21st Century Trad Band!…

…is the title of the newest album by the Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet. It is great! But don’t take my word for it. Read about it here, here, or here. GREAT music. And whoa! What’s that? They let me draw all over the album! Front cover! Back cover! Inside on both sides and on the disk too! You got an album surface? I’ll draw on it.

Released by Basin Street Records October 27th! OOOoohhh hello, that’s TODAY! So pick it up HERE right now!

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Tortuga Tattoo

A returning client asked me to create an image for her tattoo. She is great- she knew just what she was looking for and was able to communicate it and had examples of similar images. She wanted a tribal-esque land turtle, and wanted to see a variety of color combinations to help her decide.

I started with a basic pencil sketch:

turtle pencil sketch and then traced my own drawing, creating a more graphic interpretation:

graphic land turtleLastly I imported it into Illustrator and traced it out, making edits along the way to make it cleaner. Once it was a vector image it was pretty easy to mock up a few different color combinations.

turtle finalsShe loved it and will get it done in a few weeks! So looking forward to seeing it!


Last Fall I had the great opportunity to work on an animation for 2 Revolutions. I worked with animator/art director Daniel Perez, and under the direction of Ryan Senser, we created a great little informational animation. Each frame of each character’s movement was created in Illustrator and then synched up using (Daniel using) AfterEffects. Special thanks to those of you I roped into letting me tape your motions so I had a video reference to base these little guys on. It was good fun. Enjoy!

Black Bear Rampage

I was hired recently by the nice guys who own Soctt’s Bikes in Tennessee, to create an image for a racing event they hold. I was asked to create an image of a leprechaun riding on the back of a black bear. Far, far away in the city lights of NYC, this made no sense to me at first. However, the company mascot is a leprechaun and they are racing through the woods, which in Tennessee is full of black bears. The racing event is called ‘Black Bear Rampage’, so it all makes complete sense now.

The fist difficulty I ran into was how to make this black bear look aggressive. I did my research and found images and videos of black bears before starting on the drawing. And what I found was that black bears are super cute. Their cuteness levels are up there with baby seals and the little abandoned dog at the end of that subaru commercial (watch it here!) But I imagine that if asked, I could probably draw an ‘attack’ baby seal too. So, I did some preliminary pencil sketches, piecing together the leprechaun and bear and swirls in photoshop and then dropped it all into illustrator and started the finishing process. So here is a slide show with some of the stages:

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At any rate, at this point it is in it’s final stages (I’m pretty sure) and am only debating about the color of the background swirls. Personally I prefer the brown one, but perhaps the red is more race-y and agressive?

The Process

I’ve finally gotten a client who didn’t have a non-disclosure agreement. However, I think his story is great and very sellable, so I won’t talk about it publicly. I will however talk about my process.

So first, I was mistaken about the target age group and presented him with this rough sketch:

Penelope Rough Draft

The Client let me know that it was WAY too young. I had missed the mark. He was great about giving me a better description of what he envisioned, and so I produced this rough which he was pleased with:

Penelope Rough Draft 2.5

As you can see the characters are for a much older audience. I also cleaned up the text using Illustrator. I didn’t want a freehand look to the words, but more of a blockish poster look. From here I took it to color. I generally work dark to light, dropping in the overall shadow color and texture first.

Penelope in Progress

I put in the base colors first, and then layer, layer, layer. And then I add more layers. Once I get it to a point that I like and feel ok committing to, I’ll consolidate my layers so that my file isn’t ginormous, but all the initial layering of thin opacities help create a more painterly feel.

Penelope in Progress 2

At this point it’s starting to take shape, but it’s in it’s midway stage. And here, is the final, which hopefully the client will be pleased with: