Learning to love everyone. Thanks to Jessica von Handorf for asking me to create this series of illustrations for Mindful Magazine.
Deborah Feingold shot these lovely photos of me. These images are part a series she is creating about illustrators.
A big thanks to the judges of the 3×3 Professional Show and the art directors who made these pieces possible
This luscious lady lounging across the pages of the Communication Arts illustration annual. Thanks Judges, NY Times, and AD Audrey Razgaitis!
The Trans-Pacific Partnership may be dead, but my illustration for Ronn Campisi and Harvard Law Review will live on in the pages of American Illustration. Thanks Judges!
My artwork and I were beamed, via internet to East Riding College In Yorkshire England for my first virtual lecture. Thanks Adam Corkett for inviting me!
It was an honor to illustrate today’s New York Times opinion by secretary of state John Kerry, advocating diplomacy over war.
Eight years ago I had the honor of being asked by Simple Scott to create artwork for this gentleman’s campaign.
What’s in that box? An illustration about The Trans-Pacific Partnership for Ronn Campisi and Harvard Law.
Thanks Matt Dorfman at the The New York Times Book Review for asking me to illustrate this piece about a Hungarian mother cut off from her roots.
Thanks RISD,Susan Doyle, and to all who came out to see us speak on Saturday. We had a great weekend! The show is up till Nov 5.
This just arrived in the mail this morning from the Directory of Illustration. Thanks David Plunkert for the wonderful design and asking me to do this!
Julia Rothman and I will be giving a talk at RISD on Saturday, October 8th. Our work will be on view at the ISB gallery from September 30th to November 5th.
Sometimes you’re OK and sometimes you are just NOT, hand lettering for D.J. Stout a Pentagram Design
These two very disparate political portraits will be sharing a spread in the American Illustration 35 book. Big thanks to the jury!
The false threat of Narco-terrorism for David Sleigh at ProPublica.
Donald Trump , Trickster God for Patrick Jb Flynn at The Baffler Magazine.
Eight by Eight Magazine Spread for feature by Will Frears about an Arsenal fan’s anxiety during the the window transfer season when players coming and going can break a fan’s heart. Publisher and creative director Robert Priest wanted a humorous image which captured the frenzy in a fan’s mind. This was a very collaborative process has since the type and image needed to integrate seamlessly. Watching the team of Priest + Grace take the image and turn it into a spread I could never imagine made this one of the more inspiring assignments of the year.
Charles Hively, publisher of 3×3 magazine had good news and a pleasant surprise while we were having lunch. My poster was the back page for the I H8 War campaign in the fall issue of Creative Quarterly Magazine and also selected for the American Graphic Design Awards for Public Service. I really need to have lunch with Charles more often.
The New York Times called with pleasant news: Reaction to the first gif for the feature, Short Answers to Hard Questions about Climate Change was very positive so they asked for another gif for more reader’s questions about climate change. The focus was on the carbon footprint caused by raising beef and AD Catherine Gilmore-Barnes wanted an idea which showed cattle or beef damaging the environment. The idea of a bull leaving a trail of dead trees turned out to be a favorite for the editors, Catherine, and myself. I’m very grateful to the Times and Catherine for helping me graduate to the level of gif savant.
Here’s the still image.
Illustration for Hour Detroit about the controversy over the vaccination rates in Michigan. Valarie Morgan, AD. Whenever Valarie calls, it’s usually a fascinating story. I enjoy tackling assignments about news of the day and vaccinations are a hot topic. As a child growing up in the 60’s when science was king it shocks me the wisdom of vaccines is even debated. Since the article covered both sides of the debate I focused on the concept that the few are questioning the wisdom of the many. Orange was used a a metaphor for those who are protected and those who are not.
Much thanks to Valerie for always calling with great assignments.
Illustration for Havard Law Bulletin: “Freedom is just another word for. . . regulation”. Ronn Campisi, AD. Ronn Campisi and I go back many years and he gave me a huge boost by assigning covers for the Boston Globe magazine early in my career. Ronn has a variety of magazines and it’s always fun to work with him because he designs beautifully when using illustrations. Much thanks to Ronn for yet another collaboration.
Illustration for DBusiness Magazine for Commentary about the difficulties in bringing clean energy to major metropolitan areas. Caroline Chin Watson, AD. The last couple of years I’ve noticed more assignments from the Detroit area which has me intrigued. News about the resurgence of Detroit and its potential as a new center for creatives has certainly caught my attention. DBusiness magazine has been a newer steady client and it’s always a pleasure to work with their AD’s. Carolyn and I have worked on a couple of things since she’s taken over and if past experience is any guide, the future looks bright in Detroit.
Sometimes the best solutions are the most obvious. Michelle Furman at AFT called with a request from the editors for a series of illustrations showing a student learning memory skills through a game. They wanted a strip like progression. It is a very direct approach but turned out to be most effective. It also had the benefit of reminding me of the great instructional animated videos from elementary school days.
Thanks for Michelle for bringing back fond memories.
April Montgomery at Computerworld Magazine is one of my favorite art directors and we have worked together for many years. She is one of the more collaborative Art Directors I work for and the project often morphs into something bigger depending on how the sketches work with her design. It often feels like improvisation working with April.
The above illustration was a sample she had seen and by coincidence it was the perfect metaphor for a feature she had about big data. April didn’t have available copy, but asked for ideas which could relate to big data. As the articles came in, many of the ideas made it to finals and the original illustration morphed into a spread. Much thanks to April for the collaboration.
Sometimes it seems like I get paid to have fun.
Here’s the additional spots based upon the main art:
Sketches exploring big data for potential spots:
And here’s a few of the spreads:
Website Cover, Table of contents for Nautilus.
The year 2050 for Nautilus.
Printed Edition, Nautilus.
Nautilus is a favorite client for many illustrators because of their fascinating long form stories and the excellent art direction from Len Small. Whenever Len calls, you know you will be pushed a little beyond your comfort level but the journey will be worth it. He had an assignment which he said was right in my zone: He wanted a curtain and table of contents image for the subject of 2050. Len said the art should not have the usual gadgets or robots depicting the future. He wanted a metaphor which suggested the present but also a world which is both familiar but different.
Len knows me well. This it the kind of conceptual challenge I love. We decided the perfect approach was two forests suggesting different worlds. In a stroke of luck, I was staying in a sleek modern apartment with a beautiful mountain forest during the project. It was the perfect environment for creating the piece.
Much thanks to Len and Nautilus for the inspiring project.
It’s always nice to work with new clients. AD John Paxson from Washington State University’s magazine called with an opener assignment he thought would be right up my alley. The story was about utilities using simulations to find weaknesses in their grid. Since many utilities are now controlled by computers this has become a bigger issue. They used former hackers to test their system and found utilities had been focusing in the wrong places. John wanted a fun interpretation of a utility being broken into while all the security was facing the wrong direction. Since I love drawing thieves this was a fun assignment.
Much thanks to John for the great project.
Here’s the art in the final layout.
The Chronicle of Higher Education is one of my oldest clients so it’s exciting to see their stories pop up in my aggregate news sites. They called with an editorial about false consensus in academic circles. A public statement will be made with the endorsement of many scholars. Turns out a lot of those scholars feel bullied into supporting a statement which may not fit their views.
This is one of those assignments where ideas just flowed. Some of the ideas were variations of the crowd running off a cliff or being carried away. Art Director Scott Seymour selected an idea of people helplessly falling into a mechanical talking head. Turns out everyone was pleased with the approach when the final art was finished.
Much thanks to the Chronicle for always interesting assignments.
Lydia Anderson called with a very fun project for Experience Life. They needed a series of illustrations for a feature about office politics and the many types of personalities you need to navigate in the work day. They wanted humorous interpretations of personalities and since I am a fan of “The Office” and “Office Space” plenty of ideas came to mind. It was a perfect fit for my approach to humor and style.
Thanks to Lydia for the fun assignment.
Watching many of my friends create covers for The Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association has been inspiring with a little bit of envy. Art Director Emma Dalby has created an impressive collection of covers and selection of illustrators from around the world. The minimal and tasteful design highlights the art and put pressure on the illustrator to pull off the cover. I had the good fortune of meeting Emma late last year while we both judged the Society of Illustrator competition.
It was a thrill when Emma called with the subject of mentor and student. She wanted something focused more on the relationship and less on the science or academics. Quite a few metaphors came to mind but Emma decided this was the most immediate. The passenger balloon metaphor suggested the idea of unlimited potential and experience for the student who is lucky enough to find a mentor.
Much thanks to Emma for the assignment and lovely design.
Nicki Kalish from the New York Times called with a fun special section with advice for first year college students as Summer winds down and they prepare for their first adventure away from home. One article “How to Live Wisely” was the most emailed story of the weekend for the Times. The other story “The Real Skinny on Freshman Life” has humorous but practical advice for Freshmen students. Both were great articles and I hope the art did justice to the writers.
This Friday at 7:30 is the big opening for Tribes, and exhibit with Aya Kakeda, Jonathan Jay Lee and myself. We each will be showing a series of pieces along with various products ranging from greeting cards to custom furniture based on the art. Christopher Lau is the owner/curator for Emergency Lab who was generous enough to produce the show.
There will be a DJ opening night so it should be a fun time for all. Please come and check out the show if you’re in Hong Kong.
Big data seems to be s subject clients are calling with this year. Smith Alumae Quarterly Magazine had an assignment about students having an interest in the emerging field of data science and the extraction of data. Ronn Campisi is a long term client and he made the assignment even more fun by letting me pick the sketch I wanted to develop for the final. I decided to develop an image with a grid of floating balls. Ronn said he would have picked the same image after receiving the art. It’s nice to know great minds think alike :-p
Couple of days later I posted this image from a color theory book seen at the Met’s Watson Library on Instagram. Ronn saw it and joked this was exactly what I had submitted for him.
A friend who is a personal asset manager at Goldman Sachs once said she would hire someone to manage her portfolio. I was surprised and asked why since she does this for a living. She said it is difficult to invest wisely when you’re emotionally involved. By coincidence SooJin Buzelli called with a story about investors feeling better prepared when they have an advisor. Since investing is an alien concept for many, what better metaphor than outer space? It also doesn’t hurt that outer space is fun to explore as an illustrator. Thanks to SooJin for the assignment and my friend for words of advice.
