Monday, March 17, 2008

Train Wreck

TOM - Here is an illustration I did a few months back for BUST Magazine. The article is about how Britney Spears is a total fucking nut, but it's her nuttiness that is keeping her in the spot light. After a couple of sketches, the art director picked this idea: Britney as a train wreck. I was excited to get a portrait assignment, because I usually have a lot of fun doing portraits of people, but I soon realized that this one was going to be a lot different. People like Johnny Cash and Amy Winehouse have such strong, distinct, and slightly ugly features that are easy to run with and build around. Britney on the other hand has very few distinct facial features that are easily recognizable. After going through TONS of Britney reference, I found that there are two Britney Spears'; the hot, 'Oops I Did It Again' Britney, and the out of shape, trailer park mess Britney that we have come to know nowadays. For authenticity sake, I originally attempted to draw the current Britney which I thought would also visually push the whole 'train wreck' idea. The problem with drawing the current version of Britney is that she now has even LESS defining features! She looks like any loud, self disrespecting girl at a neighborhood bar, so my drawings were coming out looking more like a chubby Lindsay Lohan, or a thinner Rosie O'Donnell. After several failed attempts, I decided it was smarter to go with the vintage sexy Britney that we all used to love. Can't say it's one of my best portraits, but it sure was challenging, and I got to experiment with different textures in my colors, and create a more conceptual illustration which I don't always get a chance to do.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


TOM - Here's one for this weeks New York Press. The story is about a woman who creates an imaginary boyfriend to get her ex boyfriend jealous. (girls are weird...)
I used this as an opportunity to play around with style a bit. In this one I was channeling Jamie Hernandez and Bruce Timm, going for a romance comic type of feel. Check out the article here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

"Blind Devotion" + "Kissin' Cousins"

"Blind Devotion"

"Kissin' Cousins"

JAMES - two recent posters for the Grey Eagle, one commissioned from the club, the other from the bands. with the first one, "Blind Devotion", i continued my more recent efforts to concentrate on composition and arranging elements in an exciting and stimulating way, then let the details just happen. but i also managed to return to the recurring themes of dismembered skull-n-bones-type figures (am i overusing this theme? too many skeletons?). if i had alot more time, i probably woulda tried something a bit more elaborate with the lettering of the band names.

a week or so later, Sean of Nevada contacted me about a poster for their show with the Houstons. i knew that both these posters would be hung up in the same places for at least a couple of weeks. so it became my main focus to do something COMPLETELY different. i asked the band if they had any requests - they mentioned a western/outer space theme, but said they trust me to do whatever.

so originally i went with a style that, for me, lends itself much better to full color. but the poster had to be black and white, and i really tried to make it work. i pretty much finished this entire poster in a few hours (see the photo), but after stepping away from it for an hour or so i realized it was essentially a peice of shit.

so back to the sketch book to revisit a few of the other sketch themes i was working on for this particular poster (i had about 6 themes total). i decided on the couple kissing, and then decided to take it back to the 'comic book' style i haven't done in awhile, and also used alot of 'dry brush' to gain depth. thus "Kissin' Cousins" was born.

Pedal To The Metal

JAMES - James Flames Bold Life cover #12!
So, as usual, there wasn't much time, and at the last moment the cover story changed. The publishers settled on a story about a local British Car Club to be the theme of the cover image. Did alot of research on classic British cars, and then did alot of sketching, in which i came up with these two ideas.

They couldn't decide between the two, so they left it up to me, which was kinda cool. i chose the second one for two reasons: 1) it'd be a little easier since there were less 'special fx', and 2) after some talks with tom about lots of stuff, i felt compelled to do a good ole' brush/ink/photoshop jobbie.

everything came together really naturally and it was alot of fun to play with the hatchings to create motion and heavy light. i did the drawing at actual size, 11" x 12.75", with a 4B pencil on bristol, then #2 brush and finally a pen nib for most of the hatching.

a bunch of photoshop hours later, i got this. big thanks to Mary, one of the publishers, for suggesting the font we used for "The British Invasion" words, which really brought it home. the issue printed so well - in fact, so exceptional, that the red logo and blue background are noticible from a block away, no joke! haha. kinda cool how after a year of covers, i kinda brought it full circle with the first one i did.
next month is the magazine's 5th anniversary issue - gotta figure out how we're tackling that one.


TOM - Time Out New York called me last week to do a piece for their Eat Out section. They called on Wednesday afternoon around 1pm and needed it by the next day, or possibly that Friday morning. Problem was, I was leaving town early the next morning, so the only way I could do it was if I pulled it off that day and sent it to the Art Director before he left the office. Luckily they had already had an idea in mind for the story. The story is about a food writer who goes back to working as a hostess for an NYC restaurant, so that she can get a better idea of how a restaurant works outside of the kitchen, and in turn have a different perspective when writing about food.
The idea they had in mind was sort of a play on the Evolution of Man drawings. She starts off being bombarded with coats, not knowing the computer system, trouble cleaning, then slowly getting a hold of things and having it all together in the end. After speaking with the AD about the idea, I did this sketch right away. After some quick changes on his part, I went and started the illustration. A few hours later I sent the final to the AD right before he left the office. Whew!
Check out this weeks issue on stands now.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Dating Game

TOM - This is an illustration for this weeks issue of New York Press. It 's a story about this girl who goes on a really bad blind date with this dude from Jersey. She gets all dolled up in a silent movie star style, and he shows up dressed very casually with a baseball cap on, then takes her to dinner at a Chinese take out place. In the article there is a point where she is waiting on the line to order, and to keep from totally walking out, she imagines herself at a fancy dinner by candle light, staring into the eyes of the man of her dreams. That was the inspiration I took to come up with this idea.

Here is the black and white version, and as you can see, I had to make a little change with her expression on the bottom. The art director wanted to make her look more like she was far away in thought. It was a good decision, and I think made it stronger in the end.
Check out the article here.