Thursday, October 7, 2010

Send in the Drones

Pakistan is criticizing the U.S. over the recent increase in 'suspected' drone attacks within it's borders.

In this Illustration I have depicted the drone plane as a bird of prey and Uncle Sam as the falconer. It's a pen and ink drawing that was colorized on the computer using Adobe Photoshop CS3.

I rather enjoyed doing this one.

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Phelps and the Fallen

Yesterday's Illustration is on the subject of the case before the Supreme Court involving the family of a fallen soldier and the Pastor Fred Phelps and his church.

This is a very interesting case that pits free speech against common decency. Unfortunately I think Pastor Phelps and his followers will walk out with their freedom to picket funerals of fallen soldiers, murdered gay folks, victims of terrorism and everyone else he feels God hates completely intact.

Families who are going through unimaginable pain will have to continue to be put further trough the wringer by pastor Phelps and his followers.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010


These are couple Illustrations I did on the subject of bullying. Unfortunately the topic has tragically reared it's ugly head in the headlines lately.

The first Illustration deals specifically with the use of computers and technology that bullies employ to harass and torment their targets.

The second piece of artwork focuses more on the intolerance of difference. In the case of a couple tragic stories over the last couple of weeks that difference was the fact that the young victims were gay.

These stories are nothing new and I wish I knew the answer on how to end it. I can only pray for the day when these particular Illustrations will no longer be relevant.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

All We Are Saying...

One can only cross ones fingers as Israeli and Palestinian leaders sit down once again for peace talks. The fact that they are sitting down at all is a not so tiny victory.

This Illustration can be interpreted in a couple of different ways I suppose. The flags blowing in opposite directions is pretty obvious. The U.S flag in the middle can bee seen a couple different ways. The fact that it is blowing in neither direction can be seen as representing the Americans as impartial mediators. It can also been seen as showing the Obama administration as ineffectual in this instance- as not having the political clout to pull off any real progress.

I remain optimistic that some progress can be made despite efforts by extremists to derail the process. We can only cross our collective fingers and hope.
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Monday, August 23, 2010

High Country News Cover

I recently completed an assignment with an excellent publication called High Country News.

HCN is a bi-weekly publication based in Paonia, Colorado. According the their Mission they are "a nonprofit media organization that covers the important issues and stories that define the American West. Its mission is to inform and inspire people - through in-depth journalism - to act on behalf of the West's diverse natural and human communities."

The story I Illustrated a fascinating and very well written feature about an arson wildfire in southern California that killed 5 Forest Service crew members.

The story was written by respected journalist and author John N. Maclean. The story was adapted from a forthcoming book of his on the tragic Esperanza Fire.

This assignment involved a cover, 2 full spread Illustrations and a spot Illustration.

I've worked on several occasions with the folks at HCN and we always seem to click. In fact one of our collaborations resulted in an "Award of Excellence" from the Society of Newspaper Design for a story entitled "The Yuck Factor".

This is one of the spreads I did for this story.

The spot Illustration accompanying this piece.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Lightnin' Hopkins CD Release

On Monday August 16th Future Noise Music will be releasing a 3 CD compilation of the works of Texas blues great Lightnin' Hopkins.

The cover will feature a scratch-board painting of Hopkins I did in 2009. I'm simply busting.

I'm always a little nervous when someone requests some artwork of mine and I know they're going to crop it and/or add text. In this case the worry was unwarranted as I think they did a ripping job.


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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tea For Two?

Accusations that Tea Party leaders tolerate racism within their ranks has surfaced once again in the news. If you do a quick Google search of Tea Party gatherings it's pretty clear to see that there is a racist fringe attending some of these rallies. Denying it only serves to bring more scrutiny.

Although I disagree with many of their ideas- I'm not of the opinion that the majority of Tea Party members are nut jobs and/or racists. But- if the Tea Party is to be taken seriously as a political force that speaks to mainstream America, they'll first need to recognize the problem and address it. Otherwise they promulgate it.

This is the Illustration I did on this subject. I have the teacup split in the middle with a black and white face. I really enjoyed doing this because I thought the design was pretty original and eye catching.
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

NYC Mosque Project: Location, Location, Location!

Today I did an illustration on a proposed Mosque project located just 2 blocks from ground zero in New York City. It's a very simple design done with silhouetted buildings on a textured background. Simple and powerful is my hope.

I really don't know how I feel about this project. Like most, the events of 9/11 had a profound effect on my life. I can't even imagine the effects this horrific event had on regular New Yorkers let alone the family members of the victims.

