Minggu, 30 September 2012
'The original BDK tee. Inset image: Back chop print.'
A little over three years ago my friends and I launched a little web site called "Bad Design Kills". We had a lot of fun with it but none of us had the time to keep it up to date so it no longer exists.
I had sold the above design on the site and ever since I took the site down I've been asked how someone could get one of the original shirts. Well, now you can and unlike before you can pick what ever size and color shirt you'd like.
"View and Order Shirt Here"
Senin, 24 September 2012
'Icons for Advertising Campaign.'
Now that summer is over I can officially declare it "The Summer of Icons". I designed icons for Merck, AllState Insurance, Oxford University Press, Novell and recently these two sets for an ad agency that specializes in medical services and products called "Medicus" out of New York. These icons will be used in an advertising campaign.
Icons are an interesting mix of design and illustrative skill sets. Sometimes your asked to design an icon for a somewhat nebulous term or functionality like "Save" which depending upon the context could take on a variety of visual solutions. Other icon projects they provide a laundry list of specified topics or items that are more literal then figurative and the challenge creatively speaking is to create simplistic i.e. "Iconic" images that work together as a family style wise. This is easier said then done when dealing with subject matter that in and of itself may be complex. But I guess that is why I enjoy it so much it's always a challenge to pull it off well.
I have to admit when I was asked to do the flexing arm with the "Mom Tattoo" I thought to myself "OK, that one is going to look stupid." But as is usual that was just my creative defense mechanism venting it's fear of the artistic unknown. In the end it turned out to be my favorite one out of all of them. Go figure.
Minggu, 23 September 2012
Illustration for exotic bird food packaging. (Click image to view larger)
This project was a lot of fun to work on. I was commissioned to create a fun and colorful illustration of a pet owner and their exotic bird. In this case an Amazon. The product this illustration was going to be used with was an exotic pet food for birds called "Fruit Blend Flavor."
The agency in charge was going to do test marketing and if that went well I'd be doing about seven other pet food products in the same illustrative fashion.
Custom hand lettering for logo type.
Well I provided the above art to the agency and they loved it. The agency mocked up the packaging with my art and logotype and showed it to their pet food client and they also loved it.
Of course I was happy and who wouldn't be, the agency loved it, the company loved it, things were looking great. But when they test marketed it the public hated it. That's right, it totally tanked. So the agency called me and let me know that because of that the client was going in another direction, a safer direction if you will.
As an Illustrative Designer I am familiar with the normal creative speed bumps like "Design by Committee" or the heavy-handed marketing folk who fancy themselves as Art Directors. But this was a new type of experience for me. It made me wonder, would the iPod have been so cool if they let the design be dictated by test marketing it first? I doubt it.
The blind public rejection of my art hung over my head like the Sword of Damocles for a few days. I decided to show my art to a friend of mine who is a bird aficionado and he loved it. I then told him what had happened and he made a good point I hadn't considered.
"These type of bird owners are very serious types. They look for scientific formulas to keep their pets health optimal and I'd bet this was too playful, and thus in their minds, too fun to take it seriously."
Fair enough, I could at least understand that point of view. I don't have to like it though. If we let the public dictate design on everything then what's the point of being a designer? But I digress.
You can view the art larger here.
Sabtu, 22 September 2012
Promotional Art for Adobe CS4 Illustrator "Loyal Order of Wormwood."
For well over 15 years I used Macromedia FreeHand. Along the way I had dabbled in Illustrator in order to convert a file or open a file etc. but never really used it from beginning to end on any project. That changed in 2006 when Adobe hired me to design a poster to promote CS2 and assumed I used Illustrator. Long story short I recognized the hand writing on the wall and switched drawing applications. You can read more about that whole story here.
Detail of Art: New song bird of proclamation.
A little over a year passed and I was using Illustrator for some projects and FreeHand for other projects. I had a hard time cutting the cord completely. That is until I installed Leopard in 2007 and FreeHand stopped working. The cord was completely severed now. I found many things frustrating in Illustrator and posted my experience on my art blog here.
Detail of Art: Vacant worms demise.
Through the magic of the intertubes my blog post some how found it's way into the inner circle of Adobe and before I knew it they were talking to me, addressing my concerns, answering questions, fixing problems and ultimately inviting me to be on their beta team for CS4. To be honest I felt like I was sleeping with the enemy, but their people behind the scenes listened and their integrity was impressive and one thing was obvious they were improving the application.
Detail of Art: Evil worm.
Today Adobe announces the launch of CS4 Illustrator and I am happy to say that it's been a great app to work with and I am proud to be one of the many artists who were part of beta testing it. I think the improvements are incredible and the the new features will no doubt make many users very happy.
Detail of Art: Inner worm and the cup of trembling.
Adobe hired me once again to create some original artwork that will be shipped with CS4 Illustrator. Anyone who buys it will be able to open up my original Ai file and see how I pulled it off using CS4. I think it's pretty cool when a large company hires you to do artwork for them and basically says "Do what ever you want." That simply doesn't happen that often. Thank you Adobe!
My artwork is titled "Loyal Order of Wormwood." The source file that ships with CS4 actually has two pages within the file. One shows the artwork below and the other tells the story behind it. If you'd like print resolution version of this art to hang up in your work area you can download a larger version here. (2.5 MB)
I hope you enjoy the art and CS4 Illustrator.
