Data Mining Illustration

My monthly illustration for Lodging Magazine was for an article about ‘data mining’ – how those in the hospitality industry can learn to better track and interpret social media referring to their brand, in order to improve their services to their targeted audiences. I pitched a few written ideas to the editor, involving visual imagery of hunting down information, and she liked one with miners in a cave.

I’m certainly no expert on mining procedures so I researched photos online to see uniforms and props. I sketched a very loose pencil rough of coworkers finding gold among the rocks, with one worker recording the info on a laptop –


and then tightened it up before sending it in, adding the good & bad social media topics the editor suggested –


After approval I did a quick color pencil sketch to work from for the finish, then retraced it on illustration board and started painting.








The finished art:










Illustration about Room Pricing for Lodging Magazine

My monthly cartoon illustration for Lodging Magazine deals with how room prices fluctuate in the hotel industry. I wish I could explain more, but I usually only get a snippet of the article to work from, since writers are developing the story at the same time that I create the art for it! My understanding is, room rates change according to supply and demand, kind of like surge pricing on Uber.

I gave the editor three very rough sketches to begin: a vending machine with rolling prices above the doors, which represented rooms; a stock market ticker board with fluctuating room prices; and an airport flight status board with room rates instead of arrivals, with people hurrying to grab certain rooms at certain rates.




The editor went with the Vend-O-Room machine, and asked that I make the doors distinctly different so we could recognize that they were from different hotels. So I drew up a color sketch with colored pencils:


and when that was approved, I drew the finish in prisma pencil, with acrylic washes for the color, on illustration board.


Privacy in Hotels Illustration

The next issue of Lodging Magazine will have an article dealing with the very topical issue of privacy in the hospitality industry, sparked by the Erin Andrews story. I was asked to creatively illustrate the hurdles that hotels must jump for their clients’ privacy in today’s world.

I started with a pencil sketch of some hotel guests walking from the elevator to their room, which has been thoroughly chained and locked up, for their security.


The editors at the magazine asked that I put the guests more in the background but have some hotel staff securing the locks on the door, so I changed it for my next sketch, quickly colored in with colored pencils.


The editors approved this version. After looking at photos of some hotel hallways online, I changed the color scheme a little for the finish, but the composition is the same:


Finished illustration for H.M.S. Pinafore

In yesterday’s post I showed some sketches for my poster art for the Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s upcoming H.M.S. Pinafore. After I made these line and color sketches I traced the drawing onto illustration board and started painting.



And finally, added the type for the poster – I had thought of putting a life preserver on the little boat, but thought it would be more fun as the O in the title –


My artwork, of course, is copyrighted, but you may email me through my contact page, for leasing fees if you are interested in using my original artwork.

It’s sure to be a great musical, the Bucks County Gilbert and Sullivan Society mounts really beautiful shows, with the help of local orchestra musician and amazingly talented singers.  I highly recommend you consider joining them in June!

Painting the Pied Piper

achilles_piedpiper_finishedartdetailtwIn yesterday’s post I showed some of my pencil sketches for my Pied Piper illustration. The finished art, along with an excerpt of the story (which I rewrote, wanting to put my own spin on it) will appear in the Bucks County Illustrators Society’s portfolio book coming out in June.

I wanted to depict the scene of the Piper drawing all the rats of the town out into the main street, and leading them away. In my version of the story the rats literally dance to the Piper’s music, and everyone in the town gathers along the street to gawk and cheer. The Mayor and his councillors watch too, incredulous of the scene before them.

I roughed out a very general composition of the big shapes in the scene and shaded it in pencil for basic tones and contrast.


I drew the separate parts of the busy scene in detail on tracing paper, some of which I showed in yesterday’s post, and put all the tracings together into one drawing.


After tightening up it somewhat, I transferred it all to illustration board and made the foreground more prominent by outlining in prisma pencil.


I then painted it in using acrylic paints thinned with water – I took a few pictures of the stages –


Now the final piece, as it will appear in the BCiS portfolio book, along with the story excerpt :


To see samples of the work of some of the illustrators participating in the Bucks County Illustrators Society book, take a look at the gallery page on the BCiS website. And if you are interested in purchasing a copy of the portfolio book when it is published, please leave me a comment or email me, and I’ll give you ordering info when it’s available.


