July 30, 2014
I am excited to share my first illustration as cover artist for Greg Rucka and Michael Lark's Image book Lazarus. The second collected volume arrives in comic shops today, and follows Forever, the Lazarus of the Family Carslyle, as destabilizing plots unfold within and around the ruling families in a dystopian near-future.
The solidity of the world and characters Michael and Greg have developed provided a wealth of visual options, so I was able to run with one I particularly loved which was the "Lift" propaganda poster Michael designed for chapter eight. We narrowed into an idea of Forever surveying the world from a decaying billboard with the deconstructed "Lift" graphic behind her, which I explored in the sketches below.
While we have only done a few covers so far, this has already been one of the most fun and satisfying collaborations of my career. Thanks to Michael Lark, Greg Rucka and everyone on the team and at Image for inviting me to be a part of this excellent project.
Photo courtesy of Jared of OK Comics
June 15, 2014
An interesting challenge came in the form of a book cover project for Viking last fall. The assignment was the cover illustration for The Ways of the Dead, the first in a series of crime novels by Neely Tucker. The art direction was to hint at an eerie crime scene on the backstreets Washington D.C., and to do it without any figures – which are usually pivotal in the majority of murders.
Without the human element, I threw myself into researching alleyways and refuse containers (not always easy to access by the way) and noticed a certain sickly green glow from fluorescent lights in entryways and loading zones would often lend a claustrophobic edge to the space. The dumpster in the piece also took on its own character so I played with different compositions and proximity from the viewer within the alley.
The final illustration was painted digitally using Photoshop and Corel Painter and underwent a few rounds of punching up the contrast to help make the shadows feel deeper and inkier. Art Direction by Alison Forner.
June 2, 2014
June 1, 2014
May 13, 2014
A couple illustrations I did for Entertainment Weekly's feature on the upcoming Stephen King novel Mr. Mercedes are in the issue on stands this week. The story follows a retired detective working to stop a killer who murdered 8 people and injured 11 at a job fair with a stolen Mercedes. The excerpt focuses on the dark interior of the antagonist's basement and mind as he reflects on past and future attacks.
Above are development thumbnails and sketches for the spread and interior, working out different compositions for the foggy morning street and the ominous wired basement. Ultimately, the more overt violence was selected and the circuit diagrams became a connecting visual motif. AD Dennis Huynh.
May 6, 2014
I love horseshoe crabs. It might be their quiet witness to half a billion years on earth, or the fact their hearts pump a singular amebocyte that defends their blood from pathogens, or the fact they can't be raised in captivity yet are preciously harvested by pharmaceutical companies. Horseshoe crabs are fascinating.
I wish I could claim that my interest in them predated the piece by Ian Frazier but it truly started after Christine Curry from the New Yorker sent me the article to illustrate. Once I read the story and began researching and drawing horseshoe crabs it was hard to stop. Below are some of the development sketches, exploring different ways to try to do these orthropods justice. Did I mention they swim upside down?
April 23, 2014
One of the great aspects of working on editorial assignments is illustrating in concert with different forms of engaging journalism. A few weeks ago I had the chance to work with Art Director John Montgomery on an interesting assignment for Canadian Business magazine. The article investigated reports of Human Rights Watch allegations brought to Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The report stated that Canadian mining companies were, knowingly or unknowingly, employing local contractors that exploit unpaid conscripted labor in the North African nation of Eritrea.
Above are the rounds of idea sketches, the core of which I felt were to convey the visible and invisible systems that contribute to slavery and exploitation in developing nations – grounding the scenes in realism, while also using symbols and visual metaphors for the more insidious human rights issues at play. We circled back around to the idea of a reflection to convey an alternate, darker truth about the conscripted workers. Final page design and layout by John Montgomery.
April 16, 2014
Illustration on the booming world of vigilante home security for the latest issue of Houstonia Magazine, layout and design by AD Chris Skiles. Process roughs below from the development of ideas of, particularly how paranoia and fear obscure the reality that violent crime rates continue to decline each year.