Patchwork man illustration

Last week, I created this illustration for The Wall Street Journal for a story about how our early ancestors from different continents mingled earlier than we thought. One of the ideas suggested by the editor was to show "figures of various colors overlapping or merging."

This idea reminded me of an illustration I created seventeen years ago (back in my early vector period) for Outside Magazine for a story about testing athletic clothing material. The idea was a figure running through the environment with a quilt-like outfit.

I revisited this idea but for the new illustration, I wanted the figure to be more monolithic, like a giant running through the woods. And inside the figure would be the merging, different-color figures.

This was a quick deadline so not much time for sketching. I presented four ideas in the merging figure direction, plus a couple of additional ideas. The art director chose the top left idea.

Since it was a fairly simple composition, I knew the fingers, toes, and the head would be important details, so I sat down with my ink brush pen and some paper and started loosely drawing, experimenting with line and edge quality, and with pencil and marker, and then chose the drawn elements I liked the most.

This loose drawing session helped determine the style of the figure. Usually, I resolve that in the sketch, but in this case, the sketch was rough and quick (short deadline) with few details.

I began with a green field and a yellow figure. To make the figure, I duplicated and distorted the ink drawn body elements to create a full figure and then attached the hands, feet, and head. I cleaned up the head a bit and added an eye and a mouth.

Color was an important part of this concept. I used a three-color palette for the figures, yellow for the main figure and then blue and red for the interior figures. To add some additional visual interest, I separated the figure from the background with a white edge and then added a shadow figure.

The trees represented the environment, the woods, and their arrangement created a background pattern that suggested a larger continuous space.

As a final step, I softened and dulled down the colors a bit.

Unfortunately, the editor decided to go with a photo for the story, but it was a great assignment to work on, even if the art didn't make it to print.

Star Trek: Day of the Dove drawing

klingon-sketch-1 Kang chews out Kirk. The Enterprise attacked his ship, unprovoked! Suddenly, Chekov accuses the Klingons of killing his brother, Piotre. Kang instructs his men to use the Agonizer on Chekov, forcing Kirk to surrender. But when Spock transports them all onto the Enterprise, he holds the Klingons in the transporter beam until a security team can arrive to capture them.

Kang was played by Michael Ansara who passed away a couple of weeks ago. Below is an animated gif made from the screen shots I used from the episode as reference.


Barnabas Collins Dark Shadows drawing

barnabus-01 Barnabas Collins is destroyed, or is he? A mysterious stranger appears claiming to be a victim of Barnabas Collins. But he is identical in appearance to Barnabas! Is this stranger really Barnabas crafting an unbelievable tale? Quentin and Edward Collins are suspicious and drag him to the cave to check Barnabas's coffin. If the coffin is empty, they will know the stranger's story is a lie, and that he is really Barnabas! But in the cave, they find the body of Barnabas Collins still in its coffin with a stake driven through its heart! Can the mysterious stranger's story be true?

Primitive Shape tool in Illustrator

1478327768 This illo was for a demo I did last semester showing my students how to create an illo using Illustrator's Primitive Shape tools. I originally posted this image Feb 10 but thought I would share a bit of the process.


I used the Rounded Rectangle tool to create the main head shape and then used the Ellipse tool to create the features. The triangles were created using the Star tool, reducing the number of points to three (click and drag with the Star tool to create a star shape, while you are holding the mouse button down, click the up and down arrows on your keyboard to change the number of points). The Line segment tool was used to create the line at the top of the mouth between the nostrils.


I then used the Shape Builder tool to combine the shapes. I lengthened the nostrils by dragging one of each circle's points down to the line above the mouth.