This series is for LifeHealthPro for AD Mary Shaub was for a feature about 4 areas where annuities could grow. The assignment was originally a full page with 4 hands showing icons for different customers but Mary later decided having 4 individual illustrations would be better. I was more than happy with the decision and felt a series was the stronger direction.
Great news from 3×3 Magazine’s Pro Show this year. 7 of my entries were merit award winners and will be published in 3×3 Illustration Annual No. 12. It is an embarrassment of good news and I am thankful for the many creatively rewarding assignments last year. Since I would like to give the winning entries their proper due, they will be posted over the next couple posts.
Much thanks to Charles Hively and the judges for the exciting news.
Let’s start with the winning entries for editorial:
1) Editorial series for Scientific American Magazine about the structure of language. Patti Nemoto, AD.
2) Editoral, single: Illustration for PlanSponsor Magazine about taking care of the small details. SooJin Buzelli, AD
3) Editorial, single. Illustration for the New York Times about steadying a marriage after a layoff. Fred Norgaard AD
The Wall Street Journal called with an article about board members hiring outside help to evaluate their company. It turns out the board likes having an outside source to recommend tough decisions whenever a possible conflict arises between the board and management. Fortunately the age of Snowden has been kind since surveillance similar themes are great for ideas. The idea of a consultant “rattling the cage” seemed a perfect metaphor for how companies must feel when they are being judged by outsiders.
One of my favorite art directors, April Montgomery of Computerworld to create an opening illustration for a feature. Because of our history there is a lot of trust so it’s very easy to bounce ideas back and forth with April. The story discusses loss of human jobs to technology which is a problem that is only going to become worse. The interesting twist is those who created programming for technology are being replaced by the cloud which many helped create. I had a few ideas but we decided the approach of a character watching his space vanish to the clouds resonated best with the story.
It’s always a pleasure working with Dan Richardson at Christian Century Magazine. There are naturally many metaphors available when working with religion and it’s a fun challenge to create images which seem fresh. Dan had a feature about the use of crowdsourcing to fund many activities for the Church. Traditionally appeals were made from the pulpit and the search is on for the appropriate manner to use crowdsourcing. The support of many as opposed to the support of one seemed the right approach.
Bized Magazine called with a series of illustrations for various articles. One story talked about a common misconception in the Health regarding a Government driven health care system versus a market driving system. You would think a market system would make more but it turns out government systems are more profitable. Designer Goodness Okoro asked for an illustration highlighting the contrast and the idea of two Everyman figures back to back with different levels of money seemed perfect. The basic gist of the concept is keeping up with the Joneses with the government being Mr Jones.
Goodness Okoro from 2Communique called with an assignment for Bized Magazine titled, “Hierarchy, High Pressure, and Risk”. The article asked if pressure is on, does a hierarchy help or hurt. Research was done with Himalayan expeditions and found the groups with the stronger hierarchy reached the top most often. Naturally it seemed appropriate to use a climbing metaphor and the trick is to put a twist on an idea to keep it interesting. The idea of the climbers being pulled by ropes in an organizational chart pattern seemed a natural fit. Fans of the original Star Trek will notice the colors of the jerseys. Fans of the original Star Trek will also notice that the top guy is wearing a red instead of gold jersey which reverses the hierarchy from the original series.
Like I said, you always have to twist things up to keep it interesting.
Orlie Kraus at the Wall St Journal and I have worked together for many years so it’s always a pleasure whenever she calls. These illustrations were for a special section dedicated to international stock fund. International stories naturally bring up ideas of traveling and the approach for this project come from growing up in Oklahoma, watching children films from other countries and dreaming about how life must be different. Since the articles were about US investors starting to explore abroad for investments, it seemed like the perfect approach.
Detroit has been on the radar as an emerging new center for creatives so it was a pleasure to hear from AD Valerie Morgan at Hour Detroit. They have been a client on and off for over 15 years and I have enjoyed watching the publication grow.
Language is one of my favorite subjects and Valerie called with a story about the misconceptions of stuttering. The main focus for ideas was the self consciousness and effort it takes for a stutterer to successfully communicate. Many pieces have to move in motion properly for a stutterer and pressure builds as you become more aware of the listener. Fortunately or unfortunately memories of awkwardness of teen years was the perfect inspiration for sketches. I remember thinking everyone could see all my flaws. Eyes are a great element for catching the feeling of self awareness.
Much thanks to Valerie and Hour Detroit for letting me tackle one of my favorite subjects.
AD David Horton from Hecht Horton partners called with an assignment for Tufts University Alumni magazine. Tufts has been a great client over the years and I have enjoyed working for their various publications. This assignment focused on how various first year students try to create a sense of home for their first real experience away from home. Since I had just finished a major move, it was a very relatable story. For some reason, the old “Flying Toasters” screen saver popped into my head as the perfect inspiration. In this case this was an assignment whose answer has always been in front of my face.
The Chronicle of Higher Education called with an assignment about the how multilingual people see the world versus people who speak a single language. Turns out the world is seems more varied and bigger for those who speak more than one language.
The structure of language is fascinating and one of the more surprising facts about language is spacial perception and interpretation of common occurrences is altered based on your native language. My approach for this assignment was the idea that each language has a different color so naturally having more languages add a wider spectrum to how you view the world. Much thanks to AD Janeen Jones for the assignment.
This is part of a continuing series for Genetech’s site to help explain a variety of complex concepts. This series explains the issues researchers must consider when using tissue samples for research. Producer Nick Miller and the rest of the production team have done a great job a figuring out a process so we can digest and break down various biotech concepts for a wider audience. If you would like to see the series which uses limited animation please visit here.
Boundless Brooklyn asked Chris Buzelli and SooJin Buzelli to curate an exhibit featuring 50 illustrators painting 50 water tower models. The opening is April 3rd at Kikkerland Shop on 493 6th Avenue in New York City from 6pm to 9pm.
It has been a while since breaking out the paints but it was nice to create analog art again. My tower is based on an illustration about singularity commissioned by Nautilus Magazine about the merging of Robotic and Human intelligence. The pattern in the original illustration seemed perfect for a 3 dimensional object and a nice way to dive into the deep end of the painting pool. I had forgotten the emotional connection one can have while painting. The process can be very meditative. It was a bittersweet when the tower was complete.
Please pop by the exhibit, I’m sure it you will be blown away by all the participating illustrators.
For fun, the work in progress appears after the tower:
My life is nothing if not ironic. Fellow illustrator and friend Otto Steininger recently did an illustration about a new medical procedure for transplanting poop. Naturally I had some fun at his expense. The freelance gods decided to teach a lesson and AD Valarie Morgan at Hour Detroit called with an assignment for the exact same procedure!
Turns out it is a very fascinating procedure and donors are extremely healthy people with high quality bacteria for digesting. The bacteria cleans the system so those who lack this bacteria can develop serious problems. The donors poop contains the bacteria so a small amounted is placed into the digestive tracts of patients so they can grow their own good bacteria.
Valerie called because she felt I could navigate a delicate subject matter. The bacteria seemed the obvious point for focus and the intestines are basically an organic tunnel like a subway so they could be rendered with a fun approach.
I wish to apologize to Otto for teasing him because this turned out to be a very fascinating assignment.
AD David Stokes and I have worked together for many years so we have seen the evolution of print and web together. His latest assignment is one of many I have received lately requesting formatting for the newer parallax approach to web design. It’s a welcome new development for illustrators since the art spans the width of the page. Because of the new format, an image needs to work with a variety of cropping options for different screens.
The project was a feature about asset managers who find size is a benefit to performance. Also requested were characters based on quotes from managers. We went for a bold simple solution which (lucky for me) works well with the newer trends in web design.
The Chronicle of Higher Education had a fascinating article to illustrate about a professor with OCD who needed to figure out how to navigate a world that seems out of order. The answer turned out to be finding small pockets of order to deal with the larger world. A Rubic’s cube seemed to be an apt metaphor for the struggle and process needed to organize one’s thoughts. Scott Seymour, AD.
American Teacher magazine asked for a series of illustrations for a feature about the dynamics of students asking for help in the classroom. Turns out the students who were the squeakiest wheels were the ones who received more attention. This a problem for students who are reluctant to ask for help so the study was designed to help teachers identify those students.
AD Michelle Furman mentioned there is a racial and cultural component at play with some students who do not ask for help which is why they called. My characters can be non racial without looking forced and my solution of many of the illustrations were students who were drawn with a simple line against backgrounds. Not only did this solve the problem of race, it also caught the idea that students can be less visible to the teacher at times.
Much thanks to Michelle for the project.
One of the best things about being an illustrator is having the opportunity to work on stories which you have been following in the news. One such story is the disturbing trend of US companies reducing research and development. The long term impact could be future loss of competitiveness. Since I grew up in a science family I find this a shocking since corporations made big money with new discoveries. Dan Smith at WSJ had a story about about this trend and since it was on my mind, it was pretty easy to come up with ideas. The final approach was more of a fun retro cartoon approach with the personalized company chasing after it’s fleeing skills.
Hopefully this trend will reverse and we will see new an amazing discoveries.
A pleasant surprise popped in the mail the other day. “The Urban Imperative” for which I had done the cover had finally been published after a few years. This book was produced by the World Bank and it was one of those unusual cases where the cover art has been finished but the book went through many revisions before the final version. The editors, Edward Glaeser and Abha Joshi-Ghani requested an image which caught the energy of modern cities and older villages merging into one. Since it was a global study, the imagery needed an international feel.
This cover was denser than my normal work because we wanted to catch the energy of densely populated urban centers. In the end, it turned out to be one of my favorite covers for a book. Much thanks to Mihae Kim (AD) and the editors from the World Bank for a satisfying project.
Corinne Myller and I judged editorial together this year for the Society of Illustrators and finally we had a chance to work on a fun little project. The feature for the Travel Section was the most popular travel questions on Google with answers. Corinne wanted something playful and they requested I write the questions in the art. Since I’m in the middle of a move to my new place, it was very easy to connect to the stories, especially the packing.
