This is one of my favorite pieces of the year that I’ve been asked to work on. I grew up reading comic books, and many of the comics I collected had characters created by Stan Lee (and Jack Kirby sometimes, too).
So when I was contacted by Grantland Quarterly to illustrate a story about Stan Lee, titled ‘The Inquisition of Mr. Marvel’, I was really excited to do it. It was a great read (check it out here). Like many early comic book character creators, Stan has lost the ownership of the superheroes he created and has no claim to the billions of dollars his creations make Marvel and Disney today. For the most part he’s accepted it and maintained his role as a comic book ambassador or even a mascot – the face of Marvel comics.
I illustrated all the frames around the portrait as well and those were a lot of fun. It’s amazing how portraits come together sometimes. Stan Lee without his ruby-colored glasses just isn’t Stan Lee.
I love old postcards, and I especially like the old hand-tinted “Greetings from…” kind. This is the fourth illustration I’ve done in that postcard-style and I hope I get the chance to do more, they’re a lot of fun. Keep an eye out on this blog for a couple more postcard-inspired illustrations soon.
This one is for Field & Stream Magazine, a favorite client of mine. This postcard illustrates some of the things to see and do in Tunica, Mississippi. There’s some great music, a funky pink casino, an old restaurant called the Blue & White, a steamboat, and most important to the readers of Field & Stream, duck hunting.
I had a great time working with the art directors at Milwaukee magazine on some spot illustrations for their recent issue about improving Milwaukee. The feature has 21 improvements to the city and they narrowed that down to about 7 that they wanted me to come up with ideas for. I was lucky to have a few of those drawings appear on the cover as well, and I was also asked to draw a couple portraits for the interior feature.
It’s always exciting to see my work on a magazine cover. Here are some of the illustrations I did for the cover and the interior.
Here is a small map I drew in September of Kodiak Island, Alaska, for Outdoor Life magazine. It was for an article about hunting on the island and I was asked to choose a few animals from the article to illustrate. I included the Kodiak bear of course, a blacktail deer and a harlequin duck.
It’s the second time I’ve drawn a harlequin this year. I also illustrated one in the feature where this map of Mt. Rainier appeared for Seattle Met this summer [shown below].
Much like my illustrations of vintage postcards, drawing maps is something I never thought I’d enjoy so much until I started being asked to draw them. I hope to get the chance to draw more maps in the next little while.
I illustrated 42 portraits for The Commercial Observer’s Owners Magazine recently. These portraits are of 42 of New York City’s biggest real estate investors, each one accompanying a short interview with the investor. This was a great project and drawing 42 portraits didn’t actually seem like all that many.
Here are just four portraits (below) of some of the faces. You might recognize the guy on the top left.
One of my favorite clients is Seattle Met. I’ve worked with them quite a few times in the last couple of years and the assignments are always fun, the art direction always great. One of the art directors, Chris Skiles, interviewed me this summer for his blog’s interview series called 11 on 11. I was honored to have been asked.
You can read our interview here, where we chat about illustration, basketball and some of my favorite illustrators (and more!).
I’m really into maps lately, and I’ve been lucky enough to be asked to draw a few over the summer. The art director of the Washingtonian saw the map I illustrated for Seattle Met (here) and asked me to work on this full-page map of Washington, D.C. with him.
This was another fun one, showing the buildings that house the offices of the top ten lobbyist firms in Washington, D.C. and how only one of them remains on K Street, Washington’s hub of influence.
Now that summer is practically over I thought I’d do a little wrap-up of some of the things I’ve done and places I’ve gone.
It was a hectic start to the summer in May when Chantal and I went to New York for the National Stationery Show for our letterpress company, Papillon Press. It was 3.5 days of non-stop showtime, talking to buyers and other stationers, and waking up early. The show went great for us and our illustrated letterpress cards are now carried in many stores in New York and throughout the US and Canada.
We didn’t get much time off after putting letterpress orders together before we had to head down to Providence, Rhode Island for ICON 7. That was an amazing time. I finally met some of my friends from IlloConfidential, toured around Providence a bit, and saw some interesting presentations.
There was an incredible opening-night party and marching band, a great keynote presentation with Matt Groening (creator of the Simpsons) and some other great moments, but the best parts of the conference definitely came outside of the auditorium with illustrators and art directors.
After ICON we had decided to head down to Newport to check out the National Museum of American Illustration and to take in some of the mansions. If you’re a fan of illustration and if you’re ever near Newport, I highly recommend this museum. It was fantastic. There were a lot of Rockwells, and the current show was of Maxfield Parrish’s work, which has to be seen in person. His work is insanely good. I was happy to see a couple of NC Wyeth paintings as well, and they even have a whole gallery of Norman Rockwell’s preliminary drawings which are very impressive charcoal drawings, drawn at the same size as his originals.
After only an afternoon in Newport, we headed to Cape Cod for a couple days to visit my brother. I wrapped up an assignment for Runner’s World there, and toured around a bit.
We left Cape Cod, stopped in to visit my grandma, and then continued on our illustration tour to Stockbridge, Massachusetts to visit the Norman Rockwell Museum. We ate breakfast at what we hope was one of Rockwell’s usual stops, and spent quite a long time in the Rockwell Museum. There were a lot of paintings there I’d never seen before. He’s famous of course for his Saturday Evening Post covers, but so much of his other work for advertisements and calendars isn’t as well known.
The highlight of the museum was his studio. It was moved to the museum from his home in downtown Stockbridge. It’s a perfect space with huge windows, high ceilings and a lot of room. Whenever we build a studio, we hope to model it as closely as possible on Rockwell’s.
On our way back home we made a detour to Plattsburgh, NY to visit the free museum of Rockwell Kent’s work in the SUNY. That topped off our illustration tour and we headed back home inspired.
We topped off our summer travels with a trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan for Chantal’s birthday. We spent two days there and it felt like a week off, it was so relaxing. It’s a car-free island and we brought our bikes to tour around. Other than bikes the only traffic on the road are horse-drawn carriages. We spent the first day riding around scouting out places to sketch, and sat down for a couple drawings on our last day on the island.
It’s been a really great summer! Thanks for reading.
This illustration was for Canadian Wildlife Magazine for a story about Fort Whyte Alive, which is a wildlife habitat and environmental awareness center in Winnipeg, Manitoba. With walking trails and educational programs, Fort Whyte Alive provides environmental education, outdoor recreation and encourages people to nurture sustainable communities.
There is also a planned eco-village of 400 homes that would co-exist among the bison, deer, fox, waterfowl and other species that live in Fort Whyte’s lakes and forests.
I’m really happy to have my illustration in the same issue as some illustrations by fellow friends and IlloConfidential members Jacqui Oakley and Pete Ryan.