Marin Magazine Zen of Surfing illustration

I created this illustration for Marin Magazine for a story about The Zen of Surfing. My idea was to show a surfer within a wave, as if the wave formed a temple, an arch around the surfer. In the middle of this arch, would be a setting sun, like the eye within a storm. I included some variations on this idea, more active wave lines, closer views of the surfer. The art director chose sketch 3, the temple wave idea with a more active wave pattern.

Anyon Knot illustration

I made this illustration for Quanta Magazine for a story about anyon particles. I based the design of the anyon on a few diagrams I found in my research and also added 'knot' elements.

In the sketch approved by the art director, I originally placed the anyon in a room, like the apple in Magritte's The Listening Room, and I included figures around it to represent scientists or researchers.

Initially I made vector art, working with gradients and a complimentary color scheme, blue and green for the background and main body of the anyon, orange and yellow for the center detail area of the anyon. Bringing the background colors into the anyon made it appear more ethereal, an object but also a part of its surrounding environment. I decided to convert the original room setting into a long angled wall to create a diagonal across the composition.

I was a little unsure about my initial vector approach and the art director felt the same. She suggested reducing the color in the background and taking out the figures since they weren't really adding anything to the concept other than a sense of scale. She also wanted me to add texture.

For the revision, I first redesigned the background, still in vector form. I placed the anyon on a flat horizontal floor. I limited the complimentary colors to just the anyon shape and made the background a neutral bluish gray with hints of more vibrant color in the floating elements.

As a final step, I brought all of the separate elements into Photoshop to add texture and to make final color adjustments.

Snooping government illustration

I created this illustration for Christianity Today for a story about government snooping. I sent in a number of ideas for the illustration, but mostly a big head representing the snooper and a little head representing the person being snooped. The client asked me to go forward with the bottom middle sketch, the big head with an Uncle Sam hat.

Above are the outlines in Adobe Illustrator. This illustration is symmetrical so the left matches the right except for the hand. I decided to use a red, white, and blue palette, white for the face, red for the hair, and blue for the background (below).

I realized I needed to include line work if I wanted the underside of the brim to be white, and for the eyebrows and ear details, so I added a lighter blue to the palette and used that color for the fill of the eyes (above) and for any of the line work. Below is the final vector illustration, the top image in this post is the texture version, with texture added in Adobe Photoshop as a final step.

Jesus strip club illustration

I created this illustration for a story asking the question, "Would Jesus hang out at a strip club?" meaning would Jesus spend time with the fringes of today's society.

In my sketches, I represented Jesus with a Sixties hippy-type look, sort of a George Harrison hair and beard style from 1968, or so. For the strip club, I thought symbols for vices would be safe, maybe, money, booze, cigarettes, and such. I used a dot pattern in the background to suggest the flashing lights used on a marquee sign, spotlights, the overall energy of the place.

For one set of sketches, I showed Jesus close up and for another, set showed him entering the club.

The client chose the lower left sketch, the shoe and Jesus, simple, direct. It was my choice as well. The high-heel shoe really summed up a club dancer I thought without getting too revealing. And it created an obscure relationship between Jesus and the dancer, allowing the viewer to wonder, what is he thinking? Is he sad for her, sad for himself, for both? is he interested, uninterested? is he meditating, bored? a client, friend, protector?

I created this illustration in Ilustrator and then as a final step, added texture in Photoshop. I like the flat, graphic look of the vector art, but a few of my clients prefer my signature texture style. So I either ask which style they prefer or send them both options.

Brain illustration for Quanta Magazine

I created this illustration for Quanta Magazine for a story about the brain and a theory about how it self-organizes. The editor wanted an image where sand or grains represented the brain, as if the sand or grains were being poured into a person's head.

I created this illustration for Quanta Magazine for a story about the brain and a theory about how it self-organizes. The editor wanted an image where sand or grains represented the brain, as if the sand or grains were being poured into a person's head.

I sketched up a few quick directions for this concept. The art director and editor wanted to go with the top left sketch but asked me to make the grains form the shape of a brain rather than a triangular pile.

I sketched up a few quick directions for this concept. The art director and editor wanted to go with the top left sketch but asked me to make the grains form the shape of a brain rather than a triangular pile.

Above is the final sketch with a couple of drawings to show how the brain details could be added to the brain shape. They liked the idea of the grains conforming to the shapes within the brain rather than adding line work.

Above is the final sketch with a couple of drawings to show how the brain details could be added to the brain shape. They liked the idea of the grains conforming to the shapes within the brain rather than adding line work.

I hand inked most of the dots for the brain. I felt the scale of the dots started out a bit too big (middle top) so I reduced the size of the dots to make sure the empty areas within the brain shape would be more easily read. I also drew some dots for the stream of grains coming from the spout.

I hand inked most of the dots for the brain. I felt the scale of the dots started out a bit too big (middle top) so I reduced the size of the dots to make sure the empty areas within the brain shape would be more easily read. I also drew some dots for the stream of grains coming from the spout.

Here  is how the illustration appeared online.

Here is how the illustration appeared online.