Drawing day

roundtablea-1I have been kerchunking out drawings today, primarily for the Morning News. As part of the series’ illustrations I’ve been doing for the newly redesigned site, Rosecrans, my editor, asked me to create a drawing for TMN’s occasional round table discussions. At first, feeling uninspired, I pulled out a photo of a conference room business discussion and turned it into this.

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The next day, Rosecrans said he liked everything I’d been doing except the roundtable illustration one which looked like I’d done it from a photo of a conference room business discussion. So I took another crack at it, this time a little more bohemian and came up with this.

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My next job was to create illustrations for the next installment of Peanut is coming up on Tuesday. I decided to just focus on still life objects that represent parts of the story rather than contrive some actual illustrations of people and events, my least favorite illustration to do. These are three separate ones.
At the new Blick art store down my street, I picked up a new set of Pelikan opaque watercolors. They are a little chalky but work pretty well in moderate conjunction with my transparent watercolors. A worthwhile addition for just 20 bucks for 24 colors. I also grabbed a handful of PITT artists pens from Faber Castell. I love their brush pens and now will try out the S and F pens in black and umber.
I also splurged and bought myself a new set of watercolors called “Yarka St Petersburg”. They were pretty expensive: $69 for a set of 24 pans but I really want to upgrade my colors and I hate little tubes. I’ve tried making my own set by drying little cakes in a metal box but it was a disaster.
Anyway, when I got the St. Pete’s home, I realized they were not worth the money. The pans sit in a flimsy plastic box that would crack in no time in the field. And the pans themselves sit in the thinnest plastic egg carton sort of arrangement of cups. There’s no way they will survive a year or so of daily use. Why would anyone make such a flimsy piece of shit I wonder? The Pelikans are beautifully made and designed (though the paints themselves are probably just student grade) and these professional paints were designed by monkeys who’d never seen a real human use them,. They’re going back to the store this afternoon.

Assignment of the day

It’s hot as a bastard and we are all recovering from four performances of Annie Get Your Gun in three days. I have spent the past two mornings in the air-conditioned apartment working on an assignment for The Morning News which is about to launch its year long redesign. Rosecrans, my editor, asked me to draw three illustrations to work as launch-pads for the serialized books that appear on the site every couple of weeks.
I had already done a couple of different icons for Peanut:

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This one is meant to look like a sonogram of a peanut. It’s okay though a little gimmicky.

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Then I came up with this one based on a photo of an embryo, sort of 2001-ish but not really uniquely mine.
I decided to start from scratch with more conventional ink and watercolor drawings, each about 4-5 inches square. I painted this fairly scary drawing; still it’s somehow cute in a plucked chick kind of way and I like it.

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For The letters of Gary Benchley, Rock Star, I bypassed my initial thought of painting some instruments ( I have recently done three different illustration jobs requiring sketches of guitars) and decided to try to capture some rock’n’roll energy. I did this drawing fairly quickly and I like it too.

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I struggled most with The Education of Elisabeth Eckleman. It seemed that every story had Elisabeth in tears at some point so I decided to tackle it this way. I was a little worried that I had been overly influenced by fantasies of Molly Ringwold and was listening to too much of the new 9 Inch Nails album and Elisabeth isn’t quite in that nexus.

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I fired off an email to Sarah Hepola, Elisabeth’s creator, who wrote: “She’s a cute 18 year old girl — brown shoulder-length hair that’s a bit curly/frizzy (she likes to straighten it out), a little girlish pudge in her cheeks. Blue eyes. She’s from a small town, so she doesn’t have that natural college girl look yet — she wears a lot of makeup, probably earrings. she probably wears a lot of tank tops and shorts.”
I’m no expert on the nuances of 18-year-old girls anymore and I was a little tense as I went back to the drawing board.

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This was my second and final effort. It has personality and particularity more than the first but tells less of a story and has a little too much Walter Keane in it
I’ll let Rosecrans pick.

Sky Mall pop quiz

I have a new piece in my favorite online magazine that you might find amusing.
I first thought of it on the way home from vacation when I pulled the bizarreness that is the Sky Mall catalog from the back of the seat and wondered, “Who dreams up all this crap?”
“And who buys it?”