Turns out my new address is where a lot of New York Times editors and staff live, so perhaps the move and the article were meant to be.
Len Small and I had been trying to find a story for Nautilus Magazine to work together. The first couple stories fell through but he came back with a story which turned out to be my favorite. It was an interview with Professor Goldberg about why robots can narrow the gap with humans regarding creativity but never match. The most fascinating part was a test interviewing robots about the human experience similar to interviews used to catch replicants in “BladeRunner”.
Since Professor Goldberg created a robot controlled garden which became a famous experiment, I went with a gardening metaphor where you can see the gap between life and computer duplication. This has turned out to be one of my favorite pieces.
Much thanks to Len for the great story.
Spread for the print edition of Nautilus
Ronn Campisi had an assignment for the Harvard Law Review about using the collaborative process to develop more effective law professors. The main thought was professors don’t just happen by themselves. They are created with the assistance of many peers and advisors in the process.
Ronn and I decided to go with an organic tree approach and the tree also had the feeling of diagram like branches which connect one person to another.
Ronn has used me since the Boston Globe days and was one of the earlier art directors who commissioned me on the national level. A lot of my growth as an artist and professional happened during those days so it’s always a pleasure when he gives a call.
Mary Shaub from Summit Publications called for a series of full pages about forecasts in the insurance sector. I’m a big believer that any subject can make compelling images. Paul Rand’s quote that there are no bad projects only bad solutions has been a mantra of mine for years.
Since it was for the January issue about the future, I decided the series should be a colorful series with a sense of fun to reflect the optimism we like to have for a fresh start. Mary and I were pleased with the final series.
Hopefully the forecast is for bright skies for all for the new year.
Besides new beginnings, the New Year also means the scrambling to organize records from the previous year. Dan Smith called while I was in Hong Kong with a quick assignment about new auditing rules for corporations. Transparency was a metaphor we liked and Dan suggested retro x-ray glasses to add an element of fun. It was such a good suggestion I was embarrassed it did not cross my mind in the original sketches.
Green is not a color I use often but it has been making more of an appearance when appropriate and reminds me of the great science fiction and detective covers I used to see as a child.
Perhaps I’m now entering the green phase of my creative career :-)
It is appropriate one of the final projects printed this year was for SooJin Buzelli and PlanSponsor Magazine. We’ve worked on nice projects throughout the year and she had a story about financial advisors overlooking Millennials. The story boils down to feeling ignored so a metaphor of a giant eyed robot ignoring a “piece of the puzzle” seemed a fun idea. This was done during a week of judging work for the Society of Illustrators so I strangely felt more pressure than normal since entries for the competition were excellent!
Much thanks to SooJin for a nice pre holiday assignment.
Kerry Prugh, AD for Notre Dame’s alumni magazine called with a fun list of 10 things we don’t know. As this is the end of the year, it seemed like a perfect piece to feature because one of the best lessons learned last year was the value of being comfortable with knowing what I don’t know. Ironically it is a very liberating feeling when you understand this concept.
Perhaps this personal lesson made it easy for my to come up with a space metaphor which resonated with the idea of searching for answers which seem elusive.
Much thanks to Kerry for allowing me to add fun to a fun list.
DBusiness had an interesting story for an assignment. It seems the the big trend in the future is all sorts of transportation and delivery will be handled remotely. It could be very possible there will not be a need for drivers in the future. Stories about the future are always a treat to illustrate and my approach was a more fun and optimistic approach with a friendly benevolent bot. Much thanks to AD James Slate for the fun story.
Susan Limoncelli called with a request for cover and inside art for Tepper Magazine’s feature about visions for a new development soon to be built on campus. They had asked for opinions about how the development should serve various needs within the community. Susan also had a request for “Yang Orange” if it worked with my ideas.
Since “Yang Orange” is one of my favorite colors, I was more than happy to oblige. I played with the idea of blueprints as a metaphor.
Thanks to Susan for the assignment and for planting the thought I should patent “Yang Orange.”
The Your Money section was a special collaboration between the New York Times and NPR. In addition to the cover series, I was asked to illustrate an essay describing the experience of a couple trying to navigate a relationship thought the trauma of the recession. Having seen how the recession rocked almost everyone I knew, it was an easy story to empathize. The metaphor which came to mind was the cycles of a tree burning. It caught both the idea of damage and time needed to repair the damage. Fred Norgaard who was the AD, agreed.
The Your Money series was a great experience and it was a pleasure to complete the series with this essay.
I have added a collection of small artworks and limited edition prints to my shop for the holidays.
Fred Norgaard called with an exciting but scary project: he needed 10 illustrations over the weekend for a special section of the New York Times about your money. He provided a color comp pulling images from my site. I love when designers do this because it does help me understand the feel they want and it was clear Fred wanted something which popped off the page. There was definitely panic at the start because Fred pulled some of my strongest images for his comp. Since he wanted a variety of color schemes, it was helpful for planning the color sequence. I decided the dental image needed to have a dark background to provide a hub for the other images. Much to my relief everyone was thrilled with the final result and frankly, the color comp Fred provided was a huge help.
Here’s the final layout:
And here was the comp:
Received a pleasant call last evening from the Society of Illustrators. Turns out 2 pieces made it into the Advertising and Institutional Show. Having judged this year in the Editorial category, I saw how difficult it was for a piece to be accepted. This is my third time judging and the quality of entries was easily the highest I have seen. Much thanks to the Advertising and Institutional judges and the Society for the great news.
Program illustration for Teatro Alla Scalla’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor. Agency: TITA (Milan), Art Director: Dario Pianesi, Coordinator: Hélène Le Cannu.
Illustration for feature about building cities in the future for Sphere Magazine, a shareholder publication for Hutchison Whampoa. Agency: HK Media (Hong Kong), Publisher: Greg Crandall, Creative Director: Pierre Pang.
The Chronicle of Higher Education and I have had a long relationship and it’s thrilling to see more of their stories getting attention on a national level. Ellen Winkler called with an interesting essay about how the internet and human interaction has created a sense of groupthink. Instead of creating unfettered intellectual growth, it has created a strange group dynamic.
It’s always fun to create ideas about the relationship between humans and technology and my approach was a simple one of the crowd rushing headlong together with an altered collective mind. Since I was a science fiction geek, it was easy to find metaphors. Much thanks to Ellen and Chronicle for always providing interesting topics.
AD SooJin Buzelli called earlier this fall for a story in CIO magazine about asset managers who realized it might actually be a good idea to buy a stake in companies of other asset managers. They realized they would be the best people to analyze asset managers so they should be able to make wiser decisions.
Working for SooJin is fun because she specifically does NOT want typical business imagery when illustrating stories about finance and investing. The essence of the story is about collecting so I tried channeling Dr Suess to come up with playful metaphors and devices for collecting. As usual, SooJin picked the idea I felt was strongest.
Last week was a strange karma week. More than one friend called and asked for advice about retirement. The main theme was friends were worried they had not saved enough or were not saving early enough in their careers. By chance, Fred Norgaard from the New York Times called with an article titled, “Do you have enough saved for retirement?” for a special section on wealth. Since the main worry I heard from friends was outliving their savings, many of my ideas tried to catch this anxiety. Fred and I agreed on an approach which emotionally caught the story, but we almost went with a more humorous approach. After finishing the approved sketch, I went back to finish the alternate idea since it was also strong. Much thanks to Fred and I hope everyone is able to sleep a little better about their finances.
This was the approved art which went to final. Fred and I really liked the tone which we felt would catch reader’s anxieties.
This was the more humorous concept we also really liked. It was very close to being picked. I went to final after the assignment since it was a fun approach.
Sketches. The first was a more “literal” approach then I played with the anxiety angle for the rest of the sketches.
Michelle Furman, art director for American Teacher magazine called requesting a series of illustrations for a feature about reimagining technical education. The article was the challenge to rethink the role of education and realize there was much untapped potential. The theme of breaking out of boundaries became the theme for the illustrations using a butterfly as a metaphor for potential. Michelle specifically asked that the metaphor be carried through the series and it turned out to create a nice flow through the series. Who knew that butterflies would one day be something I enjoyed drawing?
My wife is a Hong Konger so I’ve had the chance to visit Hong Kong enough to feel a connection to the city. As you can imagine, the news has been very heartbreaking regarding the protests. Christopher Mok is opening a new gallery in Hong Kong and asked for a piece for an exhibit dedicated to the protests. Naturally I said said yes.
In my book, creating protest imagery is a tricky balance. Many ideas can be too simplistic but you need an immediate image to catch the eye. Demonizing an opponent makes for great visuals, but often seems like a creatively lazy way to communicate. Offering solutions like “peace” lose meaning because it is easy to call for peace but often impossible to achieve peace.
The solution I chose was trying to find a space where an emotional connection could happen. The main emotion a lot of my Hong Kong friends feel at the moment is heartbreak. My approach was hope in the face of impossible odds. As long as there is hope, there is a chance for the landscape to change. The Terracotta army of China was the inspiration for the metaphor of almost impossible obstacles Hong Kong faces. The yellow umbrella has become a symbol for this hope.
Much thanks to Chris for inspiring me to create a piece for a city that is near and dear to the heart.
Laura Baer at New Jersey Monthly called requesting illustrations for a series of stories about the future of education. Since the story was about reforms in place and ready to be launched, a playful space metaphor seemed the perfect idea. Since I went to elementary school in the 60’s the space program was a symbol of progress and hope.
Much thanks to Laura for letting me channel the inner school child for this assignment.
Computerworld Magazine AD Stephen Sauer called with a fun project for a series of spreads about mobile security. Security is always a fun subject for me because it usually comes down to facing or avoiding fears. Since this project was for an online publication, bold colors seemed perfect and the background was kept very simple to give the designer options for working with type.
I have a nice relationship with ComputerWorld and they always seem to select my favorite sketches.
Here’s the art:
And here’s the final spreads:
An email popped in my box from my financial advisor about the Alibaba IPO. Many clients were interested and he advised against it because he felt people were too enthusiastic. By coincidence I had received an assignment from Dan Smith from the Wall St Journal about the phenomenon of IPO’s shooting up at the beginning only to fall sharply after the excitement was over. It was a quick assignment and fortunately a story like this is always a metaphor for risk or danger. Most of the mistakes people make are looking in the wrong places for danger only to be surprised.
