December 30, 2011
In September when the imprisoned hikers in Iran were nearing release I was in the process of moving and got a call from Aviva Michaelov at the New York Times to illustrate an Op-Ed by the co-founder of Lonely Planet Tony Wheeler. It was an interesting piece about the perceptions of the dangers of traveling the world. Ultimately the article did not run, but the quick turnaround provided the opportunity to go completely brush and ink which is always fun.
I've really enjoyed working with the Times on illustrations for some significant events of the past year. Below are some of the letters pieces for revolts in Egypt, the torture debate, solitary confinement, and the withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Iraq.
December 23, 2011
December 9, 2011
The upcoming "Exit Strategies" issue of GRANTA has a short fiction piece, entitled "Bonfire," by David Long that I got a call to illustrate. The story traces the narrator's memory of a passionate but fleeting Fourth of July rendezvous from years earlier, leaving the reader with an interesting mix of exhilaration and loss. The sketches below were my first impression of the story, but after discussing it with the art director and editor, we revised the composition so as to touch on more of the fading embers of the memory of love lost than the night itself. Also, I did an interview with Daniela Silva about illustrating the Roberto Bolaño stories which is now online at Granta's site.
November 21, 2011
Over the past year, I've had the opportunity to illustrate several short fiction pieces by Roberto Bolaño for the literary magazine Granta. A few weeks after working on the watercolor illustration (above) for the short Bolaño story, "The Colonel's Son," art director, Michael Salu, asked if I would be interested in collaborating on a motion comic he had in mind to tie the short story and issue in with their digital readership. Time was short, but having already read through and sequentially visualized much of the story, it sounded too interesting to pass up.
The animation is now live at nothingbutamovie.com, and here are some samples of the finished layered illustrations, which were all inked digitally using Manga Studio (which I've just recently begun using inspired by the amazing illustration work of Asaf Hanuka).
Many thanks to Jocabola, David Bonas, Sorgerune and the visionary Michael Salu for the collaboration.
October 26, 2011
Last month, I had the opportunity to work on an illustration for the Seattle Met Magazine's November Issue on an article about a sudden spike in murder rates in Yakima County, Washington in 2010. The illustration's job was to both narrate a specific attack as well as convey the tone of shock from the string of 29 killings in a population of only 89,000.
Below are sketches we worked through to develop the direction (the first couple thumbnails in this case were done on my phone) and the final artwork and headline treatment from the magazine by André Mora and Chris Skiles, which is on stands now.
September 27, 2011
The September installment of the "Medical Mysteries" series is out in today's Washington Post, with an interesting story about a young boy's sudden, inexplicable development of anxiety and obsessive-compulsive tics. As with the previous illustrations in the series, the design was to convey the symptoms as well as the culprit, which in this case interestingly enough was an autoimmune neuropsychological disorder's (PANDAS) response to to a bacterial strep infection.
Above are the thumbnails and finished sketches, attempting to convey fever symptoms from different angles as well as his symptoms of severe anxiety. Art Direction by Brad Walters.
September 8, 2011
Earlier in the summer I got a call to work on a short fiction piece for the Saturday Evening Post September/October issue. The story by Jon Hassler is entitled "Yesterday's Garbage" and follows a garbage man through an unexpectedly macabre turn of events in suburban Minnesota. Below is the smaller second illustration that accompanies the text, as well as some of the sketches for the full-page piece. Art Direction by Brian Sanchez.
August 30, 2011
For the past few months I've been illustrating an ongoing "Medical Mysteries" column by Sandra G. Boodman in the Washington Post's Health & Science section. This month's piece, follows a newborn whose unusual delays in development elude doctors and specialists for years until an unlikely genetic cause is discovered. Below are the thumbnails and sketches, the challenge being how to distill down both the symptoms and the culprit comfortably in the composition while still retaining the uncertainty of the story. Art Direction by Brad Walters.
August 17, 2011
Here is a small illustration I did for last weekend's Boston Globe Book Review of the novel "This Beautiful Life" by Helen Schulman. The review traces the path of a family newly transplanted by the father's career into an affluent Manhattan lifestyle, and crisis that emerges against the unfamiliar upper-class backdrop. Below are the rough ballpoint thumbnail ideas and then the more legible sketches that were submitted. Art Direction by Jane Martin.
August 12, 2011
August 8, 2011
June 30, 2011
June 24, 2011
Just got a copy of the new Taschen Illustration Now! Portraits book in the mail. I have a couple pages in the book alongside an humbling collection of work by eighty illustrators and edited by Julius Wiedemann. The first section of the book is available to browse through on the Taschen site. (Cover illustration by the always cool Raphael Vicenzi.)
June 22, 2011
June 20, 2011
Working on a portrait of Idris Elba for this month's issue of British GQ reminded me how much fun just hitting the page with a brush and ink and some flat colors can be. Below are the sketch ideas inspired mainly by his role on the BBC crime thriller "Luther" with a little super hero thrown in since his role in "Thor" was kicking around the back of my mind while working.
Also in case anyone's interested the original artwork for this piece, along with a few other paintings is now available for purchase at owenfreeman.bigcartel.com
June 15, 2011
Over the past couple months I've been illustrating the Medical Mysteries column for the Washington Post Health page. The articles are on real-life cases where symptoms and conditions lead to unexpected revelations with some false-leads along the way. From an illustration standpoint it's been an interesting challenge to try to distill the long-term situations into a single dramatic reenactment that contain the condition, the suspects and the culprit, all without giving too much of the ending away. The June mystery (out yesterday) is about a man who's was repeatedly admitted to the hospital after suffering serious symptoms of liver cirrhosis and diabetes; below are the rough thumbnail ideas and then the sketches which lead to the finish above.
The second illustration below was for the May Medical Mystery about a wedding photographer suffering from a debilitating skin condition and potential culprits from her daily life. Art Directed by the always great Brad Walters.
May 31, 2011
Here is an illustration I did for an Op-Ed piece by David W. Blight in yesterday's New York Times. The article was on the largely unknown beginnings of the Memorial Day tradition in America, and the events surrounding the first recorded gathering to mourn the losses of the Civil War in 1865.
Below are the quick ballpoint thumbnail ideas, and then the two more realized sketches from there, and then the finished ink wash painting. Much thanks to Aviva Michaelov for the always inspiring assignments.
May 17, 2011
Here is an illustration I did for Sunday's Boston Globe Book Review of To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 by Adam Hochschild. The review highlighted the complexities and political ramifications of the first World War. Instead of attempting to capture an elaborate, global concept, I thought it would be interesting to focus on the effects on the individual soldiers, who, due to the breakdown of technology and resources, were left in unprotected trenches with only rudimentary equipment and supplies to survive.