Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Digital Drawing Board; A Respite from my Respite

I've been absent here, taking a seven-month break from this journal - as well as most social media. So, Happy Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Holidays and New Year - and likely, happy birthday.

This unplanned hiatus started with being too busy with other things; family, clients, etc., and then extended itself...with me wanting to spend more time with family, friends and some personal projects.

Last year I overheard my daughter talking with two neighbor friends about social media. One girl announced that she had over a thousand friends on Instagram and that in comparison, the other two girls were not nearly as popular. The other neighbor asked how many of this girl's followers were real friends, and suggested that they could feed her graduation party attendees with a couple of sub sandwiches. Ouch.

I realized that described my feelings. No offense to social media fans, but I questioned spending time with social media "friends" from various platforms, many of whom I will never even converse with...and decided to focus more energy and time on people closer to the heart.

During this vacation from the smart phone and tablet I was contacted by some out-of-state clients and friends whom I had not talked with recently, to see if I was okay. So, in a clumsy way, even that part of my silence worked out - I got to talk with them, instead of simply seeing a "like" on a photo or post.

The social media vacation continues. But I'm temporarily breaking the streak here just in case anyone else is wondering where I went.

I thought I'd also quickly rummage through the recent art bin to share a small sampling of enjoyable client projects that have graced my drawing board:


First, a poster created for the latest theatrical production of  Hexagon, "Washington DC's only original political, satirical, musical, comedy revue."

From their website: Since 1955, Hexagon has produced an annual show that parodies local, national and international political issues. The new production is set in the future and is titled "Romp in the Swamp"...

(click to enlarge)


Below is an editorial illustration created for the White Marlin Open, the world's largest ocean game fish tournament, located every year in Ocean City, Maryland.

It was filled with controversy in its 45th year, for the use of polygraph tests for fishermen. This year the winner took home a prize of $2.5 million...but had t undergo a polygraph test to ensure he did not cheat.

Also included is a small drawing of Ernest Hemingway, one of the best-known bill fisherman.

(Click to enlarge)


I was recently hired by an AP History society to create political cartoons to accompany articles for high school AP History students. The first cartoon was paired with an article on the Truman Doctrine
and the most recent editorial cartoons covered The Dawes Severalty Act, (affecting native Americans), and Roosevelt's Square Deal...


In October I was commissioned to create a series of humorous promotional postcards and posters over the next 8 months for WESTAF (Western States Arts Federation), a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to strengthening the infrastructure of the arts in the West. 

WESTAF is located in Denver and governed by a 22-member board of trustees comprised of arts leaders in the West.  They serve the largest constituent territory of the U.S. regional arts organizations and includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai’i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

The first few are intended to point out the benefits of working with WESTAF vs other grants organizations.

Reverse side of the third card, with printer cut lines and postal safe zones.


Some more illustrations for Erickson Air Crane, the maker of helicopters used in large scale construction and forest fire fighting throughout the world.


An early rough rendering of a map for a new large scale dog amusement park in Northern California. This is a large park (and drawing), and I'm zooming in on the right half of it for now...more later. 


One of several illustrations commissioned for Muscogee Nation Casinos,  a group of nine Native American tribal casinos in Oklahoma.


I enjoy creating a regular cartoon for cloud computing pioneer CGNet and their advertising and marketing. Here are a few recent pieces:


A Keynote presentation illustration for a for Five Point Energy, an energy investment firm in Houston, and their annual stockholder meeting. These cartoons help depict the volatility in the energy futures market, and possible unseen dangers ahead.


A character comp for Action Avatar https:// a virtual reality gaming company in North Carolina,  Their proprietary software and camera system allows you create an accurate, lifelike avatar of yourself to be inserted into many games. B&W version shown, it was finished in several color versions. (This illustration is 6 feet tall, and is being used in their booth at Comic Cons.)

 I regularly draw cartoons to accompany editorials and articles for a magazine covering the Boston Police department...below are two recent samples:


Two illustrations for a magazine article on artificial intelligence,
authored by Pedro Alves, founder of leading AI firm, Ople Inc.

Several book illustration projects graced my studio over the last few months, but I thought I'd share one that was truly fun. Here are two 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.


One of several pieces that involved writing and art, for Maryland wealth management firm, WMS Partners. The financial theme cartoons are being featured in a publication and their advertising efforts.

I have been working on concepts since June with their new publication editor Malcolm Fitch, the former Editor-in-chief of Standard & Poor.


In October I was commissioned to co-write a humorous presentation for Cloud Sliver, Inc., a new client in Austin, Texas. Their specialty is moving large scale corporate data to the cloud, applications like Oracle, Microsoft with storage for tens of thousands of employees. 

Their proprietary software has saved companies like AT&T and Citibank millions of dollars and years of work. The process is hard to explain in a typical PowerPoint sales presentation to executives, so I was asked to write some funny metaphors and draw a few cartoons to get the theme across. 


Lastly, something not for clients: the family Christmas card. 

Today, after a great afternoon out hiking with my wife daughter, I'm working on a 'New Yorker style' cartoon for a new client, a Boston-based risk management firm. I have the sketch rendered and some watercolor ready and waiting, so I'll wrap up soon.

It felt good to take some time away from the blog, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. No pressure to update, or to read the latest fake news and noise.

We have taken two ski trips, spent time with my Mom and brother in Chicago, and with in laws here - in the past month alone. I'd gladly make that trade every time. With that said, after my next post, (which I had written a while back), I may disappear again for a while. Until that respite ends, adieu. I hope your new year is off to a wonderful start.

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