Archive for the 'Illustration' Category

Heeeeeeeeeeere’s Ronnie

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Art direction: Kim Maxwell Vu

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A true rarity for me–a portrait assignment(!) of Ronald Reagan(!)–for the Washington Post’s Style section above. This ran on the front of the section in conjunction with reviews of three separate documentaries being broadcast about Reagan on 100th anniversary of his birth.

There were two distinct added bonuses that came along with this assignment:

1. Despite it ultimately amounting to a killed sketch, this nevertheless did present me with a chance to take another crack at a straight, no-frills pencil drawing. Having vowed as recently as New Year’s Day to do a little more of that kind of thing this year, it seemed wrong to not indulge the opportunity. So there you go:

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2. I do love a chance to wedge the illustration into and around the copy whenever it can be done and Kim Vu was a game co-conspirator.

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Business Week: After The Spill (+1)

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Art Direction: Patricia Hwang

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This illustration for Bloomberg Business Week came together quickly after the story that Patricia Hwang and I had been working on prior to this was killed. The large oil drop is attached to a piece reporting how small, independent drilling companies are being bought up by larger oil corporations in the wake of the Gulf oil spill.

The story which we had been working on previously (which, naturally, I’m now keenly interested in reading), examines how the announcement of Goldman Sachs’ new finance reporting guidelines amount to little else than a shuffling of numbers just complex enough to present the impression of work. It’s obviously a weighty accusation, so it’s entirely possible that tabling the story while conducting further extensive reporting might have been why it was pulled. Details of the sketches I submitted are below.

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Letters – Solving the States’ Deficit Problems

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Art direction: Aviva Michaelov

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Unless the advent of time travel reveals itself to us in our present time in the next few hours, the final New York Times’ Letters illustration for 2010 is above—and it concerns an issue that’s been brewing enough for the past few years to safely count on it percolating in 2011. On the state level, many of them (Illinois especially) are running on deficits between overdue payments while sponsoring tax cuts. The letters written in response to the Christmas Day editorial are all roundly angry and understandably so.

As our manic, stymieing, never-once-boring-not-even-for-a-second year of 2010 collapses in on itself like a dying star, a crazy thought: maybe 2011 is a good time to resume paying actual taxes?

Provided that those who have them now remain fortunate enough to continue having jobs?

Happy 2011! (I hope)!

Social Sifting

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I recently wrapped up working with art director Patricia Kim on a feature illustration for Bloomberg Business Week which looks at a new breed of startup that builds applications which crunch and interpret data (read: comments) on Facebook, Twitter and the remaining social networking ilk to better inform corporations how their products are faring in the marketplace. The success of such applications is contingent on speed as well as the ability to parse sarcastic speech (which, as it turns out, is a little tricky).

The breakdown of the varying degrees to which these applications work is naturally tech heavy, so behaving as true contrarians, Patricia and I decided upon collaging antique machinery and old engravings to depict a distinctly of-the-moment process of parsing ones and zeroes and profiteering.

I was grateful to get this assignment when I did, as I was (and to some degree still am), playing over so many great moments from what is quite possibly the only movie that ever need broach the subject of social networking.

Epic Confusion

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The second rush gig which capped off an epic week of little sleep was the cover for this past week’s Week In Review. Working with Kelly Doe for a fast few hours before jumping on a plane, the article describes the new modern arc of the superathlete a la Lance Armstrong, A-Rod, Lebron James, etc., and how the public’s perception of heroic athletic feats has changed from a sense of awe and aspiration to one of justifiable skepticism. Michael Sokolove kinda, sorta nails it in his opening:

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The notion of looking up to the sports hero was always dubious. Now? Forget it. The new definition of a sports hero is someone whom we don’t yet have enough information on. 

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This one happened so quickly that, in a rare, borderline miraculous feat, we were able to get a concept approved over the phone without preliminary sketches. I’ve heard tell of this feat done with other, far more seasoned designers who contribute to the Times, but being the searching, second-guessing soul that I am, it’s rare that I’m ever so comfortable committing to an idea first before trying to work it out on paper first, so this was a new one on me. Once the idea was approved, I had a few hours to obsess over how best to render it. The other version that we tried out which didn’t make the cut uses a torn paper conceit which I will absolutely hold onto for when the right assignment comes around. The sculpture won’t carry over but I’ll be sitting on those shreds of discarded paper like a mother hen.

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The Twilight of the Dirty Rich

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This past weekend while in the mountains of southern Virginia for a cell-free, wifi-free wedding, I had the unlikely fortune to have illustrations on the covers of both the Washington Post’s Outlook section and also the Times’ Week In Review. Mercifully, these pieces were polar opposites in terms of scheduling and content which in turn helped to keep my brain limber as both pieces were tied up amidst the frenzy of other ongoing projects, the day job as well as the joys of beyond-last-minute packing.

The piece above for the Washington Post revolves around the growing development of the nation’s youngest, richest business folks making their money (and thereby influencing policy) from tech based, environmentally friendly ventures as opposed to the oil and auto industrialists of yesteryear. Working again with Kristin Lenz on this, she distilled the message to me simply: “Dallas, this ain’t.”

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After my first round of sketches, Kristin landed on a way to rope the image into and around the headline just as we had done on a previous assignment. She apologized for this when the job was over, though I do not know why as everyone, myself included were all around happier with the finished bit than with any of the comps which were originally submitted. Moreover, if I’m tasked with finding a way to work an on-the-nose pun around Matthew Carter’s beautiful type, I will simply find a way to carry on as best I can.

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