Venetian Bunnies

The Lenape Chamber Ensemble will again present a delightful concert for children in November, and I was asked to draw up a fun flyer advertising it.  The concert features world-class musicians who talk to the children about patterns and themes in the music, bits about the lives of the composers, and their specific instruments; and then they play snippets of the featured compositions (they play the full versions of these pieces for two adult concerts around the same weekend). Sometimes the musicians invite the children to get up and dance in whatever way the music makes them feel. I love going to these concerts to see the little preschoolers and elementary school children’s reactions to these glorious pieces of music!

This Children’s Concert will feature works by Leclair, Telemann, Couperin, and Vivaldi; I researched the pieces to be played and the composers, and found that Vivaldi (nicknamed the ‘red priest’ because he was indeed a cleric who inherited his family trait of red hair) was born in Venice. I’ve also been listening lately to Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta The Gondoliers, which takes places in Venice, so I decided to use that picturesque city as the backdrop for my illustration for this poster.

I researched pictures of gondolas and some landmarks in Venice, like the Rialto Bridge and the domed basilicas, and roughed out a pencil sketch of a little clutch of musical rabbits floating along in a canal –

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The layout of my flyers for the Lenape Children’s Concerts is always similar, as you can see from this one and this one – they like me to hand-letter the text, so I plan the drawing around where the words will fall. I traced this pencil sketch onto bond paper using my lightbox, and inked in all the details using Faber-Castell Pitt pens.

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I highly recommend the Lenape Chamber Ensemble concerts – both the children’s and the adult ones – the lovely auditorium at Delaware Valley University is just the perfect intimate size to enjoy these wonderful artists playing gorgeous music.

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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Magazine Illustration: Hotels & College Towns

My newest illustration assignment for Lodging Magazine accompanies an article aimed at developers in the hospitality industry, about some key points to keep in mind when choosing locations for new hotel.

The article explains that many chains realize the value of bringing hotels to college towns, since the football season brings so many out-of-towners that need accommodations; but there are other considerations before the developer should seal the deal, which the article describes more in depth. For the illustration I pitched a few ideas to the editor, involving cheerleaders, graduates in caps and gowns, and college fairs. Then I was talking to my son Tom, who does improv comedy several nights a week in NYC at Reckless Theatre, about the topic and asked him if there was some funnier angle to it – and he quickly hit on the best image of all – college football team mascots.

When I suggested this to the editor she immediately liked it, so I got onto the sketch.  I googled images of college mascots and chose several that looked distinctly different, then sketched them barging into a hotel developers’ office, begging her to pick their town.

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and a color markered sketch, where I added in a pennant & megaphone to reinforce the college idea:

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The editor approved it with a few gestural changes, and so I painted the final:

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I sincerely thank my son for his idea! By doing improv he has developed skills that lead him to generate really fast, funny, visual scenarios!

 

 

 

New Illustration for Lodging Magazine

My latest illustration for hospitality industry magazine Lodging involved one of those vague ideas that’s a bit hard to picture at first: delegating. The editor sent me parts of the article but it was not complete – it explained how hotels should focus foremost on their ‘hoteling’ responsibilities (great service and amenities for their customers) and hand off lesser duties if at all possible to businesses that specialize in those particular services. This delegating can help hotels accomplish key tasks without overwhelming their current systems and still providing excellent customer service.

I jotted down a few metaphors for delegating and sent them to the editor: I thought of a traffic cop directing traffic in a hotel lobby; a truck driver unloading packages to waiting deliverymen; and a football coach explaining a play to the team.  The editor liked the football idea, so I sketched it out roughly.

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The editor approve this and suggested a few more props in the hands of the players, and to have everyone in golf shirts instead of padding, which I added in the color marker sketch.

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This met with approval, so I traced the drawing onto illustration board and drew it in prisma pencil, then painted with acrylic paints, watered down to washes. The finished art:

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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 –

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

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

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The finished art:

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Sketch of a little girl

For a possible children’s book – don’t know her name yet, but she posed very sweetly for a photo in a cold, far away European city. This is painted with watercolor on heavy cold-press watercolor paper.

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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.

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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 –

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.