January 6, 2010

Racino Downs

The January issue of Louisville Magazine is out on a newsstand near you!* The gang at LouMag needed an illustration for an important feature article about how legalizing slot machines could save Kentucky's horse industry.

I'll do my best to sum up the multi-faceted and interesting story: Other states have legalized gambling to fund their horse racing industries and are thus able to fund giant purses for winning horses. Therefore, if someone wants to make a lot of money racing horses, they are going to move to Indiana or Pennsylvania where the money is. Kentucky's rich horse history and culture are suffering because Churchill Downs simply cannot afford to keep up with such lavish prizes without legalizing casinos.

During the thumbnail process, I kept thinking that the story really boiled down to the horses that were going to win or lose - they were truly the ones betting on a win. So I sketched a horse at a slot machine. The team loved it, and I got to do my first "Animal Acting Like a Human" illustration!

Thanks to reference photos and the artistic license to make joints bend in opposite ways, I drew up this lovely Gambling Horse.

One of my other thumbnails ended up working well as a spot illustration (below). You LOST fans will notice that I used some of The Numbers as the prize amount... I'm such a nerd.

Another fun project for LouMag under my belt.  Looking forward to the next assignment!

Thanks for reading,


*Unless you are one of the millions of people not in Kentuckiana

January 5, 2010

Tuesday Coolsday: Philip Burke

I don't remember if I first discovered Philip Burke in my copy of "The Illustrated Portraits," or gracing the pages of my own Rolling Stone, but I do know that the first time I saw his paintings I was hooked.

As a student of illustration, I was doing a lot of caricatures.  Some caricature artists take the time to push and pull different features in many versions, but Burke's work seems more spontaneous and lively, like it was all done in one impression. His exaggerations are fierce and his use of color just jumps off the page at you.

These paintings are as big as I am and sell for more than I hope to make in my entire career.  But what's cooler is that his paintings hang in the homes of his subjects - that is a true honor. He is a lucky man whom I admire quite a bit.

His gallery's site is located here:  LB Madison

For more info, better writing, and links, visit Charley Parker's write-up on Burke at Lines and Colors

January 3, 2010

Bret McKenzie

Happy TwentyTen, friends!

As you probably remember from my "Best of 2009" blog entry, one of my goals for 2010 is to incorporate my "sketchbook" style into my marketable illustration portfolio. Step one: Create a series of celebrity portraits in this style.

Flight of the Conchords came to mind when I decided to pursue this endeavor, maybe because I recently read that the show is not going into a 3rd season (RIP, FotC).  First up: awkward, shy, and adorable Bret McKenzie.

This series is going to be spontaneous like my sketchbook drawings, meaning no preliminary drawing, no tracing paper, no fine tuning.  The final drawing, done with my favorite Hi-Tec C pen, is the same rough and raw "get it down" sketch that I started with.  Acrylic and GAC100 give the "sketch" tone and color.

Stay tuned for my latest RV Living and Louisville Magazine illustrations.  Thanks for stopping by!