A Gentlemanly Dodo

I recently finished up a project with the great creative team over at the James & Matthew ad agency, and thought I’d share a bit of the process!

This was a unique project because it was essentially commissioned more as a labor of love than in service of any ad campaign. The assignment: to bring the character in the agency’s cross-hatched logo to life in a fully dimensional illustration.

The early sketches for the character got the ball rolling, and over several rounds of iteration and working with J&M’s art director, the scene and character were eventually set.

J&M already had a palette in mind, so the next step was working out different combinations of the chosen colors to settle on the right mood.

Next, since I wanted some more reference for the fabric and how the different colors interacted with each other in the scene, I made a quick maquette with colored sculpey, and dug through my wardrobe for colors that were close enough.

And of course, when one has draping fabric and a delicate Dodo in the studio, one needs to create a dog barrier.

And the end result!

(direction by Craig Birchfield)

Just wrapped up a new illustration this week (for a client who shall remain temporarily nameless!). Below is the initial sketch that was approved, and the final painting.

And considering that as of yesterday we’re still not through with snow around here, this was refreshing to work on.

Lessons in portraiture

So I’m delighted to report that I’ve been working on a series of portraits for Bee Culture Magazine lately. I always really enjoy the opportunity to do portraiture, but portraiture of entomologists and beekeepers? What could be better?

I wanted to share an experience I had with one of the portraits – of Jennifer Berry, an entomologist at the University of Georgia. When I started this one, I tried for a look that was quite loose and painterly, taking some liberties with the reference I was provided by exaggerating some of the proportions, adjusting the angle of the pose, etc. The result was the first image you see in the gif below.

After talking with the client a bit, I ended up pushing the portrait further for a smoother, cleaner aesthetic, and one that was more faithful to the proportions and pose of the reference. And you can see the steps taken to get there – with a lot of softer brushstrokes, and shifting and adjusting of the features.

So with the refined version complete, it was sent off to the good people at Bee Culture. The response? Version 1, the looser, earlier rendition, was still the clear winner.

This all got me thinking about something about something I had read in a charming little tome called The Practice and Science of Drawing by Harold Speed. I talk a bit more about this over on the blog for Morning Noon and Night Productions, but right in the preface of the book, Speed notes the difference between “mechanically” and “artistically” accurate drawing. While the second portrait of Prof. Berry ended up being tighter and cleaner, it decidedly lost something of the first one. Sometimes (…ok, all the time), capturing a sense of someone requires more than an attention to “mechanical” accuracy.

I’ll be posting more about this project if you’d like to follow along! And I’ll be adding updates to my facebook page if you’d like to stop by.

Thanks for reading! :)

Hello, people of Tumblr!

OK, time to get this thing rolling! Thanks so much for stopping by my art blog. I’m a freelance illustrator working in editorial and animation, and I’ll be using this space to share works in progress and general thoughts and ramblings. If any of these things interest you, I hope you’ll follow along!

Today I wanted to share a bit of the process for painting an interior wall of a set that will be used in a forthcoming animated short called “Aye Aye.” This is a glimpse of Aye Aye’s house, which shows just the local colors of all the materials. The animation will run its course through all sorts of weather and times of day (not to mention moods), so I’ll follow up and share the process of lighting and coloring using adjustment layers.


More about this project is over at https://mnnproductions.tumblr.com