Alzheimer's illustration

lzheimer Last month, I was assigned a job by Harvard Magazine to make an illustration for an article about Alzheimer’s. The concept relates to a treatment referred to as “meaningful engagement.”

One of the effective activities discussed involved patients tending to plants. I wanted to make a decorative portrait that showed this relationship between the patient and the plants, as well as the internal isolation of the patient’s mind.

The larger portrait represents the external activity, the patient tending to the plants, and the smaller internal portrait represents the patient separated from reality.

Below is the process, beginning with thumbnail sketches, rough sketches for the client, and the final sketch approved by the client.

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Above is the ink line work I made with a Pentel Brush Pen.

For my work, I use new textures made from scanned elements as well as old textures pulled from previous illustrations. For this illustration, I used three textures pulled from previous illustrations and re-colored them, light orange for the main texture, medium orange for an additional texture, and green for a texture that will relate to the line work.

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The image below shows the inked line work on a layer above the textures.

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I brought in additional textures to create the head shape, and additional textures for the body.

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And below is the colorized line work followed by the final illustration.

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Conversation illustration

2013-conversation This is an illustration I did for an essay by Jeff Chu, author of Does Jesus Love Me? A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America. The essay was about the author's visit to his family after coming out as gay, his boyfriend texting him the words, "Be humble" as he was about to meet with his family, his Midtown Manhattan subway rides, and his research for his book.

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Above is the sketch the client and I decided on. It represents the author's conversation with the people he met on his journey. But this wasn't my first idea.

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In the essay, the author described the 49th Street subway station he used as, "brick, glazed a garish orange-red that always has made me think of the flames of hell." He went on to describe how he felt each evening waiting for his train, fretting about his family as well as his conversations with his friends who were atheist.

So my first idea was to show him as a lone figure set against a hellish train pulling into the station. Other ideas I had related to the text sent by his boyfriend. But the client wanted a more positive image and asked me to send them a sketch about his conversations during his yearlong journey across America.

Below are ink and gouache elements I made to collage together in Photoshop to make the final art.

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Tablet doorway illustration

2013-tabletdoor This is an illustration I did last month for a story about education and technology. The client wanted to show a teacher and a student walking into a tablet as if it was a doorway.

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For some reason, I thought laptop rather than tablet, so I sent initial rough ideas showing a laptop as a doorway.

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Oops! So I sent in new sketches showing a tablet as a doorway. I wanted to do the top right idea, the tablet as a doorway on a path in a park or school quad. The client agreed.

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I used graphite and ink on a textured paper to create the frame of the tablet and some of the background elements.

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I made a pattern of dots that I thought might be useful as additional texture, wasn't quite sure at this point how I would use them.

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I used ink to create line work for the figures and the app icons that would appear in the tablet.

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Above is the background without the tablet and figures. I generally work larger than the final cropped size. This allows me to re-evaluate how I crop the final image and allows for ample bleed.

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Above is the background and tablet without the app icons and figures. For the background, I used a few gouache elements I had painted for previous work.

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Above is a detail of the figures. I wanted them to have similarities for visual repetition.

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And here again is the final illustration.

The Wall Street Journal: Which spouse gets the house?

I did a quick assignment for the Wall Street Journal this week, a piece for their October 1 issue for a story about how the market is affecting divorce arrangements. I really wanted to do the bird cage sketch but the art director wisely chose the house sketch and completely avoided discussing the cat sketch.

Below is my Colorforms version, all the vector paths separated.

Washington Post illustration

The previous dentist chair sketch was ink work for this illustration, an assignment from the Washington Post for an illustration to accompany an editorial about defunding the United States Institute of Peace.

Below are the thumbnails. This was a quick deadline, one day for sketches, two days for art. I started out with a peace symbol but moved to a dove/olive branch. The biting and scissors represent pruning, cutting; the defunding part.

Below is the rough sketch sent to the client, a dove dropping an olive branch that is being cut by a pair of scissors.

Here are a couple of scissors sketches (done in the dentist waiting room).

Here are olive branch sketches (done in the dentist chair, waiting for the novocaine to kick in).

Here is the final ink work (done just before the drill).

Later, I scanned and rearranged the above ink work to create the following composition. Also added a worry brow for the dove.

For the background, I painted an area of gouache using magenta and white. I only have magenta, blue, and white gouache at the moment. I tend to use these gouache elements as value only and either grayscale it or adjust the hue after scanning.

The illustration was grayscale so I converted the goauche into a light gray.

And here again is the final illustration.