon as possible. :)
Adobe Photoshop CS2

House Sparrow

     I captured a rather handsome house sparrow with my trusty dusty Canon Rebel XTi.  Opening the photo in Adobe Illustrator I originally aimed for a much more simplistic, cartoony bird to match other bird illustrations I've done...
...however, this illustration grew into a contemporary retro piece.
     Sticking with simple shapes (circles, squares, lines, triangles) I decided to stay faithful to my feathered fellow's anatomy while rendering with minimal descriptionGeometric, but finessed, and daintily detailed just enough to make my sparrow recognizable and interesting. :)
Adobe Illustrator CS2

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Jimmy Freckles, the Asteroid Boy--Character Design meme

Line art: drawn and inked in my trusty dusty sketchbook, scanned into Photoshop, cleaned up and detailed.
Background turned into a layer and turned to Multiply.  Created another layer and placed underneath to add color.  Created the title in Illustrator and copied/pasted into Photoshop.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

CMI Promotional Video Art

Content Marketing Institute commissioned me to do some Star Wars-esque art for a promotional video for CEO Joe Pulizzi's new book. Here's the link to the video:
youtube CMI promotional vid
Here's CMI's website:

 The effects of bad content marketing

Jedi Joe to the rescue!

Jedi Joe confronts bad content marketing

Jedi Joe defeats bad content marketing
Is this the end of bad content marketing???


 Group reading

Sound advice

Adobe Illustrator CS2

Monday, August 12, 2013

Freelance Art for CMI

The Creative Director for Content Marketing Institute contacted me to do a number of customized illustrations to use for an e-book, their blog, and a book written by their CEO.  I'll post the art for the book after I receive payment for the art.  Until then...
The art direction for these four e-book illustrations had me imitating the art style of this video  --a sort of slick cartoony marker rendering.  They also asked for a sort of "everyman" to appear in various circumstances, to which we now refer to as "The Dude".
I submitted freehand sketches first for approval, then opened the sketches in Illustrator and traced/streamlined them.  These illustrations will go into an e-book.

These next illustrations went into a number of CMI's blogs.  The first batch they considered too "stock"...
These next illustrations they asked to do in "The Dude" style, so back to the cartoony style--
The direction for this suggested something like a dragon with "Lead Gen" on it somewhere, and someone with a sword.  I thought a biker beast with "Lead Gen" graffitied on a leather jacket versus a sci-fi ninja chick with an energy sword would be less generic
They asked me to do a color version of this toolbox to go with a presentation--

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Three samples I created for a potential client showing "business" illustrations they could use for their blog.  

Adobe Illustrator CS2

Monday, February 4, 2013

Groovy Doom Blog Header
My buddy Bill asked me to create a header for his blog Groovy Doom where he reviews horror movies which fall within his favorite genre.

I started a new file, 700 pixels wide by 430 pixels deep at 72 ppi (the size of the header on his blog at the time).  I opened a photo of my pal Skully the Skeleton in Photoshop and, using the Move tool, dragged and dropped the photo right into the new image space, creating a new layer.  Now I had the Background layer and Layer 1.

Skully's photo was waaay too big for the small image size (the original photo was 2176 pixels wide by 3384 pixels high at 300 ppi!).  So, with Layer 1 selected I hit Ctrl+t (Free Transform) to put a Free Transform bounding box around the photo.  Then, holding the Shift button, I manipulated the corner nodes and shrank the photo down until the head fit inside the image area.  Once done I tapped Esc.

To erase the unnecessary background, I used the Pen tool to outline the skull, which creates a vector mask.  I right-clicked over the vector mask to get the Make Selection... option and pressed Okay.  I deleted the Shape 1 layer in my Layers palate so I was left with just marching ants.  I inverted the selection (Ctrl+Shift+i) so I had the entire background selected, then pressed Delete.  This left just the skull on the top layer and the Background layer showing underneath.

I adjusted the colors (Ctrl+u brings up the Hue/Saturation dialog) of the skull and Background layer, manipulated the layer styles and blending modes until I came across something appropriately creepy.  I flattened the layers (Alt+l+f) into one Background layer, then saved the file as a .png.

Opening the .png in Illustrator, I used the Pen tool to draw the letters for "Groovy".  I knew I wanted the two o's in the middle placed over the eye sockets of the skull.  When the letters looked close to what I wanted, I opened the Effects/3D/Extrude & Bevel... option.  Manipulating the Custom Rotation box with the Preview checkbox checked, I rotated the letters to match the angle of the skull.  Attempting to move the shape nodes of the original shapes caused the 3D effect to blink out and lose the colors (If I'd have remembered what I wrote about this tool in a prior blog on my DeviantArt page I wouldn't have gone anywhere near it!).  Once finished I selected all the letter shapes and went to Options/Expand Appearance which converted the 3D effect into vector art (with an excessive amount of nodes and layers of shapes!!  Would rather have created the letters freehand with just the Pen instead of using this tool.)

For "DOOM" I used the typeface Impact.  After typing I turned the type into vector shapes via Ctrl+Shift+o.  I then went to Filter/Distort/Roughen... and used a setting like Size: 1 and Detail: 18 with Relative and Smooth radio buttons selected.  With "DOOM" selected I copied and pasted another version in front, offset the two copies, and played with the colors, Blending modes, and Transparency until I found something I liked.

I'd like to go back in and make some little changes, like the distance between the o's and the size of the D in comparison to the M, but otherwise I'm happy with this, and so was my buddy.  :)

Photoshop CS2/Illustrator CS2