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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Corporate Dealmakers

Without fail, if I leave my studio for any extended period of time, I will get a commission that I can't turn down.

On this occasion, I went to Altoona, PA with some artist buddies to check out Illuxcon. I have a not-so-secret interest in fantasy art and this convention is the premiere showcase for original genre paintings.  While drooling over idealized yet heavily armored women and every variety of slimey monster, I received a call to do a cover for Larry Gendron at The Deal.  I went from the dude staring at paintings to the dude sitting in the corner sketching. So it goes.

Lacking a scanner I was forced to take pictures of my thumbnails my ipad, send them to my laptop and work them up in photoshop. Not exactly my ideal creative situation, but it worked.

The topic was the top 100 corporate dealmakers. When I first talked to Larry, he was trying to find reference for the top ten, so I could put them on the cover. Considering the idea of doing ten likenesses while basically scrawling on napkins left me very scared. Lucky me, editors couldn't nail down the names and faces, so instead I got to go a bit more abstract (thank Jebus).

The idea was to show these imposing corporate character as getting ready for, or running into, battle. We agreed that a color scheme based off "300" could be a nice touch. My apologies to loincloth enthusiasts for keeping the characters in suits.
running, standing tough, walking
 We settled on the standing and looking threatening option.
Pretty fun going really atmospheric, pulling out white suit highlights and really saturating the reds.
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Client sketches and cafe sketches - Jason Raish

cover for the Washington Post Sunday Outlook section about Obama, the loner president and how doesn't try to befriend people in Washington, make allies and play politics like you're supposed to to get re-elected.

spot for the Washington Post Sunday Outlook section about Obama, the loner president and how doesn't try to befriend people in Washington, make allies and play politics like you're supposed to to get re-elected.

maybe i'll start posting (some) of my sketches up. i think its interesting to see illustrator's sketches against the final. and you can see how horrible most of mine are.

spot for Golf magazine's rule's guy column. this one is about a ball that bounces out of the cup.

The first time i've pulled out my sketchbook in ages. sketching at "Look Mum No Hands" a bike-centric cafe on old street in London. I was sketching these 2 girls in front of me and thought they didn't know but they said they totally knew i was sketching them after they asked to see it when i was leaving. halfway down the block one of the girls came running and asked if they could have it. So i hung out with them a couple times so far and made new friends in London town.

my flatmate at the Vintage Emporium cafe on Bacon street off of Brick Lane in London. A super cool place and my flatmate knows the owner and its right down the street from our flat.

first time i pulled out the watercolors and sketchbook in a long time. This was on another day at some french cafe on Broadway market in London. I've been on a decent cafe sketch run the last few weeks compared to my once a year average. It's sad, when I was a student it was every other day and now its been reduced to a few times a year :(

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Be prepared!

Here is another fun project for AD SooJin. It's a great honor to be part of the amazing PLANSPONSOR November issue with super star artist lineup: Jillian Tamaki, Meg Hunt, JooHee Yoon, Jing Wei, Jonathan Barlett, Charles Immer, A Richard Allen, Greg Mably, Katherine Streeter, Kyle T. Webster...

The article is about "getting prepared for the future" and here is my take-
(Really glad SooJin let the perky butts run...)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mylar experiments

I just finished another mylar piece in between jobs. Some of these mylar pieces are a bit older but I don't think I've posted them on this blog yet.

These are really just for my own personal experimentation and to hopefully evolve more as an artist. The process is quite chaotic -if you could even call it a process. I try not to expect or anticipate any result and just rely on intuition when I work on these. Obviously , you don't need mylar to do this, but the surface is quite forgiving and allows for some serious abuse.

I don't really consider these paintings or drawings or sketches....they kind of live in some weird space in-between which I like.

Thanks for checking these out -S.

Ghost Hedgehog for Tor

I feel Irene has mastered the art of matching stories with illustrators. Every time I get a project from her, I get all giddy. Nina Kiriki Hoffman's Ghost Hedgehog is a really cool story of a boy who serves as temporary ride for souls in search of closure. Her visuals are quirky and inventive, and her characters are nicely developed. It provided me plenty to play with. I would've been happy to finish any one of these thumbs, which may not be the case of every project :S

Sketch level was a bit of a challenge. Drawing 11ish year old girls is a pain. You just kinda get used to drawing fully grown adults, awkward teenagers, or cute young kids, mostly toddlers. But 11-12 year old girls are somewhat of a gray area. I just couldn't get the expressions and proportions right. There was a lot of research and A TON of girls before the ones that reached finals. These are the least embarrassing two.