Kamis, 13 September 2012
'Alien Biker Skull Art - Click to view larger image.'
I was asked to write an article for "Computer Arts Magazine" out of the UK. Now that it's been published I can post it on my blog. I did notice they edited my text a bit so this version below is my article in it's original form.
The Themes We Love
Based on my observations within the creative community, and my own personal passions when it comes to creating artwork, I have compiled a top ten list of themes that artists adore illustrating.
Recently a friend of mine asked me to create some artwork for his sons engineering team that builds robots so they could get some t-shirts printed. Like most artists I jumped at the excuse to create some new robot art. This caused me once again to think about popular visual themes artists* enjoy creating for and tend to gravitate towards when given an opportunity or are just driven by their own passion to create.
The list I have compiled wasn't something I set out to discover but rather something I have observed with curiosity over the past decade or so. Artists* are most certainly a unique group of creative minded folk and I've noticed a handful of themes that tend to be common favorites they choose to design and or illustrate on. Mind you this is by no means an iron clad list but just the most obvious ones I've noticed and have participated in creating myself through my own artwork.
The order in which I have listed them below is not according to popularity but rather just what came to mind as I wrote this. I am sure I'll miss a few obvious ones but I am also sure you'll let me know which ones those are. ;-)
Top Ten Favorite Themes of Artists
1. Robots: Evil, Benevolent or Humanoid
it's all mechanically fun to draw.
2. Monkeys: Ape, Chimp or Gorilla variety
is fine. Or go ape and do a 'Robot Monkey'.
3. Female Figure: Whether naked women or just
your garden variety hotties it's all about capturing
the essence and beauty of the female form.
4. Skulls/Skeletons: Ironically we all have a skull and it
protects our ideas. What ever bones you decide to
draw It's all Bona-fide fun.
5. Monsters/Mutants: Home grown or universal the
scarier the better.
6. Paranormal: Aliens, Angels, Demons, Ethereal forms
or any other X File favorites.
7. Surrealism: Popularized by Dali, captured by most
artists within their doodles.
8. Dogs: Flea bitten art inspired by mans best friend.
9. Human Head/Face: Floating, or attached all matter
of zany things have been done with them.
10: Birds: One of the animal kingdoms most
symmetrically wonderful creatures.
It goes without saying that if an artist can mix and match a combination of several of the above themes or parts of several themes into one artistic composition or project then it's a dream job. That said we never need an excuse to create whether we are being paid for it or not.
Artists are very opinionated so I'd be remiss if I didn't list other themes I considered for the list but chose not to include. Many of these are what I'd consider elements used by artists which are not themes but rather tend to be integrated into the work of a given theme more then a theme in and of themselves.
These included: Brains, Cars, Cats, Clouds, Crowns, Dinosaurs, Dragons, Eyeballs, Fish, Flames, Flowers, Hands, Mechanical Devices, Mouths, Political, Pirates, Tiki, War and many more which I don't have room to list here. These are without doubt most enjoyable themes and elements to work with but they are not as popular as the ones in the list.
Whether our art is driven by a clients project or just our own artistic passion inspiring us we can still enjoy the creative process and continually seek opportunities to utilize our favorite themes into our artwork. Since I was asked to write this article I used that opportunity to create the skull art you now see. It's as easy as that. Now go forth and create!
*When I use the term 'Artists' I am referring to graphic designers and illustrators specifically, not fine artists.
Selasa, 11 September 2012
The Nashville AIGA Chapter is putting on a cool design gig this coming weekend called "Think Tank".
Should be a fun weekend and I've been asked to speak about what a "Graphic Designer" is and if that term is accurate in today's ever changing market. I am pretty nervous but looking forward to it. If you can make it then make sure to say hi I'd like to meet you.
Lots of great speakers lined up:
- Debbie Millman
- Shaun Inman
- Marian Bantjes
- Von Glitschka
- Nate Voss
- Bennett Holzworth
- Donovan Beery
'For me the term "Graphic Designer" comes with a huge asterisk.'
I'll be bringing some fun give away items like stickers, a copy of my book, sets of Keyboard Characters and a handful of "Vonster Brand" t-shirts.
So head on over to the official "Think Tank" web site and get the full scoop.
Mother Jones Icons.
I illustrate icons all the time. I work in a variety of styles and the most recent request came from "Mother Jones Magazine." The article was all about the environment and making green choices.
Apparently "350" is a good carbon footprint number? They wanted a speedometer for this concept. Sometimes clients give me the raw information and want me to come up with the visual and other times, like this project I just draw upon their request.
The scale was to represent weighing options and the original light bulb was for smart ideas. When they asked me to draw a regular light bulb I immediately thought "That is kind of ironic since this is suppose to be a green article?" But I figured they must have a reason so I didn't bring it up with them.
I delivered the final art and a few days later the client requested a compact fluorescent bulb to replace the original one I had done. Icons are suppose to be simple and many icons still use symbolic images that technically are no longer visually accurate to current technology. For example the "Phone" icon on an iPhone, it's a classic dial up variety.
The original light bulb is one of the true classics in the world of icons, but in this context it became problematic due to the theme of the article. I've always wondered how long it'll take before old technology symbols no longer resonate with the public at large. Maybe never?
The incandescent light bulb may not be politically correct to use anymore but it'll always trump the compact fluorescent bulb when it comes to clearly communicating an idea in an iconic form.