May 21, 2015

The Atlantic: Death and Mr. Pickwick


An illustration for The Atlantic review of Stephen Jarvis’s novel Death and Mr. Pickwick. A stark retelling of the circumstances connecting illustrator Robert Seymour and an ambitious 24 year old Charles Dickens, leading to a unprecedented fame for one and suicide for the other. Sketches for variations on the idea below, much thanks to AD Lauren Giordano for her faith in the unconventional  under-painting idea.

May 11, 2015

Texas Monthly: Spring Breaking Away

Texas Monthly: Spring Breaking Away
A couple South Padre spring break illustrations for an essay by Domingo Martinez in the latest Texas Monthly. Layout designs by AD Emily Kimbro.
Texas Monthly: Spring Breaking Away

April 27, 2015

LAZARUS: Number Sixteen

Lazarus: Sixteen Lazarus #16 is on stands now. This issue is a bold vignette in the eye of the narrative hurricane by Rucka & Lark, and expands its format to include a wealth of journalistic design work by Eric Trautmann as well as a few interstitial illustrations by me.
Lazarus: Sixteen
Lazarus: SixteenAbove are some of the process steps from early thumbnails, sketches and an alternate for the third act piece with a more digital fragmenting effect that was a fun experiment. Massive credit due to Eric for tying all the pages together so well, and thanks again to Greg and Michael and the team for the invitation to be part of the issue.
Lazarus: Sixteen
In related news, the original inks for this issue's cover (and others) are now available through Splash Page Comic Art. It's incredibly nice to be in such good company there as well. LAZARUS: Number Sixteen

Maxim: The Last Patrol

Maxim: The Last Patrol I've enjoyed a daily drawing practice for many years now. I keep a journal that includes observation studies, practice with different pens, brushes, etc., from both digital and traditional sketchbooks, all collected on instagram over recent years. It's a valuable regimen for me, and definitely something I feel if it's missing as the close of the day draws near.

Daily Drawing sketches
So getting a call to take an observational/sketchbook approach to an editorial assignment was a nice collision of worlds. The assignment came from AD David Zamdmer at Maxim. The feature was about Major James Capers, who has been repeatedly passed over for the Medal of Honor despite exceptional service and many commendations during the Vietnam War.
Maxim: The Last Patrol
The composition sketches above went through a number of iterations as the direction shifted from a darker jungle composition to a more open clearing framing the figures. The final piece was executed in the spirit of observational field sketches from a host of reference and documentary research, and drawn using a combination of Kyle Webster's great Photoshop drawing brushes. Maxim: The Last Patrol

January 13, 2015

Lazarus: Fourteen

Lazarus Fourteen
Lazarus issue Fourteen arrives on stands this week and, with it, Greg Rucka and Michael Lark bring us further into the Conclave arc and the ever tightening situation on Triton One. For a glimpse at the excellent sequential work by Lark, Boss & Arcas, Comicosity has a preview of the issue.

Below are some of the development sketches that went into the cover. The inky night ocean scenes slowly shifted further underwater, hinting at some darker discoveries below the surface for the final cover illustration.Lazarus Fourteen Sketches

September 28, 2014

The New Yorker: Gone Girl

The New Yorker: Gone Girl
I was out of town when I got the call asking about illustrating a piece on David Fincher's upcoming Gone Girl for The New Yorker, but by the time I was halfway through the walls-closing-in noire trailer I realized this was one of those assignments I was already sketching out ideas without having even said yes.
The New Yorker: Gone Girl
The great public specter looming over Affleck's character struck me as the stuff of great pulp covers, so the sketches began to take a turn towards the more theatrical devices of Norman Rockwell's "Razor's Edge" and Allesandro Biffignandi's "The Day the Sky Exploded." Ultimately, Rene Peron's graphically brilliant work on "The Passion of Joan of Arc," set the tone for the homage to the great pulp classics and cinema posters.The New Yorker: Gone Girl
The issue hits stands this week, and Christoph Niemann's cover is brilliant. Thanks as always to AD Chris Curry.

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