September 9, 2014

Lazarus: Number Eleven

Lazarus: Number Eleven

Lazarus 11 hits stands today from Image Comics and with it the "Conclave" arc begins with the emergence of another Lazarus from the family Bittner and growing shadows of doubt haunting Forever's past, present and future. Written by Greg Rucka, art by Michael Lark with Tyler Boss, colors by Santi Arcas, lettering by Jodi Wynne, Designed by Eric Trautmann and edited by David Brothers; I couldn't ask for a more dedicated team to work with.

I've included a small process animation to the left layering steps from brush and ink drawing through Photoshop, as well as cover sketches for different approaches to Bitter and Carlyle's icy introduction below. A preview of Michael's epic opening pages for the issue is available here.

Lazarus: Number Eleven

September 7, 2014

The New York Times: 10:04

NYT_BookReview_1004_Fin650px
I really enjoyed illustrating this weekend's New York Times Book Review of Ben Lerner's second novel 10:04 with AD Joele Cuyler. Visually reinterpreting another's creative work via the interpretation of a third reviewer is often a telephone game-like experience, but in the case of a story that itself cites coconstruction and shared experiences of art, the layered/perception sketches below came together quickly.NYT_1004_Sketches_650px
I've included something that I don't always mention but is integral to most illustrations I work on: inspiration beacons. After I've worked out the content of the illustration in sketches, I reach for the shelves and folders of art books and JPGs and usually unconsciously pull a few that serve as these beacons. I place them next to the reference on a second monitor to play the role of corner-men, long lost teachers, or idea-maps to something I'm fixated on at the time. In this case, they happened to be a collage by Josep Renau, a book cover illustration by Mitchell Hooks, and a photo by John Cho.
NYT_1004_Inspiraion_650px

Medium: Gyres

Medium_Gyres_650px Illustration for a chilling piece by Bucky McMahon in Medium on the volume of plastics continuing to fill (and spread) throughout the earth's oceans. Sketches below on various allusions to monsters of the deep, including the homage to Roger Kastel's JAWS illustration taken to finish. AD Erich Nagler. Medium_Gyres_Sketches

July 30, 2014

Lazarus: Vol. 2

LAZARUS Vol. 2
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 Carlyle, 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.
LAZARUS Vol. 2
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 of LAZARUS Vol. 2 by Jared of OK Comics
Photo courtesy of Jared of OK Comics

June 15, 2014

Viking: The Ways of the Dead

Viking/Penguin: Ways of the Dead
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.
Viking/Penguin: Ways of the Dead
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.
Viking: Ways of the Dead
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

The New Yorker: Night Moves

The New Yorker: Night Moves Illustration for The New Yorker  review of director Kelly Reichardt’s film “Night Moves.” AD Christine Curry.

May 13, 2014

Entertainment Weekly: Mr. Mercedes

Entertainment Weekly: Mr. Mercedes
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.
Entertainment Weekly: Mr. Mercedes
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.Entertainment Weekly: Mr. Mercedes Entertainment Weekly: Mr. Mercedes

May 6, 2014

Mental Floss: Head Case

Mental Floss: Head Case
Illustration and idea sketches for a Mental Floss magazine piece on archeologist Ephraim George Squier's 1860's search for evidence of early neurosurgery in the jungles of ancient Peru. Creative Director Winslow Taft.Mental Floss: Head Case

The New Yorker: Blue Bloods

The New Yorker: Blue Bloods
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?
The New Yorker: Blue Bloods