Emperor of Sand

Emperor of Sand


Prog magazine gave me a call and asked if I would be interested in illustrating their review of the new album by Mastodon, Emperor of Sand. A concept album, it features a central character who is forced to wander a desert after being handed a death sentence by the titular emperor. Although I was unaware of the band, who could resist the opportunity of depicting the Emperor of Sand?

Emperor of Sand

I knew almost immediately how the character himself would appear but needed to consider how best to incorporate the band (always a requirement for the review illustrations). Once the pencil sketch was approved I worked out a tonal version to use as a guide and then applied the colours. Consciously using a relatively muted palette so as to not over-dramatise things.

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Controlling Health Care

Controlling Health Care


The Wall Street Journal got in touch requesting a cover for their Health Care Report. An image was wanted relating to the theme of patients taking more control over decisions relating to their healthcare. The phrase 'being in the drivers seat' seemed to sum up the situation. Connecting the driving wheel with the stethoscope resolved the concept.

Controlling Health Care

Just before press a newer story took precedence so the cover never actually materialized. Above is the layout plus the first couple of ideas. The bottom two are the first development sketches before going to artwork.

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Harp Love

Harp Love


I was recently working on an editorial piece where I was asked to submit sketches to pinpoint the direction for the final illustration. Among the sketches I sent over was this one. I felt there was a nice image to be had there so took the time to work it up into a final piece. A simple graphic image! Something I always aspire to achieve wherever possible.

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Disrupted

Disrupted


I was contacted by Twin Cities Business magazine to produce a cover image based on their lead article about the rise of mobile apps which enable the reselling of tickets for major sporting, music or other large popular events. I took the essential elements from the story and then re-arranged them compositionally to create a, hopefully, thought-provoking image.

Disrupted

Unfortunately at the last minute the cover was changed to accommodate an important news story which had just broken so my illustration was used on an interior spread instead.

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The Sedentary Life

The Sedentary Life


This image popped into my mind seemingly out of nowhere but does reflect something of present day concerns with those who live a sedentary life - beware illustrators, this could be you!

I wanted to do this one fast so instead of cleaning everything up after scanning I just worked directly on top of the rough and kept in all the bits of tracing paper, tape and perspective lines. I liked the idea of sepia toning so as to give it a feel of someone in the future looking back to see what life was like today.

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Diversity

Diversity


I was asked by Georgetown University to produce a banner illustration to show a diversity of people, ethnicities, genders and ages. While waiting for the brief I had started to do some pen drawings of heads and envisaging a way the banner might work. The yellow version here is an option but as it turns out the requirements called for a high level of realism - more of a photo/collage look.

Diversity

These rough line scamps were intended to show the layout. Larger heads in front, receding in size with rows of people behind.

Diversity

These were three alternatives of which the all-blue version was the preferred option.

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Magical Contagion

Magical Contagion


This illustration is a spot for Scientific American Mind and is about why people cherish family heirlooms and celebrity memorabilia. Objects which are in some way thought to actually contain a piece of the person they relate to. It is a phenomenon that scientists call magical contagion.  New research suggests this effect helps fulfill our need for social connection. In other words, we expect these hand-me-downs to keep us company.

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Bank Account Empty!

Bank Account Empty!


I was asked by Common Ground magazine to produce a half page image illustrating a scene from a cautionary tale about a banking glitch or possible computer hack which had left a small business with an empty bank account. The brief was relatively prescriptive so this was not a concept piece as such. The initial sketch (top) was not accepted as it said 'theft' too strongly - more ambiguity was wanted, hence the second drawing.

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Neal Morse: The Similitude Of A Dream

Neal Morse: The Similitude Of A Dream


I was asked by Prog magazine to create an image for their Album Review page. It was featuring Neal Morse’s new double concept album The Similitude Of A Dream, based on his born again christian take on Pilgrim’s Progress. It was more or less an open brief with the request that the band members be included and to ensure that Morse himself be dominant.

I liked the idea of using elements from an early interpretation of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and updating it with Morse himself and other modern references.

Alas, no sooner was the work submitted then Prog and it's publisher Teamrock went into administration:(

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Version Galore

Dancer Process


I love to create 'versions'. I got what I wanted with no. 4 here but have continued to look at ways of making other versions.

It's one of the oft-overlooked benefits of the digital age - the relative ease in which 'versions' of pieces can be created and stored. It used to be that traditional materials dictated that the artist 'nailed their colours to the mast' when creating a new piece but with the tools of today that no longer need be the case. Versions can be tried and tested, colour options run through and even different rendering methods are all available to the illustrator to experiment with. The danger of course is getting lost in the myriad of possibilities. To that end personal work is essential from a creative point of view so the results of successful experiments can later be incorporated into professional jobs. In that way the artist can continue to develop and evolve in a commercial marketplace.

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