Balloons seem to be a theme for me this year and it seemed perfect for a story about unbridled hope. A nice accident was the choice of red thorns. I sometimes use red to communicate danger but it is also a stock symbol for down markets.
Much thanks to both the Wall Street Journal and my advisor for seeing eye to eye.
Working for Hutchison Whampoa’s Sphere Magazine is a huge undertaking for an illustrator. You are asked to illustrate the cover plus a series of illustrations for 2 to 3 articles. Besides creating a series for an article about cities of the future, I was also asked to create a series for an article titled, Training Day. Since the article was about training to prepare for any disaster, my inspiration was loosely based on monster movies from Japan. I always loved how everyone ran into action in uniforms and safety helmets when the alarms went off. Since the client had concepts for the illustrations, this was a way to make it work with my style.
Greg Crandall, publisher of Hong Kong Media, is a friend of many years and we were both excited to have a chance to work finally work on a project. It was almost like we were playing make believe at work.
Andree Khalmorgan called with an assignment for Time Magazine about Wall Street’s infatuation with clean energy. Clean energy has become big enough to catch Wall Street’s eye and financing they can provide could be a huge boost for the growth of clean tech.
Andree and I go way back to Businessweek days so it’s always fun to reconnect and nice to work together again. I thought it might be fun to do a humorous image of solar panel and windmill characters with money raining down. Having lived though the go go tech years of the 90’s it’s easy to see the impact Wall St can have when they love a sector.
When I was a child watching movies, an animated ad with dancing drinks, popcorn and candy would sing along to the tune of “Let’s all go to the movies”. This must be the reason I love humanizing inanimate objects.
It has been a good year for working on assignments requiring multiple illustrations and when long time friend Greg Crandall called with a request to illustrate the entire issue of Hutchison Whampoa’s magazine, “Sphere” I quickly said yes. Greg is the owner of Hong Kong Media LTD and we have history going back to the 80’s. We both worked with many of the same magazines born during the tech boom so it was only natural the assignment would be about designing cities for the future. Much to my delight, they requested a Jetson’s like approach to the art. Once again I was more than happy to comply.
It’s not often you get a request to indulge your childhood pleasures.
John Korpics at ESPN and I go back to Washington DC days working for Regardie’s Magazine in the late 80’s. Since then we have played many rounds of golf together and as a team have never won a match. It is an unblemished record we are still proud of today. He asked AD Chin Wan to call and request stickers for an ESPN fantasy football league which opened up this year. The timing was perfect because I was wanting to create a series of stickers. Football was also my favorite sport as a child and probably my best team sport. You wouldn’t think it but as a tiny Korean running back in Oklahoma, nothing made me happier than breaking off a run and pretending I was in the NFL .
Not only was it a perfect project, John had the perfect art direction. He asked me to go a little nuts.
Much thanks to John, Chin, and Neil Jamieson for making it happen.
To download the app and stickers from either iTunes or Google Play visit here. My team is called the Super Crushers. (Inspired by The Crusher from Bugs Bunny)
This is how you know SooJin Buzelli is an excellent art director for illustrators: Illustrators are excited about a magazine about financial planning. If someone were to ask me how she managed to pull it off the answer is simple: 1) She is a fan of illustration and knows good work 2) She has convinced both her editors and illustrators that good ideas will be used and 3) they pay a fair budget. It is no surprise illustrators put out their best effort when SooJin calls.
She called with a story about advisors who find many tiny accounts that are forgotten by their owners. They are usually the result of accounts moving to different firms which get lost in the shuffle. SooJin needed to communicate the concept of collecting and finding a way to responsibly manage these tiny accounts. By coincidence it was the last week of preparation for ICON8, and illustration conference in Portland and as a board member I was scrambling around with last minute details. Naturally, the metaphor of “herding cats” or “ducks in a row” came to mind. Soojin liked the frantic approach. Even nicer was turning in the assignment and seeing her next week in Portland.
Coming from a family of scientists, it’s always exciting to when Scientific American calls and even better when the subject is about language. In my book, language as a subject matter is fertile ground for ideas. Patti Nemoto had a fascinating series of articles. The first article dealt with a study finding bilingual people have more empathy in their native vs second language while the second discussed the structure and rhythms of language. It was fascinating learning about how languages were developed and how humans innately have a common understanding about structure.
Much thanks to Patti and Scientific American for a fun and creatively satisfying project.
Got a nice call from Jia Baek, art director for the Wall St Journal for a cover piece about investing like a hedge fund. The idea is the tools are available for small investors like ourselves to unleash our inner George Soros. Since I always joke to friends about “The Yang Global Hedge Fund” this right up my alley. The direction which immediately came to mind was getting inside the head of the big boys analyzing complex data. Jia also sent a comp of the type and space which always helps with imagining the proper approach for the final art. The space screamed for a colorful approach against a white background.
In case you’re wondering how the Yang Global Hedge Fund invests, a financial manager handles it for me. I prefer leaving that stuff to the big boys.
Here’s the layout for the top part of the page. The art almost drew itself after seeing the space.
Golf World’s Art Director Tim Carr and I have worked on different golf publications together over the years. He is one of the few art directors to see my growth both as an artist and golfer. It’s nice to mix the passions of golf and illustration and work with an art director who appreciates both. His most recent assignment was an idea by a columnist for a team competition of older stars vs today stars. Golf is one of the few sports where it’s possible to see a competition between stars from different eras. I did a few fun competition metaphors but we both agreed the dueling metaphor was the most elegant idea.
Tim mentioned how much I’ve grown as a golfer the last time we played. Hope he won’t be too harsh when he sees how much it regressed this year due to lack of practice.
Here’s the sketches. I felt the story would be perfect with a humorous quick to read idea catching competition between generations.
Art Director Dan Smith for the Wall St Journal is the first person to assign me a project by tweet. After returning from an exhilarating week in Portland at a biennial illustration conference known as ICON8, I tweeted about feeling pressure to bring it after seeing so much great work. Dan saw it and tweeted asking if I was ready to bring it for a project. We continued tweeting “Bring It On” lines from the cheerleader movie for laughs.
The assignment was for an article about a trend among CEO’s to pick successors from their alma mater. One proposed idea was CEO’s as Siamese Twins-like cheerleaders. Dan went for he idea. It wasn’t until later I realized the irony of doing a cheerleader metaphor after our “Bring It On” routine.
Much thanks to Dan for the assignment and great anecdote.
Everyone is thinking about millennials these days if the number of assignments I have are any indication. People want to reach them and figure out how they tick. Many of my friends are millennials who have been nothing but helpful in keeping me up to snuff in the ever changing world of design and illustration. Investment News had an article about advisors learning to connect with millennials since they are the next huge investing generation. I decided to represent them with hats since my millennial friends are always wearing cool hats that somehow look wrong on me. It’s always a pleasure working with AD David Stokes.
This week I’m off to Portland as the illustration conference also known as ICON8 finally happens. As a board member and treasurer this day has come faster than expected so now it’s time to put on a show.
I may be a bit biased, but the lineup of speakers and events is strong and having many new speakers mixed with the great vibe in Portland should make a good time for all.
Saturday morning I will be hosting a discussion with two of my favorite illustrators, Victo Ngai, a young illustrator in New York who has been on an amazing tear for such a short career and Leo Espinosa who has been tearing it up for over 20 years. It will be great to hear how they break through the noise in a very competitive world.
If you are at the conference, please say hi. It will be nice to finally place faces with names.
Producer Nick Miller from Weber Shandwick called with an interesting problem to solve. Genentech has a few research articles on various subjects and was trying to find an illustrator who could catch various concepts regarding biotechnology in a fun yet informative manner. This was the first time to use an illustrator and requested the art be two color using colors from Genentech’s design bible. The colors had to be used as solids at 100 percent. The art was to be used for presentations on the web and conferences.
Being limited in colors turned out to be a blessing in disguise and was a wonderful chance to interpret my approach in a more graphic manner. Inspiration came from retro instructional videos with animation which I loved as a child.
Genentech and Weber Shandwick loved the approach and the process flew once we figured out the best way to explain biotech concepts to my non biotech head.
If you would d like to see the animated version of this presentation please visit here.
American Teacher magazine called requesting a fun series of illustrations for a feature about math anxiety. Coming from a family of scientists and mathematicians, our house was surrounded with educational toys for math. My favorite was a scale which had numbers of various sizes which hooked on the scale to balance. For example if you hooked 2 and 4 on one side, you hooked 6 on the other to make the scale work. It was an ingenious way to learn addition.
My approach was simply to imagine the feeling of being overwhelmed with a flood of numbers. It certainly could feel that way for me as a child in school. Much thanks to Michelle Thurman for calling with this fun assignment.
Ronn Campisi has a soft spot in my heart since he was one of the first influential art directors to hire me. Doing a cover for Ronn was a huge boost on a national level and I have always been grateful.
It was a pleasant surprise to hear from him and do a fun little project for Harvard Law Bulletin about privacy. Students from Harvard figured out a way for researchers to use student data without compromising their identity. I took a pseudo info graphic approach showing collection of data, building algorithms to strip identity and identity safe data in a sequential set of three illustrations.
I am sure there will be many projects with a similar theme in the post Snowden era.
One of the pleasant surprises this year has been the steady stream of assignments with multiple illustrations. I really enjoy the chance to develop and idea so it creates a mini story or look. SooJin Buzelli had an assignment which required a cover to be used as an opener plus a few inside pieces for an article about Financial advisors have learned making their clients happy will attract more clients. For the cover, the idea of flocking birds in a playful palette seemed to hit as right. As usually happens with SooJin, she also agreed it was the best approach.
In the art imitates life approach, I literally finished selecting a financial advisor before receiving this assignment. It was a relief to know my new advisor was doing all the things recommended in this feature.
This was the cover and opener for the feature.
How the unknown can be explained.
Keeping people on track for their financial goals.
How to use social media to keep clients informed.