And this is the drawing that went to final. By the way, the reason why the boy was not a hassle, my nephew is 11 years old.

I went through a bunch of color schemes with this one. Here's the four that I showed Irene. It's a good thing the first two were a no go. That kid looks like he's miserably walking back from a birthday party his mom made him attend since "it would've been very rude not to". Green was the first one I really liked, but then I tried some reds as well since the story has lots of them (you haven't read it yet?!).

A few emails back and forth, and Irene and I went for green.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Illostop members actually exist in reality! (continued)

Our interactions are not limited (as evidenced by an abundance of questionable tweets), but we don't get to see each other very often. Other than the folks that live in New York, some of us only attend one or two NY events a year, making these little encounters all the more exciting.

I've met, known, and been a fan of these guys for quite a while, but this was, I think, the first time I get to really hang out with them. They're awesome, and pretty tolerant, considering I had just come in from some infamous Workbook carnival craziness.

So these are Sam, Victo, and Raul on this first pic.

Chris, Scott and I on this second one. Victo says she apologizes for the blurry pic. In her defense, the cardinals had just beaten the Texas Rangers and she could barely contain her excitement.

By the way, here's also a couple of sketches that Raul and I worked on. You can tell the guy can really life draw. You can also tell which ones belong to Raul and which ones belong to me.

Intimidating as it was, I attempted to repay him with a sketch as well, only to realize I should leave this to him and stick to my guns. He draw one of the best portraits I've ever seen of me!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Illustration Now! 4, I'm in there!

I'm in Illustration Now! 4 published by Taschen that just came out this year. It's a collection of top illustrators from around the globe, so i don't know how I got in there. I've see the first 3 incarnations of this book and it's cool to be included in this one and have two spreads.

Left: art for Saatchi and Saatchi (NY). Middle: Hartford Courant Ella Fitzgerald. Right: Yahoo! Singapore

Left: Personal piece inspired by a "Wish-Tree" that I saw in Shanghai. Middle: Tiger Beer. Right: Yahoo! Singapore.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

FF vs RE

This illo is still warm!! I just finished it yesterday and it's going to be in tomorrow's New York Times paper (Sunday Nov 6). You can read the article here online. This is my first color illustration for the CRAZY PACE letter page and it's a very fun (and no sleep) challenge.
The topic is about the tension and debates between fossil fuel and renewal energies.
I gave up going to Conan O'Brien 's for this...but it's worth it, right?

Big thanks to AD Alexandra and Aviva! Always a pleasure to work with.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Run moneyhorse run!

This is a recent piece for the New York Times travel section, it's online now and was published in the past Sunday (Oct 30) paper.

I had tons of fun with this piece but the story isn't necessarily a good news for most people including myself. Major airlines continue to cut flights this holiday season while the number of passengers increase. So traveling will be quite hectic -expensive tickets, packed planes and long lines will be expected.
Many airlines also launched some new policies- basically if you pay more, you can skip the security check line, check in more languages, board the plane before others and even enjoy more legroom....Unless you are one of those who can afford the moneyhorse, this kinda sucks.

Great thanks to AD Corinne and the editors at the Times for letting me run wild with such a practical story.

Cover for Diplomat magazine

This is a cover I did for the latest UK Diplomat mag Ukraine issue cover.
It's quite an interesting story how I get under the radar of AD Jeannie Saba. I participated in the Pick Me Up show in London earlier this year and Jeannie's boyfriend bought one of my prints for her as a gift. She really liked it and decided to hire me to do a cover! I guess one can never predict how fate unfolds.

The theme of the cover is Ukraine's growth and her blooming agriculture. I want to celebrate Ukraine's fertile black soil which provides for and nourishes everything in the country. To me, growth is energetic and festive, then the idea of integrating the famous Ukrainian ballet came to mind: why not humanize the black soil into ballerinasdancing around the blooming sunflower? I chose sunflower to symbolize Ukraine as it's a very popular flower in the country and it's the flower that always grow upward facing the sun. The large anther of the flower also allows me to be playful and sneak in a few unique Ukrainian architecture there!

The cover went through a few different stages, you can see the evolution here.
I went with the red palette at first because I like its explosive energy.

Jeannie suggested that it would be nice to use Ukraine's national flag colors instead.