The mosque is a project of the American Society for Muslim Advancement and the Cordoba Institute, which promotes cross-cultural understanding between Islam and the west. That's a very noble and important undertaking and they should be recognized and commended for their efforts.

It seems to me that if cross cultural understanding is their objective, then they might want to start by finding a less distressing location perhaps.
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Monday, July 5, 2010

"WTF?" at the RNC

Poor Michael Steele. He's certainly had a rough ride at the helm of the RNC. He's at the helm when Rush is doing his radio show anyway but hey, riding shotgun ain't so bad Mikey.

The latest bump in the road to leave his tush a little tender was self inflicted unfortunately when he suggested to a crowd that the war in Afghanistan was "Obama's war". This comment has drawn criticism from all fronts, left, right and everywhere in between. A bit of bipartisanship from the head honcho at the GOP- he's pissed everyone off.

This Illustration shows Mikey's somewhat wobbly status as the Chairman. The GOP knives are out-stay tuned.

Oh yes- If you do get sacked Mikey pray they don't send Arizona's Congressional Candidate Pamela Goreman to do the deed. Yikes!

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Windy CityTear Sheet

This is a tear sheer from the Chicago Tribune. It features one of my Illustrations with a Clarence Page opinion piece about the harsh rhetoric, specifically from Conservative commentators, in reaction to a speech and article by Bill Clinton on the 15th Anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. It's a very excellent piece at that.

I featured this Illustration in an earlier blog entitled "Can We Talk?". The blog features a color version of this Illustration and some thoughts on it's development.

Further down the page you can see a very excellent Illustration by fellow Illustrator and friend John Overmyer. His art is used to accompany a quotation from Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis. I haven't seen an Illustration used to go with a single quotation before in a paper. Very innovative and interesting idea.
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Flash Basher, The Brit, The Judge and The X-Man

Here are a few portraits I've done over the last week or so of folks who have made the headlines for various reasons.

My favorite one is the Malcolm X portrait. While searching for a reference picture I watched a few videos of some of his speeches. Wow! I'm not a mystic by nature but I must confess I was quite moved as I did the drawing for this portrait. I think he has the most powerful face I've ever seen.

I don't know why but I enjoy doing portraits more then I used to. I can't explain why. I don't even know why I bring it up. Oh well...enjoy.

(Click the images to read more about the subject)

Flash Bash-er Steve Jobs

The U.K.'s new Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg

Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan

Malcolm X who would have been 85 yrs old today

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Tikkun Tear Sheet

"Tikkun is a magazine dedicated to healing and transforming the world. We seek articles that directly or indirectly give us new insight on how to make that healing and transformation a reality."(From Tikkun Website)

This is a tear sheet from a magazine I appear in from time to time called Tikkun. This magazine covers a wide range of subjects such as politics, economics, culture, religion, psychology, to mention only a few.

It's a sharply presented and well written publication chuck full of interesting and thoughtful articles.

I'm very proud to be associated with it.
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Monday, May 3, 2010

Oil Is Not Well

This Illustration falls into the simple idea and composition category that I just love. The simplicity of composition allows me to concentrate on colors and textures.

In terms of subject matter, how very sad.

Read more.
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Friday, April 23, 2010

Obama's Inbox

Here's another Illustration I did for Obama's crusade to reform Wall Street.

The idea is pretty straight forward with the famous "Wall St." street sign sticking out of the President's inbox. The composition with its vertical layout is kind of unusual.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Can We Talk?: The Teen Edition

I read a story today about how texting has become teenagers prime communication tool. Apparently 72% of U.S. teens text regularly while 54% text daily. I can't really venture a guess as to how this effects teen socialization skills.

I do know this however, I hate cellphone technology. I do own a cellphone. It's the absolute cheapest one on the market. It doesn't have a camera, video recorder, MP3 player, or cheese grader. It's a phone and pretty much only a phone( I have to admit I do use the tip calculator on occasion). Basically it's for use in case of an emergency.

Here are a couple of reason's I dislike them.

Remember the old days when in queue for something, a doctor's appointment or waiting at a bus stop, and you actually struck up a conversation with fellow human being? Nowadays more often then not you wait in silence while the person beside you buries their face in a tiny little screen. Does this not have an impact on people's sense of community? Does it not further people's feelings of isolation and disconnect with other human beings? I think it does.