April Montgomery from Computerworld and I have worked together for many years and she is one of my favorite art directors. We have a very good flow which probably comes from working on multiple projects and she is one art director who always seems to pick my favorite sketch. She let me choose from a few articles and I chose a cover story about risk. The feature discusses how fear of risk paralyzes many projects. Ever since the financial meltdown there seems to be an abundance of “end of world” news stories so it was a fun concept to explore.
Much thanks for April for the fun assignment.
April is good about showing type options for the cover so I can compose the finals accordingly.
While traveling to Hong Kong this year I’ve heard a theme from friends common to friends in Brooklyn: You have to work harder to stay in place with rising costs. It never ceases to amaze me how assignments can echo life. Mark Tyner at The Wall St. Journal had an article about Social Security payments being less than you thought when retiring so people need to work longer. Naturally the idea of a treadmill or the hamster in a wheel metaphor came to mind. Seems like the spinning wheel feeling can be felt no matter where you look.
An interesting trend this year may have been started with my Impolite Gentlemen web comic: I’ve received more requests to do sequentially based ideas. This was a fun cops and robbers piece for DBusiness Magazine. Art Director James Slate suggested a strip idea since the format is very horizontal (another theme this year) and I was more than happy to comply. Who doesn’t love drawing cops and robbers?
Knock on wood but many people I’ve talked to recently are not just busy but overwhelmed with work and this spans many professions. HOW Magazine must have had its’ hand on the pulse when assigning a story about removing clutter from the mind. The gist of the article was the need to walk away from the screen and enjoy the moments around you. Taking the time to slow down would help you become more productive. My approach was a simple idea about looking around and not missing life. Thanks to Adam Ladd for the project and much needed advice.
It’s always a pleasure to work for a client you believe in. The Southern Poverty Law Center has been a regular for years and are always a pleasure. They have interesting subjects and are open to a variety of ideas. The Southern Poverty Law Center recently made a series of gift postcards for their Teaching Tolerance program and I was more than happy to have work included in the series. Much thanks to art director Valerie Downes.
Got a fun project through the miracle of social media. Yuko Shimizu had posted work in progress for a tribute book about Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo and I posted on her page how much I loved Little Nemo. Next thing I know, she puts me in contact with Chris Stevens who is curating the tribute and had the chance to create a page for his consideration. Normally I don’t submit under such circumstances but the chance to do something about Nemo was too good to pass up.
Update: Received a pleasant surprise from Chris Stevens and learned my contribution will be included in The Little Nemo Tribute book. I’ve had the chance to see a few pieces created by graphic novelists/illustrators/designers who are friends and the work as been amazing. It is nice to be part of an insanely talented group.
I remember the first time my work appeared in CA’s Illustration Annual in 1988. This was the professional equivalent of Christmas arriving early. It was a thrill to see my work together with the best of the best. I had been an illustrator for five years and when it was published, my career took off. For this I’ll always be grateful to CA.
Many years later it is still exciting to see work in the Annual. Much thanks to Alex Skoirchet and Morningstar Advisor for the great series done about risk and ‘Black Swans”.
Here’s the Morningstar Advisor piece accepted into this years Annual. Alex Skoirchet, AD:
And here’s the first piece ever accepted in CA in 1988 for Common Cause Magazine, Jeffery Dever, AD. It was very exciting to have Anita Kunz on the same page.
Art director Michael Hogue called with a fun project to illustrate the entire summer guide for children for the Dallas Morning News. Illustrating the different activities made me realize my parents did a really good job in the summer of keeping me out of their hair. The summers were full of many of the same programs children do today. Marilyn Bishkin was the design director for the project. Hopefully Dallas residents will enjoy the guide.
It’s been a very fortunate year for series. Quite a few assignments this year have been for multiple illustrations. My favorite part of doing a series is getting a feel for the project and finding a “voice” which connects the illustrations but still offer enough variation. This series for American Educator magazine was for a feature titled “The Mind Shift in Teacher Evaluation”. It is about a rethinking of the process of teaching and the profound effects the shift has on education. I used arrows as a playful approach to represent this “shift in direction”. Thanks to Michelle Furman, AD for letting me take a fun approach to the feature.
As every illustrator knows, working with a daily paper like The Wall St Journal can be like a Top Chef challenge with the tight deadlines. You need to make something good looking and smart within a very tight window. Dan Smith and I have this down and it’s always satisfying when finished. He had an article about CEO’s choosing their successor which is a great topic because it is about forming another person who reflects yourself.
This was a happy instance where AD and illustrator agree which sketch is the best. I felt the chosen sketch nailed it both conceptually and graphically. Number 2 would have been great for a more humorous approach. Number 3 would have worked fine too but the success depends on execution to make it more interesting.
It has been an interesting trend for the flow of work in 2014. Projects have ranged with assignments from magazines for multiple illustrations per issue to various cultural events, branding, and an animation collaboration for The Impolite Genteman. For some reason, quite of few projects have required a very horizontal format which were assigned even before the series of 100 cards for Moo.com. At first the extreme format was a struggle but have finally unlocked the code for making this work with my head. Now it has become a very fun challenge.
Here are a a couple of the fun horizontal images this year:
1) DBusiness Magazine: Global reach of US automobiles. Kathy Moore, AD
2) Smithsonian Magazine: Let’s talk about Language, Erik Washam, AD
Golf World Magazine: Words with Friends on Tour. Jennifer Corsano, AD.
2014 has been a pleasant surprise with requests from more publications for a series of illustrations for a feature. It’s enjoyable for me because it’s like creating a mini story with images. Here is part 2 of the series done for Experience Life Magazine about misinformation in the food industry. The main theme is a disturbing about of research make public about food that is actually marketing for giant food industries. The main concept which needed to be conveyed was the conflict of interest. Lydia Anderson was the art director and it was fun collaborating with this series.
I was joking to a friend I was smarter before the internet because there was less noise cluttering the brain. Turns out this is a big problem for consumers who want to have healthy eating habits. There is so many conflicting news stories and reports about nutrition and it is made more difficult by deceptive reports about food. Experience Life Magazine had me do a series of illustrations for a feature about being a smarter consumer of information regarding nutrition. Thanks to Lydia Anderson for commissioning such a fun project.
It’s always a treat to work with SooJin Buzelli at Asset International. One would never think a financial client is a place where you can push yourself creatively as an illustrator but this is exactly what happens at Asset International. This illustration was for an article about putting your retirement planning on autopilot. The extreme horizontal format was a format which was difficult in my earlier days but these days I really enjoy playing around with it. This was created for PlanSponsor magazine.
For some reason, it took me a couple of attempts at the final before I was happy with a version which I felt was SooJin-worthy. It was a classic case of an idea looking better in your head than in reality. The first attempt didn’t work for me because it didn’t feel playful enough and the image does suggest an amusement park type of metaphor.
Tried another version adding more colors but it looked fragmented or pasted together.
Started channeling some of the great european illustrators from the 60’s and early 70’s and finally hit on the winner. The final version in print made me very grateful the third time was the charm.
Editor Emily Potts called with a fun project to create a custom set of 100 mini cards with rounded corners for myself as part of a campaign by Moo.com to have creatives from many disciplines showcase the possibilities of their mini cards. It is amazing how easy it is to customize cards these days and it was fun collecting, reediting and cropping images from past work to create a cohesive collection.
Here’s an interview with Emily on Rockpaperink about the cards.
Client: Moo.com Editor: Emily Potts
Hélène Le Cannu from TITA (an advertising agency in Milan) contacted me for a fun project for La Scala In Famiglia which is a series of performances meant for children. I was asked to create an image for a piano accordion style guide for the opera, Lucia Di Lammermoore. The main concept for the art is Lucia as a tour guide guiding the audience through the opera. To make this idea work, I approached the composition with characters and elements as toy figures in miniaturized set. It was also fun to finally see my characters with facial hair. Much thanks to Hélène and TITA for a fun project. Dario Pianesi, AD
Poster and Guide for Lucia di Lammermoore. Agency: TITA srl (Milan)
Emily Potts called with a fun project from Moo.com. They wanted me to create 100 unique images for a 100 set of mini business cards with rounded corners to showcase their ability to customize. An article and interview about the cards and process will appear soon but Emily was kind enough to let me show a preview. It was fun and I did feel a tinge of sadness when the project was complete.
Much thanks to Emily and Moo.com.
Dan Smith from the Wall St Journal called with an assignment about companies getting on board with big data. Seems like they see other companies using big data and they are scrambling to get on board so they won’t be left behind. As a child my biggest worry was being the last to know if the other kids were doing something fun so this was a very easy concept for me to create. Come to think of it, many of my concepts are probably rooted in the dynamics of the playground.
Very welcome and surprising news came from CA that one of my pieces has been accepted for the 2014 Illustration Annual. I used to read CA in high school and it was a big inspiration for a student finding his way. This is probably the toughest annual to be accepted so it’s always exciting to hear good news. Here’s a great post by Upper Case Magazine’s Janine Vangool about her experience judging the show.
The illustration “Who’s afraid of black swans?” was for an article about risk for Morningstar Advisor Magazine. Alex Skoirchet is one of my favorite directors and we have a nice collaborative process. Since I’m a bit of a financial geek, I really wanted to draw a black swan since it is a term for financial disruption. Risk is about fear so the image of being afraid of monsters at night seemed perfect.
Here were other options for risk. The literal monster could have worked but obviously I’m thrilled Alex picked the swan.
The Chronicle of Higher Education and I go way back and it is rare to have a client for the life of a career. They were my first client and we have worked together ever since. It has been satisfying to watch the Chronicle grow in stature and see their articles selected for many of the aggregate sites I read.
This illustration for Art Director Scott Seymour was for an article about the retreat of US university education from an international scope at a time when the world is becoming more interconnected. What makes this even more distressing is US universities historically were leaders in an international view on education, especially during the 50’s and 60’s. The idea behind this was playing on the fear of being left behind.
Tim Carr from Golf World started 2014 requesting a series of illustrations about advances in using statistics to improve the game of golfers. We have worked together since the Golf Magazine days in the 2000’s and have played many rounds together. Since I have been accused of having a single handicap swing but a mid handicap brain, this assignment might be the cure for my golfing ills. Growing up in a family of scientists also made this project fun. Maybe the next time Tim and I play, the brain will finally match the swing.
