Business Birthday Card

Every year I am requested to illustrate a birthday card that Kohlhepp Investment Advisors sends to their clients on the client’s birthday. This year the idea of a hot air balloon ride was suggested, and as always I draw the five principals at Kohlhepp involved in the scene.

I started with a rough pencil sketch –

and when approved, tightened up the likenesses in another sketch

And penciled in a rough color sketch

before painting the finish, below, in acrylic washes on illustration board, with a charming birthday wish inside the card.

Illustration for a Data Security Article

My latest illustration for Lodging magazine, which focuses on the hotel industry, was about recent changes in the European Union’s laws that could affect US hotel regulations in the future. In Europe if someone stays at a hotel, that guest’s information, by law,  cannot be used for marketing purposes or disseminated to third parties without that guest’s written approval. A guest must opt-in to have their personal  data used, or even held past their stay at the hotel. This is different from the policies of US hotels, but because guests often come from abroad, US hotels have to be aware of these legal restrictions.

My illustration started as a sketch of a line of people checking in, each with some kind of  luggage that ‘held’ their secure data.

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The editor approved this concept, so I tightened up the drawing a bit and blocked in some color with colored pencils –

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– and then transferred the drawing to illustration board, drew in the line in prisma pencil, and painted it in with acrylic paint washes. This one went fast compared to the last few illustrations, which had lots of moving parts!

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and I’ll add a brief plug – I now have my St. Patrick’s Day cards on my Etsy page, if you click right HERE . They have my illustration of a quaint Irish cottage in the spring – so please take a look if you have a special person to send a lovely Irish wish to on St. Patrick’s Day. (And as always I have my Eagle Scout congratulations cards, and panda piano notecards too.)

Board Game for Hoteliers

The latest article I’ve illustrated for Lodging Magazine explains the dilemma some hoteliers have when presented with a PIP – that’s a Property Improvement Plan – which can be expensive and time-consuming. Some hotel owners opt to sell or ‘flip’ their property to a new flag (hotel brand) or sell it at this point, processes which have their own issues. The editor wanted me to illustrate the quandary of choosing between these options.

Two fun ideas quickly came to mind and I sketched them roughly in pencil – a game show harkening back to Let’s Make A Deal, with Curtain Number 1, 2 and 3, with an agonized hotel owner on the spot:

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– and also a board game idea, with owners losing a turn or skipping ahead to win at their dizzying run at Pip or Flip:

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The editor liked the game board and so I drew it up a bit tighter, with quotes and tips from the article:

1lodging_piporflip_sk3With some suggestions from the editor, I drew it on illustration board in prisma pencil, and started painting in bright gameboard colors in acrylic washes –

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and splashed in a loose color background for the finished art –

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Illustration for Hotel Restaurant Article

Every month I receive an article to illustrate for the trade magazine Lodging, which deals with the hotel & hospitality industry. This month’s article was about hotels with restaurants in them, and how to make those restaurants economically viable by appealing to the public as well as patrons of the hotel.

Usually these articles have quotes from specific hotel managers giving their locale’s individual experience with a topic, which helps me come up with a more customized pictorial idea.  This article did not have any quotes, it was more general in tone, so my ideas had to be more generic as well.  I like it better when there are specifics, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way!

I sent two rough pencil sketches first, showing guests checking into the hotel but distracted by fragrant food being transported to the restaurant, and a group of businesspeople at a hotel restaurant being ‘served’ the suggestions recommended in the article for a successful hotel restaurant.

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The editor went with the businesspeople idea, and so I tightened up the line drawing

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and sent her a color sketch, which she approved –

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ad then drew the finish first in black Prisma pencil and then painted it in washes of acrylic paint, on illustration board.

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Cows & Waffles

lodging_badapples_wpdetailMy latest illustration for Lodging Magazine is for an article about hotels keeping their dining areas germ-free. It delves into some of the nastier problems that hotel managers have to deal with – foodborne illnesses, sanitation laws and damage control responses. Not a lot of pretty images came to mind for my illustration, so I decided to go wacky with it.

The article begins by stating how people often like to get away to hotels where there are lovely bucolic scenes out the window, cows grazing and sheep frolicking nearby – but the visitors don’t realize that the flies around livestock are one of the most common ways for germs to spread. While flies buzzing around a dining area seemed off-putting to me, I thought some barnyard animals would be funnier and less openly icky. I sketched a cow and sheep in line at a hotel breakfast buffet.

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Whenever I’ve been at a hotel for breakfast, the most entertaining thing is watching people use the waffle machine, so I drew the cow using that. The editor asked me to include a bowl of apples in the drawing, since the article’s title is ‘Bad Apples.’ She approved the sketch so I painted it – acrylic paints, prisma pencil on illustration board.

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George & Martha’s Wallpaper

blastfrompast_detailwpMy illustration for next month’s Lodging magazine was a fun one to draw. The editor at the magazine, which focuses on the hotel and hospitality industry, sent me an article “Blast from the Past,” about some hotel developers choosing to renovate historic buildings into hotels, instead of building new structures.

Sometimes in doing editorial art (art that accompanies written articles) illustrators are requested to create images that strictly adhere to the story line, and sometimes we are given freedom to come up with an image that makes a playful riff on the theme. The editor didn’t mind at all when I pitched an illustration of some historical characters participating in the renovation of a hotel room, while keeping the other workers in modern-day attire.

To make the historical characters recognizably different from the present-day workers, I decided to go with Revolutionary war costumed people – powdered wigs, long dresses, etc. I thought about having a George Washington type holding blueprints, directing contractors in kind of a statuesque pose –

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But then it occurred to me that it would be funnier if it were a George and Martha Washington-type couple, doing what couples always do – arguing over what type of, say, wallpaper to use –

lodging_blastfromthepast_sk1– and that’s the one the editor liked too. I drew it up a little tighter and added some wallpaper books and more samples –

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and painted in the finished art –

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Poodle Posse Picture Book: a few more pics

The new picture book I’m illustrating for easy readers is progressing – Once upon a Poodle, by Chrysa Smith, and it should be ready for publication sometime in the early fall.  A few bits & pieces –

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I’ll post more updates as we go along.