Tuesday, May 22, 2018

On the Drawing Board: Mucho Libros

This may be the longest stretch of dead air here since starting this journal nearly twelve years ago. My apologies. Simply put, the studio has been stirring, while life in general has been hopping along at a brisk pace...leaving little time to ruminate or blog about it.

One of those things - and the most significant - has been my daughter's high school graduation! We hosted a big party here at the house, and visits from family and friends, (including my Mom, flying in from Illinois.) Our "little girl" is a graduate...and I can't believe how fast the past 18 years have gone by. (She's starting college in the fall, studying illustration and animation.)

For those who came here to see some recent scribblings/drawings/cartoons, (or even those who just stumbled in after a Google image search), I'll share a few book illustration commissions and advertising projects. If you're already bored, I'll understand if you hightail it out of here, but I'll try to spruce up the verbage.

I recently wrapped up illustrating four books, and all of them have been engaging, with diverse subject matter and fascinating concepts from each author.

Two books simply unleashed me to splash a bit of ink and watercolor around...the other two asked me to write funny stuff as well.

The first book: "Would You Do That To Your Mother?by business author, Jeanne Bliss and released by Penguin/Random House this week.

Jeanne Bliss pioneered the role of the Chief Customer Officer, holding the first ever CCO role for over 20 years at Lands' End, Microsoft, Coldwell Banker and Allstate Corporations.  This is Jeanne's fourth published book.                 

This commission consisted of 46 color cartoons, starting with roughly 65 ideas with dialogue written to get to that number - and that is a healthy amount of work.

The work was fascinating, as the book is filled with insights about the inner workings of many Fortune 100 companies, as well as what crazy things such companies unwittingly do that lose customers.

The cartoons are available as downloads, and also added to videos, which are available through the publisher's website.

The book has received reviews from some noteworthy journalists and CEOs, and it seems that it's message is resonating with people.

Update: 5/21: Jeanne called me while on her book's promotional tour and said that the book sold 15,000 copies in the first week, and is currently #1 in Amazon's business books.

The next is a recently illustrated book is by Wendy Wood, the Provost Professor of Psychology and Business at the University of Southern California. https://dornsife.usc.edu/wendywood/about-wendy-wood/ 

Wendy initially hired me to create an illustration to humorously explain and depict concept.

After doing one for her and being fortunate enough to make her laugh, I signed a contract to do the rest. After getting to read several chapters, I realized I was getting an extremely interesting course in habit building. (Who doesn't want to develop top-notch habitual abilities?)

Here's one of several cartoons written and drawn for her book"Habits and Rewards" which is being published later this year by Macmillan books.

The third new book is by Memphis-based author, Mark Grissom. He has written a children's book that deals with safety. Though it is intended to be understood by kids, it is aimed at being good advice for all ages. (Well, at least it made good sense to me...as a serial risk-taker.)

It's filled with all sorts of clever metaphors that get across the wisdom of actively avoiding pitfalls.

Being a children's book, every page was illustrated...and that entailed nearly 70 ink and watercolor illustrations. I worked on this with the author gradually, over a span going back to December.

The fourth book dealt with a guitar instruction. Yes, you read that right. (I told you this is a diverse group.)

Originally from Philadelphia, Eric Stone is a contemporary guitar player, music educator, and arranger. He earned a certificate in guitar performance from the world-renowned Los Angeles Music Academy College of Music in Pasadena. 

Eric hired me to illustrate his instruction book this past winter and I had a terrific time working with him in communicating his ideas and concepts.

An admission...I took guitar lessons, once informally and briefly from an old girlfriend, and later from a fairly well known guitarist from the Boulder based band, Firefall. The whole thing pretty much escaped me, and I picked up zippo. (I don't have any musical talent). But I wish I had Eric as a teacher back then.

Here are three of a dozen illustrations for a terrific guitar instruction book authored by Eric Stone. Eric is already working on his second book and he's contacted me about illustrating that soon.

All totaled, these four books required nearly 150 illustrations and written humor ideas. Combined with the usual corporate and advertising client work, it made for for a quite busy first few months of 2018.

In the midst of a few of those late nights, I momentarily lost sight of how incredibly blessed I am to be able to write and draw for a living. But only momentarily.


Lastly, we'll throw in a few recent commissions and advertising pieces:

Illustrations created for Intel Corporation to publicize their "Intelligent Systems" technology.

One of several cartoons created for a government agency in Dubai.

An advertising piece for a cosmetics company in Beverly Hills, California, addressing a feeling that some women over 50 have, that they disappear from the view of the opposite sex. (Though it is an effective way to market cosmetics, I don't agree.)
An update for a piece created for the University of Toronto.

Finally, a cartoon for a long-time client in New York.

Next up on the drawing board...a new business book, some cartoons for a Silicon Valley tech company, and a San Diego Real Estate firm, as well as an ongoing series of investment cartoons for a New York-based wealth management firm.

Oh, and most important of all, I need to get my rump in gear on Mother's Day celebrating - for two moms, mine and my wife.