September 28, 2014
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 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 issue hits stands this week, and Christoph Niemann's cover is brilliant. Thanks as always to AD Chris Curry.
September 9, 2014
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.
September 7, 2014
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.