Trust But Verify

Hey Blog. For some reason technology hated me this week. I had to completely purge my horribly virus-ridden computer AND get a new Blackberry Storm to replace my three week old Storm that suddenly decided to be the slowest phone on Earth. Anyway, all that's behind me now so I'm ready to start new.

In terms of recent projects, the SVA MFA Poster has finally gone to press and I'm pretty damn proud of it if I do say so myself. Marshall Arisman, David Sandlin, and Nathan Fox all participated along with the entire graduating class of '09, and its really special. Those should be in my hands with a couple of weeks and I'll be sure to post pics. Also, the third "Altpick Deck" has been delayed slightly due a printer error, but I've seen an advance copy and it looks AMAZING. I'm really proud of it, and its different from the previous two decks, so it really stands by itself.

On the illustration front, I did a piece for Alpha Magazine a couple of weeks ago and its my first 'road illustration'. What does that mean you ask? Well, right before I left on my cross country excursion I took the job, and was emailing, sketching, and doing my usual business stuff while traveling by bus. I really wanted to do the illustration, and fortunately the art director Diana Panfil was incredibly patient and understanding of the situation and slightly extended the final deadline to accommodate my insane schedule.

The working title is called "Trust But Verify" and its about hedge-fund managers seeking third party consultants to appease distrusting clients. I tried to fit both ideas of "third party consultants" and "verification", but in the end only needed the verification angle. I tried something I've never done editorially which is use sequential panels, and I was pretty stoked. Here's a sketch that I sent from a FeEx/Kinko's in Houston, TX.

The body language is definitely subtle, with the biggest shift happening in the last panel. I wouldn't call this 'risky', but I think some other publications would have requested more action and I was so happy that Diana had faith in the idea.

For the final I kept the palette minimal (pink can be minimal), and kept the vibe casual. The last panel's my favorite and I really dig it as a whole. I think I made Josh Bayer proud, aha. Also, I made my Monday deadline and took the longest nap of my life afterward.

So that's about it Blog. One month left!

All That Jazz

Hi Blog. Last week was INSANE, in the best way possible. I took two buses, 3 cars, and several brisk walks from Newark, NJ to Palm Springs, CA to meet my brother Eric for the first time. It was an amazing trip, and I got to see and do so many things. Eric and his boyfriend Ron were so amazingly cool that we definitely need to hang out again. Also, this is my third time doing the cross country thing, but this was the first time I did it solo. I stopped in Dallas/Houston, TX, Las Vegas, NV, and Diamond Bar/Palm Springs, CA. I spent the largest amounts of time in places where I knew people. I also fit in an illustration for Alpha Magazine immediately upon my return, so it was an extremely productive nine days.

I'll post that Alpha illustration soon, but in the meantime here's some work I did for the tri-state area's best jazz station, the world famous Jazz88 WBGO. Their 30th anniversary is coming up and they needed a new header for their jazz e-newsletter. So, using elements of their existing logo, I created this. I felt that the anniversary was the most important thing, so I made that the main focus, and used their official purple.

So many thanks to Brandy Wood, WBGO's marketing manager, for giving me a call because I have the utmost respect for the quality and integrity of this station, and jumped at the chance to work with them.

Also, because of an initial miscommunication (probably an oops on my part), I actually did concepts for a logo redesign that wasn't intended. I thought I'd show them because I dig them and I liked what I was going for. I tried to stir the logo towards iconography, using fashion of the Blue Note era to evoke the time period. The fedora works the best, as it "sits" on top of the type extremely well, but I do love the idea of a jazz station potentially using a wingtip shoe for their logo.

So that's it for now Blog, I'll post some pics of my trip soon. Later.

Clips and Trips

Hello Blog. First off, who watches the Watchmen? I do apparently. Zack Snyder didn't compromise much in the way of vision (unlike the ultra crappy V For Vendetta). Its two and a half hours long and takes dialogue straight from the mini-series, which is sometimes a good and bad thing. There were a lot of genius moments, and even though it makes for a flawed whole, I dug it. Jackie Earle Hailey as Rorschach was pretty great, as was Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Comedian. Good Stuff. The ever-present glowing blue phallus was distracting tho.

So onto the work. Last week I worked on a piece for Nicholas Blechman at the venerable New York Times Book Review. The book is called The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer. Its about a globe hopping hitman whose profession is referred to as "extreme terrorism", and must hunt down those that betrayed him. The story is unlike a lot of the material I'm used to getting, and definitely invokes some great symbols and imagery. Here's the approved sketch:

I stuck fairly close to it, and was happy that he chose this idea. I love strong silhouettes and pistols definitely fall into that category.

The travel stickers are completely made up, but evoke some real countries in the book. On the handle is a Russian sticker, next to a round sticker using elements from the Croatian flag. Actually, now that I think about it, those might be the only ones, haha. Either way, I felt the actual countries being represented were secondary to the colors and overall graphic strength necessary to push the concept. Overall, I'm really happy with this one, and really dig juicy stories like this.

So finally, I'm leaving this Saturday for the west coast, and won't be available for commissions until the 16th of March. Its a massive road trip and I'll definitely be documenting (photos, drawings, journal), so expect stories when I get back. Until then, stay safe Blog.