The illustration was originally a full page before Tim decided he needed a spread.
The focus of the spots were various aspects of the golf game which can be examined and the sometimes surprising results which can be discovered.
Watched a little football playoffs this weekend and one team’s success was attributed to chemistry between quarterbacks and receivers. They know each other so well the quarterback knows where the receiver will improvise when a play breaks down and the receiver knows where the quarterback likes to throw the ball. Art Director SooJin Buzelli and I have a similar relationship. It is uncanny how many times she picks the sketch I’m most excited about doing without any prompting. This was an illustration for PlanSponsor about how generation Y is learning how to adjust to the ups and downs they have confronted with the economy.
The sketches were ideas about the ups and downs generation Y has to endure. My gut said sketch 2 was best but any of them could have worked depending on the emphasis of the story. SooJin read my mind and picked sketch 2 but it is not uncommon for us to like the same approach.
We should really think about taking our mind reading act on the road.
An interesting request for a group exhibit came by email asking for an interpretation of the world’s end which seemed like an ironic request during the holidays. My take wasn’t the apocalyptic scene which I’m sure many illustrators will take but a more quite “snuffing” out approach. One science fiction short story talks about a scientist who helps monks calculate every possible name for God with a super computer. Once this task is complete, the purpose of man is finished. At the end when the names are calculated, the stars vanish one by one.
May everyone get all the presents you want may your dreams come true for the next year. I would also like to thank my clients for a very good year. Few things make me as happy as working away on a deadline then scampering off to indulge whatever hobby like a kid who has proudly finished his homework.
Have a happy holiday and please drink an extra glass of eggnog for me.
Like many young artists, my first introduction to art was comics and I dreamt about being a cartoonist before discovering illustration in high school. Things have come full circle after a couple of Parsons students insisted I create a comic based on the humor of my twitter feed. One student said I play all the gentleman games but am not always a gentleman. This is how the Impolite Gentleman was born. If you would like to follow his journey (and many false starts while I learn) please follow him on Tumblr or Facebook.
The game plan is one strip will be produced every week.
Here’s the first to give you a feel and enjoy.
It’s been a pleasure working with the CFA institute on various projects and covers for their regular magazine. Even more fun has been working with Communication Design in Richmond. My former professor, Robert Meganck is one of the principles so it always brings back nice memories. Bil Cullen called and asked for a cover about age demographics and picked this bell curve solution. For the sake of ego, I’m going to pretend the male in the middle is me.
The Washington Post will always have a soft place in my heart since they helped my career break out as a young illustrator starting in DC. It was very heady to walk into the famous newsroom and see the energy. When Ben Bradlee walked by, I almost had a heart attack. He definitely had a presence. Lisa Schreiber called with a story about new apps for computers being ignored because software companies use resources to first develop mobile apps. I might have felt like the tiny computer in the presence of the great Bradlee.
Emerging Markets have been a big theme for the last few years even though many of the “Emerging” countries are much older than the US. This was an illustration for Orlie Kraus for the Weekend Wall Street Journal with a quiz for investors about investing in Emerging Markets.
Layering has been a thing of mine lately and it was fun creating a texture with multiple flags in the background.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. Usually we spend the holidays with friends and everyone contributes to the meal. At the end of dinner, everyone recites why they are thankful and while it may sound quaint, it is the perfect ending especially for New Yorkers and Brooklynites to take the edge off being New Yorkers and Brooklynites.
May everyone have a thankful Thanksgiving.
3×3 has a warm place in my heart and it was an honor to be asked by publisher Charles Hively to be included in the final print edition of 3×3 Magazine featuring work from Aad Goudappel, Harry Campbell, David Suter, Beppe Giacobbe, Jim Tsinganos, John Kraus, Anthony Tremmaglia, John Reinfurt, Paul Garland, and the back page by Leo Espinosa.
Here is the unabridged version for the 20 questions spotlight section.
Thanks again to 3×3 Magazine.
1) Favorite color? Probably orange since I wear it all the time
2) What do you listen to while working? WEFUNK radio and KEXP radio. If only my name was Professor Groove.
3) Person who had the most influence on you? Illustrator/Painter Salvador Bru. Salvador was this amazing older illustrator from Barcelona who could have been the template for The Most Interesting Man in the World. He took me under his wing my first year as an illustrator and we painted together. He had this effortless and fearless approach to painting without concern for mistakes. He taught me how to make the process fun.
4) Favorite medium and surface? Wacom Intuos 4 Tablet with Mac Pro and 23inch Cinema Display monitor. Adobe Photoshop.
Probably going to have to get a 27” inch iMac any day now. 5) Who is your favorite artist? Jim Flora
6) How do you start your day? Read news and favorite aggregate sites for an hour. Like to know what’s going on in the world before working.
7) Favorite art director or designer? Most of my regular art directors are great because they are smart. Tim Kerr at Golf World has an unfair advantage because he takes me golfing.
8) If you weren’t an artist/illustrator what would you be doing? Maybe something with a macro approach related to investing. Having said that, I’m in a trade at the moment that makes me grateful illustrator is my real job.
9) Last book read? “I Want My Hat Back” Jon Klassen. What a flawless children’s book. I’m insanely jealous.
10) Favorite movie of all time? “ Blade Runner” by Ridley Scott. Got my first job at a design studio in the 80’s because the AD loved “Blade Runner” too.
11) What do you collect? Not really a collector person but there’s a few robot and vinyl toys spread around the workspace. They didn’t get there by themselves.
12) What do you do with your free time? Tennis, poker, golf, and movies. One friend says I play all the gentleman sports.
13) What do you do when you’re stuck on an assignment? Play tennis, golf, poker, or go to the movies.
14) Favorite vacation spot? Japan. One winter, Mrs Yang and I were at the base of Fuji Mountain in an outdoor hot bath with snow falling. It was magical.
15) Who makes you laugh? Vin Diesel in any “Fast and Furious” movie. Also Ricky Gervais.
16) Name your favorite guilty pleasure. Black and White milkshake.
17) What is your most treasured possession? My dad’s runner up medal from the US Nationals badminton tournament 1978.
18) Name something that you think is overrated. “The English Patient” (movie). What an unbearable piece of crap.
19) What time of day are you most productive? Morning. Some of my best illustrations have also happened on Sunday evenings.
20) Words to live by? To succeed you have to love what you do. Otherwise, you won’t endure the BS you encounter to get where you need.
It seems every 5 years I get an itch and start playing around with my approach. I’m someone who normally makes gradual changes which is hard to notice until you see samples of work over a span of years. The changes are merely ideas my work could have taken if choosing another path. Lately layering of transparent colors have been coming into play and have already made its way into recent assignments. I never try to use one trick, it depends which approach is appropriate for the idea.
One friend who judged the Society of Illustrators show a couple of years ago said she would throw up if she saw another squid or octopus image. Naturally I decided to to an octopus image.
No wonder so many illustrators do octopus images. They are fun.
The person who created layers in Photoshop should win the Nobel Prize for something. They are great for saving alternative ideas:
Obviously trying to channel my inner Jim Flora.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. It does not have the pressure of Christmas but it has a feast with family or friends, my favorite pies and football. As a child, “BC” by John Hart was one of my favorite strips. Whenever Thanksgiving rolled around he would do a hilarious series of strips with cavemen fruitlessly chasing a turkey. This was comic gold in the Yang household. These illustrations are an homage to my favorite turkey.
My art for a group show curated by Jordin Isip and Rich Jacobs at the Park Life Gallery In San Francisco.
Growing up in the 60’s with a father who was a scientist is probably why I’m a space nut. In grade school I could tell you all the launches and astronauts. Watching “Gravity” recently brought back a lot of those memories. Alfonso Cuarón’s movie visually reminded me of Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” in 3D. This illustration was created after seeing “Gravity” and as usually happens when I work, it bears little resemblance to the movie. Sandra Bullock fans need not worry. She only has two eye in the film.
When there is time between projects I will ocassionally go into the “lab” and play around with colors and textures for future projects. Lately I’ve been wanting to play around more with characters so decided to do two pieces titled, “femmes” and “hommes”. The most important lesson learned is women really are different from men.
It’s always a pleasure to work with a client regularly so you can develop a sense of rhythm. CFA is one such client with whom I have worked with on both publications and identity. Whenever assigned smaller stories for CFA magazine, the client suggested using the same character for all stories to create a sense of continuity. It’s been a fun approach for a reoccurring column. This illustration was for an article about making plans reality. Bil Cullen, Tim Priddy, AD’s. Design firm: Communication Design.
It’s always a pleasure to work with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s magazine. They always have interesting subjects for assignments and this one hit close as an Asian American. This illustration was for an iPad edition of the magazine about the problems Asians have with being perceived as one homogeneous group. When you take a close look, you realize how varied the groups are culturally. Valerie Downs, AD.
If you like sports, this past weekend was for you. It was the first week for the NFL and the US Open Finals weekend where tennis has the good fortune of all time greats playing in the same era. This seemed perfect to share. Ohio Today Magazine asked for an illustration about the most amazing athletic feats alumni have seen. For me it is either Tiger Wood’s 6 iron on 18 from the sand 200+ yards to 12 feet at the Canadian Open or pretty much anything Nadal and Djokovic do with a racket when playing each other at a major. Sarah McDowell, AD.
It is interesting to see how kids react to the first day of school. Some dreaded it but I loved it. I was curious to see which kids would be in my class. There was always a new girl I had a crush on but would never dare to let know. The first week was exciting. It wasn’t until we had homework due the second week that school felt like school. This illustration about study was done for Scientific American Magazine for Ann Chin.
It was a pleasant surprise earlier this year when Jeff Fabian of Kinetik called with a calendar project for the National WIC Association. Every year they produce a calendar focusing on nutrition and exercise for families. Jeff and I both are VCU graduates who worked together at the start of our careers. It was nice to connect with an old friend on a project that does a lot of good.
Design firm: Kinetik, Creative Director: Jeff Fabian, Designer: Joanna NG.