The Pied Piper

piedpwp6I’ve been working lately on an illustration of a scene from the fairy tale The Pied Piper of Hamelin. I was happily pushed into creating this portfolio piece because of a project initiated by the Bucks County Illustrators Society, of which I’m a founding member. BCiS is producing a portfolio book of members’ work, due out this June, and it looks to be a really interesting, beautifully illustrated publication.  Each member chose an excerpt from a fairy tale-like story and created a full page illustration for the scene. piedpwp2

I’ve always been fascinated the tale of the mysterious Piper who showed up in the medieval town of Hamelin, when the plague, spread by rats, was rampaging through Europe. The legend evidently originated in the town itself, which at one time had a 14th century church containing a stained glass window depicting the story. The Grimm Brothers version of the legend is grim indeed, with the angry Piper, stiffed by the town councillors after he drove the rats from the town, leading the town’s children away to destruction as well.

piedpwp3When I rewrite the story I intend to make it a lot funnier and kid-friendly, with one particular rat being the Piper’s comrade-in-arms throughout their adventures.

I did a lot of pictorial research for the illustration, with probably the most challenging part being the architecture of medieval German towns. The most fun was giving a lot of action to the crowd and especially the rats. In this post I have a few of my rough sketches for the piece, which I eventually combined into the finished illustration.  Tomorrow I’ll post some step-by-step images of painting the finished illustration.


To see samples of the work of some of the illustrators participating, take a look at the gallery page on the BCiS website. And if you are interested in purchasing a copy of the Bucks County Illustrators Society’s portfolio book when it is printed, please leave me a comment or email me, and I’ll give you ordering info when it’s available.

Brand Design for a Service Company

I was contacted by Jim Hardy, who owns James A. Hardy Professional Services, to help rebrand the promotional materials for his Advanced Carpet Cleaning service.  When I met with Jim I told him, as a consumer, I like it when companies include the owner’s name in the company title – it might be an old-fashioned thing, but to me it connotes pride in ownership and a value for reputation, because no one wants their name associated with a company that does less than its best. When Jim told me his story of building his company on word-of-mouth recommendations and jobs well done, I could tell that it’s his philosophy too.

taurinobcwpJim had seen a caricature I’d drawn years ago for a mutual friend, Dave Taurino, of Taurino’s Painting. Jim wanted a similar representation of himself in his new logo, using his commercial carpet cleaning equipment, because he wanted the image to be instantly recognizable as relating to carpet cleaning. He also wanted the image to be bright and colorful so it would look great on a new commercial truck he is planning to acquire.

I started by drawing a caricature of Jim (not a very exaggerated form of caricature, just a general likeness) and putting a colorful graphic shape behind him.  Jim sent me photos of the type of cleaning equipment to include, and he noted that he wanted to add “and the Carpet Guys” to the title of the company.


After some tweaks and with Jim’s input, we developed his business card – below is the initial version on the left and the final version on the right. I’ll write more about Jim’s other branded promotional pieces soon.



Character illustration for a Business Woman’s Brand


My client Roberta Fortune gets a lot of mileage out of her brand as “The Spa Lady.” Ro brings a virtual spa right to your home or organization, and she demonstrates bath, body and skin treatments that leave you and your guests feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and pampered after just an hour. I first drew “The Spa Lady” a few years ago when Ro was building her image, and she used this character – based on Ro herself – as her social media avatar, in marketing campaigns and for holiday greetings to customers. She contactedrobertayogask4b me recently to re-establish the character, depicting her sitting on a yoga mat, holding some bottles of the products.

The facial likeness was a bit off in this sketch, so I checked my photos of her and I think in the color finish I captured her much better.

robertaspalady2015bwpRoberta always has great ideas for using her brand character, and gives me suggestions of props to add for seasonal campaigns.   First up will be a holiday greeting which will also remind clients of the services she offers, which are in demand as a bit of holiday relaxation for companies and non-profits. I always enjoy seeing The Spa Lady pop up on Facebook and other social media platforms, along with other  characters I’ve drawn for business clients.








Completed Illustration for Company Holiday Card

My previous two posts showed my preliminary work for an illustrated holiday greeting card for Safe-Guard Products International in Atlanta. Below is the finished front of the card.

With a company as large as Safe-Guard, it is an important marketing contribution for their affiliates and clients to get to know and match a face to the directors they email or speak with on the phone. Safe-Guard feels that a personalized greeting card improves their relationship with colleagues, and that my illustration especially helps this association with the real people who manage their company.


Final art for a corporate holiday card

I posted some sketches for this card in my previous post.  Safe-Guard Products International sent me several headshots of all their department directors, which was an invaluable help in depicting people I’ve never met. Because they requested the art be finished asap, I painted this over the weekend pretty quickly, but I didn’t take time to photograph the steps in its completion.  I did make a very rough color sketch first, just blocking it in with colored pencil over a scan of the pencil sketch –


I transferred the sketch to illustration board, drew it with prisma pencils and painted with acrylic paints, watered down and used like watercolor. Here are a few close-ups, I’ll show the complete finish in the next post.