Here's another scenario. You're driving the highways and byways and you spot a car darting erratically in front of you. "Someone is in to the sauce a little early today" you think. But as you cautiously draw closer to pass, you see it isn't a bottle in their hand but a cellphone. I live in Ontario Canada where it is illegal to be operating a hand-held device while driving, but I still see it all the time.

I've ranted long enough. I'm sure you get it, I don't like the blasted things. Here is the Illustration I did regarding teen texting. I composed it to mimic a circuitry board on an electronic device. The ends encircle each teen in a bubble like fashion to signify the isolating nature of these technologies. Some would argue they connect people but I disagree. But I digress.

Back to the ol' drawing board.
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Monday, April 19, 2010

Business Ethics Takes Another Kick to the Sachs

Wall Street's less then squeaky clean image takes another hit as the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission charges Goldman Sachs with defrauding investors in a sale of securities tied to subprime mortgages.

What they're alleged to have done is basically selling it's clients bonds secretly designed to fail, then raking it in when they did. Not unlike selling a lame horse to a stable, then betting against that horse in the race. Ka-ching!

This Illustration isn't specifically about Goldman Sachs but more generally about dirty dealings that do occur on occasion in the business world.

I tried to make the composition of this piece interesting by placing the perspective below the subjects. This gives the subject a distorted look which I hope communicates a feeling of corruption and greed. This view point also allows the Aces up the sleeve to cascade down upon the viewer which I think is effective. I also incorporated a fair bit of green into the colour scheme, again for greed.

Thanks for checking into my Illustration blog. I appreciate any comments you might have.

Back to the ol' drawing board.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Can We Talk?

This recent Illustration represents what I see a lot of "political discussion" has become. Loud voices trying to be louder then the opposing loud voices.

My absolute favourite Illustration ideas are always simple ones. This Illustration is about as simple of an idea that you can get. The simplicity of the idea, and more importantly the composition, gave me an opportunity to explore some different textures in the piece.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Obama: Wall Street Referee

With the US economy showing some signs of recovery, President Obama tries to keep his current winning streak alive by putting Wall Street firmly in his cross-hairs.

Looking at preventing another economic Chernobyl- he plans to introduce financial regulations that will hopefully prevent future taxpayer bailouts of folk whose business practices are modeled after the cast of MTV's Jackass.

As the president is looking at introducing new rules and regulations so that the boys and girls on Wall Street will play nicely, I have depicted the president as a sports referee.

This first image shows the artwork's transformation from a simple line drawing into a grayscale version, then finally a full colour Illustration.

Most of my Illustrations are drawn using a Steadtler pigment liner pen. I then scan the line -drawing into the computer and add the colour in Photoshop CS3. We are living in the digital age after all.

Final version of today's Illustration

If you have any comments regarding the topic or artwork I'd love to hear from you. Unless you're mean or overly critical in which case "love" might be overstating it. If you are prone to rant in a nut-like fashion, try to be entertaining as opposed to scary please.

Back to the ol' drawing board.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Headlines and Pen Lines

Most of the Illustration work I currently do is for newsprint. Therefore it's imperative that I keep up with the most recent happenings in the world. Some of the most disturbing news reports as of late, are the ongoing revelations of widespread sexual abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Church.

It's disturbing to me on so many levels that it's hard to get my head around it. I grew up in the Catholic Church. I was educated in the Catholic school system (In Ontario there are 2 publicly funded school systems). Although I'm not a regular attendee of mass, my Catholic upbringing has been of great value to me over the years. It instilled in me a strong sense of love, compassion and service to others.

I've had the great fortune of receiving guidance and friendship from priests and especially nuns over the years. To know that these unthinkable crimes and the subsequent handling of these predators by the Catholic hierarchy in Rome, also smears the reputations and names of these wonderful people is sad to me.

More tragic however are the hundreds if not thousands of children who have been sexually abused by these monsters. Anyone who lives in this area of Ontario knows very personally the devastation these predators can inflict. I went to school with and know several victims of sexual abuse by a local Catholic priest. It breaks my heart to pieces.

Now it is becoming known that the Church actively covered-up the abuses, and furthermore did nothing to prevent them from happening again. This angers me to my core.

So here are a few recent Illustrations that deal with this topic.

This first Illustration depicts a Cardinal, representing Church hierarchy, sweeping the dirt under the Vatican.

This second Illustration shows the predatory nature of the offending priests. The tarnished cross represents the battered image of the Church .

Finally the victims. The many children who were betrayed by the very ones they believed would guide and protect them.

If you have any comments regarding my artwork or the subject matter they deal with, please feel free to comment. I'd love to hear from you.


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