I do not miss my 20’s at all. The main problem was my impatience and desire for everything to happen immediately. Fortunately, experience has taught the benefits of waiting and the rewards of taking your time. SooJin Buzelli had an article for PlanSponsor Magazine about the advantage a longer time frame for investments. Waiting is always a good lesson to relearn.
Golf Magazine is one client I put in the work-play category. I’m a golfer so it always seems like play when they call. Jennifer Corsano had a story which is near and dear to every golfer’s heart: Rules are too complicated. I’m pretty good keeping rules because most penalties are metaphors for strokes it would take to bring your ball back into play. However, I am sure there are many obscure rules I probably violate every round. Finally a publisher created a simplified version of the Rules of Golf so everyone can understand the rules without their heads exploding. We thought a sci-fi like shrinking machine would be perfect. I was happy because who doesn’t like sci-fi gadgets?
Had a very nice coincidence this week. I received an email from the previous tenant to our apartment. We had met before and were happy when he chose us to take over his lease. He was excited about being quoted for the first time in the Wall St Journal and when looking online, he found my illustration with his article. Funny thing is, I thought it was another analyst with the same name when I read the rough copy. This illustration is about ETF’s having a “true” value upon which the daily price fluctuates up and down. Sheryl Dermawan, AD
Saying goodbye to art that was part of our collection on Gathered.com, featured on DailyCandy and sold in 5 minutes.
It shouldn’t surprise me but many times art directors call with stories that echo the moment. Lately, news about the depth of government surveillance of citizens has been the big story. This piece for Colgate University is about concerns the internet learns more about you while you are plugged in. Gerry Gall, AD. I tried to approach the illustration with the idea the web builds a virtual “you” that becomes more accurate with time.
The heat wave last week will be a memorable one for New Yorkers. Reading various Twitter and Facebook posts about the heat made me first think people were exaggerating until I stepped outside. It felt like someone had dropped the city into a crock pot. Naturally this was an inspiration for a quick piece. On the bright side, there was a supply of honey melon ice pops from Koreatown to deal with the heat.
This is the time of year you receive many automatic replies from art directors saying they are on vacation. Even though days can be hot and deadlines still loom, I love how summer feels like vacation even when working. The days are still long enough to enjoy after deadlines are finished. This illustration is for Hour Detroit Magazine about having a piece of Detroit you can call your own. Cassidy Zobl, AD.
I did a piece for AARP magazine about colonoscopies and this one for Prevent Magazine about prostate screening. I think I have found my illustration niche.
One of my favorite things to draw in grade school was a factory making Easter eggs. It had conveyor belts, gears and tiny workers painting and stacking eggs. Variations of the factory would be drawn every year during the spring. When Robert Lesser from CFO magazine called for an assignment about how companies manage money flow, he asked if I liked the idea of a building showing the inner workings of how chaotic it can be to handle money. The inner grade school artist inside of me said the idea sounded brilliant.
It is always a pleasure when SooJin Buzelli calls because you know you can explore ideas for assignments and she is willing to pick unusual solutions. She had an article about advisors having to navigate an uncertain future for aiCIO. My idea focused on imagined fears when facing the unknown. This is one of my favorites done this year. I am sure it’s no coincidence since SooJin appreciates when illustrators explore.
I remember how the last year of college caused all kinds of anxiety. Most of it stemmed from knowing this would be the last time I was in a structured environment with a safety net. Ironically the first year after college was one of the funnest years in my young adult life. The Chronicle of Higher Education requested an illo about the lack of information regarding the future of doctoral graduates after school. I thought this is why it is called the future. You never know. Ellen Winkler, AD.
Good news from 3×3 late last week. Two of my pieces received awards for merit from the 3×3 ProShow. The annual will be out later this winter. Much thanks to Charles Hively and the judges for making my day.
Top: Lamps for Lamp in the Box. Designer Director, Al Quattrochi. Tornado Design, design firm.
Bottom: Acceptance of Transgender people article for Mother Jones. Tim Luddy, AD
Thanks to the jury, Charles Hivley, the art directors and clients who made these images possible.
The Chronicle of Higher Education is one of my oldest clients. They first called the summer I graduated and we have been working together ever since. This illustration commissioned by Scott Seymour is for a column about the problems Asian Pacific Islanders have being overlooked since they are grouped with other Asians as a demographic in the US. Scott suggested a shadow metaphor which seemed perfect.
Art fun yesterday at The Society of Illustrators yesterday with students from LaGuardia High School.
One of my funner gigs is the Booming Blog for the New York Times. It’s a series of stories geared to the Baby Boomer generation. It is amazing how often I relate to the columns that are assignments. Ironically I relate more to the younger generation in this column telling Boomers to stop blaming Millennials for everything. Laura Chang, Editor.
Lately a couple projects popped up that seemed perfect for playing around with transparency. One of the best things about being a creative is the chance to explore. Ironically, it’s something I need to constantly remind myself is “allowed” as an illustrator.
I did the cover art for Karl Marks slightly naughty book, We’re Here, We’re Queer, We’re Mad Libs!
Back in the early 90’s, when I was only a few years out of school I had a full time design job on Lafayette street. Once a week I would pack my scratch board, scratching nibs, brush and india ink. This was the day The Village Voice closed, and I would sometimes receive a call from Bob, Florian Bachleda or Jennifer Gillman asking me if I would like to do an illustration for that evening. When 5pm came I would walk around the corner to the Bowery and head up to the art department. They had a great Michael Bartalos mural on the wall.
There would usually be another illustrator there too, the one I remember most is Paul Corio. One of the designers would give us our stories we would then do sketches and bring them in to Bob. He would pick one and then we had two maybe three hours to do the illustration. We would bring our finished illustrations up to the paste-up floor where they had the mechanicals for the whole paper laid out on tables. It was great fun and I’d like to thank Bob for one on my favorite memories of illustration before the internet.
Many of my assignments recently have involved the brain. There seems to be rising interest in breaking it down to figure out why we react irrationally during times of stress or conflict. Turns out we can’t help ourselves and have to go against our nature to behave rationally in various situations. Illustration for Tim Priddy for CFA magazine for a story about breaking down the investor brain.
As a child the family was watching a MASH episode which featured a traditional Korean wedding. One character was reverently describing the service when Mom and Dad started cracking up. Finally Dad said, “I don’t recognize any of this.” Thus continued another misunderstanding about Asians in America. When Valerie Downs, the AD for Teaching Tolerance Magazine asked for a special illustration about Asian Americans as the invisible Americans, I jumped at the chance.
Few years ago I went to a Korean wedding. It was nothing like MASH.
Full page illustration for The Pennsylvania Gazette.
Who knew that a magazine for financial planners would be one of most fun for creating ideas? This is what AD SooJin Buzelli has created at PlanSponsor magazine. One thing you do not have to do when working for her is limit yourself to ideas for an assignment. This illustration is for an article about recruiting new talent.
I died and went to illustration heaven.
Morningstar Advisor Magazine is a favorite client for many illustrators. When you are hired, they are using you to be the look for the issue. You are assigned a cover, spread and 4 sections in the magazine, usually with a theme tying the issue together. Risk was the major theme which should be in any illustrator’s wheelhouse because risk is really about fear that may or may not be controllable. Alex Skoirchet, AD.
Part of a series for Morningstar Advisor about looking for opportunities in uncertain times. With news this week that gold investors were panicking upon learning the price of gold can move violently down, some investors are wondering if the baby had been thrown out with the bathwater. I don’t know, but this was a fun piece about finding hidden value. Alex Skoirchet, AD.
It is always fun when Morningstar Advisor calls for an assignment. They commission several articles including the cover on a theme so you have a chance to develop a series of illustrations. Alex Skoirchet called for the April May issue for a series dedicated to uncertainty in the market. The first illustration is about worries about unknown risks that can shock the market known as “Black Swans”. The second is about searching for consumer staples investments during a time of worry. Since I’m a bit of an econ geek, this was right up my alley.
Wine is one subject I wished I knew more about. My vocabulary for describing wine is simply “like” or “not like” to describe the experience. When Fred Norgaard requested an illustration for the New York Times dining section about the labels we use to describe wines, it was much appreciated.
A few weeks ago friends and I were talking about the market. It seemed to keep going up and up. One friend said it should keep rising because all the big worries have passed. I said you never know. Last week Cyprus happened. Even though Cyprus has been “solved”, something is always around the corner. Illustration for the Wall St Journal about uncertain markets. Dan Smith, AD.
“Booming” is an online section of the New York Times which features stories for the Baby Boomer generation. As a regular contributor it is becoming clear I must be a boomer because many of the assignments resonate with me. This was for a column complaining about the overly loud music in restaurants. They are preaching to the choir. Laura Chang, AD.
The minibus system in Hong Kong never ceases to amaze me. They fill the gaps of the transit system to an almost granular level for less than a dollar. The ride can be harrowing but did I mention it is less than a dollar? Illustration for Investment News Magazine about abandoning the cookie cutter approach to serving clients. David Stokes, AD.
I’m off to Hong Kong this week for my yearly visit and as always, bringing the trusty laptop for work. My wife’s mom has a space in the apartment for work whenever I visit. It’s a nice way to recharge while having a different routine. Illustration for Wall St. Journal about business travelers needing to use economy instead of business class services amid orders to cut expenses. Dan Smith, AD.
Great news from Communication Arts magazine. An illustration for Mother Jones magazine about the acceptance of transgender people was chosen for the 2013 Illustration annual. Tim Priddy, AD
I was not the only Yang accepted into the competition. My wife, Abby Chan, is a choreographer and performer who commissioned illustrator Melinda Beck for her production, Kidult Ophelia, which will open in Hong Kong February 28. Melinda’s poster was also accepted into the competition. Much thanks to CA Magazine.
It is nice when work and play become one. As an avid golfer, it’s always a pleasure when Golf World’s Tim Carr calls for an assignment. We’ve worked with each other at various magazines and have played rounds together. The newest assignment discusses golf considering two sets of rules for professional and recreational golfers. Since Tim is a better golfer than me, this sounds like an excellent idea.
