Friday, 26 September 2014
Okay so let's face it, I think I begin pretty much each blog with an apology about my tardiness in posting something here, because of a hectic work schedule... well i'll not do that again, but I think this past month it is fair to say that all previous busy spells have been blown out of the water, by the sheer volume of work to come my way since the release of Kaleidoscope.
So what we have here is a bumper scale post of recent work.
I'll start with one of the most recent images to see print, a cover for the renowned Guardian Guide.
This was an odd one, in that Sara Ramsbottom the AD of the Guide actually hadn't received a copy of the book yet (I was biding my time) an email just came somewhat out of the blue to ask whether i'd be interested in a cover.
Now I am of the opinion that the Guide often has some of the best illustrated covers out there, and I found myself in the regrettable position of having to turn down this job as I was booked in with about 5 different jobs.
It can be somewhat heart-breaking for me to be in this position, especially when you hear the brief, and let's face it who wants to turn down Sara and the Guide.
Anyway somehow Sara was able to talk me around, even though I simply didn't have time... luckily some of my more regular clients were able to push back a few deadlines, and were very accommodating (thanks Dan, Peter, & Ped) so I was able to squeeze this in.
The illustration is of the stars of ITV2 Roman era set comedy Plebs.
Ha, I'll not go through how stressful it was to bring this cover to fruition over the space of a weekend while juggling other jobs.
One of the reasons I had not yet sent Sara one of my books (It's on it's way to you next week Sara!) was perhaps a feeling I had blown my chances with the magazine, after I had produced what I felt was a lackluster effort on my previous cover, some two years ago (btw, not art directed by Sara) fortunately this opinion was not shared by Sara.
Despite the speedy turnaround of the job (I would have made the arrows better, and walls more crumbly with more time) I was actually really, really pleased with this in print... in fact i've shown this to everyone, and it's an image i'm really proud of... thanks Sara, for thinking of me for this, and hopefully i'll produce more work for the title under slightly less stressful circumstances.
Wouldn't be a proper post without some work for the gang at TopGear magazine, here's a bunch from the monthly Ask Uncle TopGear column.
I'm very grateful to the team there for allowing me the regular opportunity to doodle for the title, and recently for Peter the designer there giving me a bit more freedom in composing these pieces more to my liking.
As previously stated I work in a more realistic "tight" style for the title, without the time used on these assignments to fine tune the technique, images like that drawn for The Guide above would simply not be possible.
A selection of covers for my long-time friends at Incisive.
Above is a cover for Insurance Age, a magazine i've just produced another cover for this week, this one was actually completed a while back, before things went a bit crazy.
Illustration was for a feature about building insurance, brief was simple, drawn an insurance fella in front of a disaster building... like this image, would draw the guy's shadow better if I had the time back ... apart from that, always a pleasure to work with Iain at the title, he's one of those people I'm fortunate to work with who y'know "get's it", he knows how to use me, gives me decent briefs, and enough time to produce the final drawing.
This is a rare cover for Financial Director magazine, this was actually drawn ages ago... i'm not sure why I have delayed in putting this up, I think maybe the idea was that I would do a Financial Director special post, with all the spots I draw for the title.
I draw 4 regular spot illos for the title, so I've produced a large number of images for the title over the past few years, some I would argue are conceptually (at least) my best images... anyway enough about the spots, i'll do a feature on just them next post.
So the cover was..er..about floods (well d'uh!) this image is a lot more simpler than what I usually do, and for me this recalls the work of the American conceptual illustrator Guy Billout (exceptional artist!) the waves were used as a framing device for a headline placed on by the designer, I can't remember seeing the final layout, but I imagine this would work beautifully.
This is the first of a planned series of 3 images for Legal Week, and a Legal Week promotional series of conferences.
I was given headshots of a group of leading Legal heavyweights that would be attending a conference in Lake Como, Italy and asked to compose an image.
I did something similar last year albeit not as well as above.
These kinds of images (advertorials) are often difficult, and fraught with possible minefields, as there's a hell of a lot of people involved.. all with differing opinions, i've done my fair share of this work, and it can prove troublesome.
This one was art directed by Dan Parker, someone I trust, and knows what he is doing, sometimes us illustrators need to be protected a bit, otherwise an image like this would get crushed under the deluge of alterations and nit-picking.
Luckily with Dan on board this one proved pretty smooth sailing, the second one in the series got signed off yesterday, after being on the project for a month and a half... Ha, that was a far more tricky affair, arguably less successful, and didn't have Dan art directing, 'nuff said!
Sometimes it's not what you know, but who! This job came courtesy of Nuts alumni, Nitish Mandalia who was freelancing for Britain's biggest tabloid The Sun, for their Sunday supplement Fabulous and a football special called OFFSIDE.
The above job seemed easy on paper... proved far more difficult in execution, usually when I do these kind of jobs, i'm given a very specific set of instructions and often photo reference (to interpret as I see fit) there was little of that here, and I made the mistake of following the designer's instruction as opposed to the 'copy' text... took a long time to get them right.
I think most artists will tell you, the more times you ahve to re-draw an image, the more labored the process becomes, this happened here.
These were exercise illos done for OFFSIDE, art directed by Laura Cunningham, I was on far more comfortable ground with these, these printed great in the magazine.
This was another one for OFFSIDE, i'd long wanted to draw Harry Redknapp, his hangdog expression is calling out to be illustrated, so I was happy to finally get my shot.
This was about the phone ringing off the hook on transfer deadline day, the issue with this one was that one of my most popular images (a portrait of Bill Murray) proved a little too popular with the art team, and I was essentially asked to re-create it with Harry Redknapp.
I am relatively happy with the piece, but perhaps there was a missed opportunity with this one.. i've certainly got a better Redknapp illustration in my locker.
This image has a Warhol-like Pop Art feel to it, several weeks later The Sun brought out a "Reality Show Rich List" supplement with all the major players illustrated in pretty much the exact same way as above, albeit without me on board.
I can't complain too much, the illustrator did a cracking job, but make no mistake this work sowed the seed... still it was a pleasure to work with Nitish again, to work with such a big publication like The Sun, and also to work with Laura and Mark at the magazine, who i'd work with again in a heartbeat
'Nother one for The Sun, this time for Fabulous magazine. Art directed by Laura Cunningham, these were enjoyable, pain-free and I rarely just do B&W line work.
Okay now onto some spots for my friends at Empire magazine.. everyone knows I am a devoted reader, so i'll not bore everyone with the fanboy type glee that comes with a commission for the title.
Above is a set of images from a feature about Sin City 2, these were for a box out in the main feature, which asked for some funny drawings of Robert Rodriguez inspired pet drawn in Sin City grey scale.
Above are Deperadog (El Mari Chihuahua) Spy Kids (as in Baby Goats, get it?) From Duck 'Til Dawn
and Planet Terrapin... I really loved these in print, I remember stressing about the terrapin one.. now I think it's the best of the bunch! Yep, doesn't matter how small a drawing prints.. I can still stress about it!
More spots for this Month's Empire, this time the new faces of horror. I'm a big horror nut, and I like the new breed of horror films currently being made like Insidious, so this was one of those that was made for me.
Above is the woman from Woman in Black (sorry forgot name!) Annabelle from The Conjuring/Annabelle, Mr Boogie (doesn't look like much of a mover!) from Sinister, Red Face from Insidious and just for fun a Minion from Despicable Me.
Love these jobs, so much fun, and Chris and Adam are just the best to work with. When I draw things like this, I realise what a lucky so and so I am!
Above is the first job I did for new client Men's Fitness.
This came about not unlike the job for The Sun, Ha, in that I had a friend on the inside.
An art director called Camille Neilson who I had previously worked with at PC Pro and who had very kindly written a feature on me for Mac User had recently left her desk as a full-time AD and gone freelance, we'd kept in touch in that period.
One of her many jobs (she's a very busy lady nowadays!) was a period working for the gang at Men's Fitness, where she promptly showed my work around (who needs an agent with friends like this!) an introduction was made with the AD of the title Ped Millichamp... We also have Camille to thank for giving me the much needed kick up the backside in updating my website (new pictures on there soon!)
I was promptly offered the set of Action Man exercises above, which were great fun to do.
Now what I should say here, is that I was actually biding my time before actually sending my book Kaleidoscope out to Men's Fitness and Ped... because he was at the top of the tree amongst art directors I wanted to work with, but as of yet, had not had the pleasure.
I am the biggest illustration geek... possibly in the world, my knowledge is straight out encyclopedic, if I was on Mastermind, that would be my specialist subject, and I would probably win!
Anyway, I not only follow work of illustrators, but the art directors that commission the best illustrators, to use a football analogy, if us illustrators consider ourselves the players, then the Art Director's are the managers. Top players want to work with the top managers, simple as that! And Ped's one of the Best.
Thanks to Camille's introduction, I've had the pleasure of working with Ped over the past few months, above are a set of exercise illos of MMA fighter Luke Rockhold, once you work with someone like Ped, you realize why their reputation and standing is so high in the illustration community.
More exercises for MF, this time of muscle-bound funny man Terry Crews (arguably the best thing about any film he's in!) lots of fun to do.
This is the first of (hopefully!) a series of illustrations for a column called Top Tweets, published each month in the back of the Men's Fitness, clever idea, and very suited to my likeness/celebrity culture driven work.
Each month the feature highlight tweets by the famous that relate to exercise, this first one of ("World's Fittest Man"tm) Richard Fronning I remember being a bit disappointed with, I felt I could do better, but with the amount of work I had on, I felt a bit compromised... I shouldn't have worried so much, came out great in print.. best bit, body-building gnome!
Felt far more at ease with this one, and it looked lovely in the copy I picked up yesterday... best bit, weightlifting monkey!
Right, now that was epic! Believe it or not, this is still only a selection of everything i've done, as a lot of it has yet to see print as it was completed in the past two weeks or so, which means due to contractual obligation I cannot show them here yet... of course, that means expect to see yet another gigantic sized posting here in the next few months!