It is amazing how completely people have adapted to smartphones. You cannot escape friends who are constantly checking their phones and so absorbed they miss everything happening around them. The most painful thing is I am one of those people. Illustration for New York Times Booming column about the annoyance of friends tied to their smartphones. Laura Chang, Editor.
Jodi Foster’s acceptance speech at the Golden Globes was fascinating. It was heartfelt, rambling, sometimes funny, sometimes angry. I was surprised when she more or less came out. I thought she had already come out years ago. What I did appreciate was her resentment at a pop culture that feels celebrities are obligated to divulge personal lives. Illustration for Mother Jones Magazine about acceptance for transgender people. Tim Luddy, AD.
We live in a plugged in society. The Yang studio has a desktop computer, iPad, laptop, iPhones and various iPods. All this for just one person. Perhaps the pendulum needs to swing the other way. Illustration for the Chronicle of Higher Education about teaching beyond the digital age. Scott Seymour, AD.
Animation for the Korean Economic Institute introducing a conference in Washington DC which will encourage Korean Americans to reach out and help others on a global scale. Mihae Kim: Art Director, Mindy Schrader Kim: Writer, Insoo Yoon: Animator
As a child I remember watching documentary about the human brain. In the final scene, a subject had wires coming from his head connected to a toy train set. He was able to control the train with his brain. Illustration for Scientific America for David Pogue’s column about the brain as a remote control for future devices. Ann Chin, AD.
One of my obsessions when Mrs. Yang is away on one of her many projects is organizing the house when she’s gone. I’m always fascinated with how fellow illustrators create their workspace and look for ideas to steal. This illustration was done for SooJin Buzelli for PlanSponsor magazine about organizing your financial house.
Post mortems are always fascinating. The big idea after the most recent election was demographics and the mathematical problems one party might have in the future if they keep on their current path. This illustration for the Chronicle of Higher Education was about the isolation first generation students feel on campus. Ellen Winkler, AD
The Booming section of the New York Times speaks to me in more ways than is comfortable. Once I pulled a rib muscle taking a nap. My life has come to the point where stretching properly before sleep is necessary. Illustration about the Boomer generation obsessing over aches and pains. Laura Chang, Editor.
Airlines are on my mind as our flight back to JFK has been cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy. We were originally arriving today but looks like we won’t be back until Friday. Fortunately we’re staying with fellow illustrators and photographers so we are sharing studios until New York clears up. Illustration for Time Magazine about the push by airlines to use biofuel. Nai Lee Lum, AD.
The biggest change in the stock market the last few years is how computers now overwhelm human investors. They are programmed to exploit human weakness. Many investors realized they were hopelessly outgunned and left the market for good. In a bit of irony, many computer run firms are closing down because machines are now programmed to exploit other machines. Illustration for DBusiness magazine about quants. Megan DeKok, AD.
With numerous stories about bullying appearing in the news recently it was inevitable a bullying article would come across my desk as a project. This story is a little different as it talks about some extreme cases to stop bullying turning into cases of institutions bullying students. Illustration for Liberty Magazine. Bryan Gray, AD
All these years I thought Generation X was my generation. The defining years for baby boomers when I grew up ended in 1959. Turns out the definition changed to 1964 even though I suspect this definition was changed so Boomers could claim Obama as one of their own. I learned this because the New York Times has asked me to be a regular contributing illustrator for Booming, a special online section of the Times for Baby Boomers. Fred Norgaard, AD.
My last few projects suggest why Romney has been criticized for reluctance to show tax returns. He may be the victim of bad timing. There is a movement towards more transparency in companies and organizations. The trend seems to be the more open, the better. Illustration for the Wall Street Journal about transparency in executive pay. Dan Smith, AD.
Some things never mix. Orange juice after brushing your teeth comes to my mind. It seems the goals of government and business are always in conflict with the pendulum swinging from one side to another. This two part illustration for The Milkin Institute discusses the inability of government and businesses to work together. Joannah Ralston, AD.
When I was a child, tests were often graded on the curve which meant the highest score in class became the benchmark. If you were the one who scored perfectly on the test, you got grief from other classmates for setting the bar so high. Seems like this dynamic also plays out at the national level. Illustration for a Michael Grunwald column in Time about administrators who did an excellent job and were forced to resign. The Japanese metaphor for the nail that stands out gets hammered came to mind. Nai Lee Lum, AD.
It’s nice to know Americans are not the only ones confused by the variety of investment options for retirement planning. The Swiss also have many choices to make and it was interesting how their options differ from the US. Cover and series for SonntagsZeitung (Zurich) for a special edition about investing for retirement. Suzanne Borchert, AD
It can be overwhelming with new products and ideas flooding us each day. Kickstarter makes it even more intense with endless people asking for seed money from the public. I’m always curious about what works and doesn’t work on Kickstarter. The Wall St Journal has a fascinating list of good and bad Kickstarter projects. Christian Drury, AD
The ironic thing about the corporations are people debate is this how I approach many of my projects. It is easier to imagine companies as a character to communicate ideas. This illustration for PlanSponsor Magazine played on a very human reaction of waiting until the last minute. The article is how companies were scrambling to meet deadlines for Obamacare regulations in 2013. Many companies were in a holding pattern until the Supreme Court upheld the law. SooJin Buzelli, AD.
The London Olympics are on day and night at the Yang household. It has been fun glancing at the live stream while working on deadlines. Joel Cadman from the Wall Street Journal called with a timely article. Galleries in New York City are expanding in a big way into London. In the sketch I referred to clock tower as Big Ben. Joel explained the name has been changed to Elizabeth Tower. My sincere apologies to the Queen.
One the best things about illustration is working on projects that remind you of your childhood. Time was THE magazine to read growing up in the US in the 60’s and 70’s. It was a staple in the Yang household and my favorite part was looking at the art on the back page essay section. Time is one of the reasons I wanted to be an artist as a child. It was a pleasant surprise when Nai Lee Lum called. Illustration for Time Magazine about smart power grids becoming more adept at pinpointing problems.
Illustrator/Educator Scott Bakal has curated Pixelated, the Art of Digital Illustration which is being held at the New Britain Museum of American Art from July 21st to December 9th. If you are in New Britain Connecticut, please check it out. An impressive list of illustrators are featured and I am happy to be included in the show. Video kiosks will also show animations and videos by the artists. To learn more about the exhibit please visit Scott’s blog.
It is difficult to keep track of all the financial scandals that keep piling up. First the London Whale and before you know it the Libor scandal. As if this isn’t enough to absorb, news of problems brewing with Chinese banks are similar to what made US and European banks blow up. Illustration for the Wall St Journal about the US and world debating about accounting standards. Dan Smith, AD.
Les will be my part of the group show Permanent Collection opening this Thursday in Chelsea.
It is amazing the amount of junk mail received with offers of riches from African royalty and penny stocks that will make you rich. I’m still in disbelief about the famous psychologist who gave 1.3 million to a Nigerian scam. While these scams seem obvious, criminals are getting more clever at separating you from your money. Illustration series for the Saturday Evening Post about modern twists to old cons. Brian Sanchez, AD.
July 4th week seems the perfect time to share this poster designed with Joanne Zamore. This was created for AIGA’s Get Out the Vote program to encourage the public to participate in elections this fall. Joanne has a special place in my heart because we both started out in Washington DC in the early 80’s and got our big break with designer Beth Singer creating a poster for the Hiroshima Museum of Art. The poster later won a national award which helped both of our careers. It was nice to create another poster with Joanne.
The 11×17 poster is free for download.
Director/Animator Dave Redl and I are at it again working on a new short animation. A six year old will explain the science of submarines and jets. Here is an early preview of the art with a sketch and frame. Don’t want to give too much away but let me say there is a lot about subs and jets I didn’t know until explained by a child.
This year I taught a course in professional practices at Parsons for a semester. Some of the staff was on sabbatical so it was a chance to change up the routine. I highly recommend teaching a course if the opportunity arises. Your creative juices get flowing figuring out how to connect with different personalities. After the semester the two nicest compliments from students were 1) I told them what they really needed to know and 2) My wisecracking ways made the boring stuff tolerable. Illustration for The Magazine Group about increasing the number of college level graduates in the United States. Jeff Kibler, AD. The blue version was originally red but changed because the magazine had too much red in the issue.
One of my favorite memories as a child is going to drive-in movies with the family and eating a hamburger in the back seat while cartoons played before the main feature. The best clip was snack items with faces, legs and arms strutting across the screen while singing “Let’s all go to the movies”. Who knew this would be a such a big influence later in life? Illustration for Berkeley Law Journal about new rules giving financial incentives for builders to make energy efficient offices and residences. Arno Ghelfi, AD.
A director and I have been thinking about doing an instructional animation with the zeitgeist of animation from the 50’s and 60’s. By coincidence, Dan Smith from the Wall Street Journal called for an illustration about inventories predicting the health of the economy. It was a perfect chance to solve one problem while trying to get a feel for another.
One of the best things about New York City is you can experience many different cultures, classes and viewpoints without the jet lag. Nothing gives you a broader view of the world than contact with others from outside your circle. Illustration for Investment News Magazine about diversity in the workplace. David Stokes, AD
There are loyal clients and there are LOYAL clients. The Chronicle of Higher Education is one of the first publications to hire me in 1984 and we have consistently worked together ever since. Illustration about the reluctance of trustees to open their investing strategy to outside review. Ellen Winkler, AD
It is amazing how many reputations have been tarnished with the “what was he/she thinking” tweet that has to be taken back after many apologies. Illustration for American Federation of Teachers teaching students to take five seconds before they tweet or post so they don’t have to suffer the fate of unfortunate celebrities. Michelle Furman, AD
Don’t be evil seems like a simple goal. Apparently it becomes harder when you’re a tech company and your goal is world domination. Art Director Minh Uong threw out the idea a robot could be a great metaphor for the story. Being asked to illustrate a robot bent on world domination is one of the reasons why illustration is such a great job. Illustration for the Sunday Business Times. Minh Uong, AD.
Sheryl Dermawan, AD at the Wall St Journal called and mentioned my different characters and asked how I chose characters. I told her the idea dictates the character. She said she loved my circle and squared headed guys and had a story about IT and non IT people being unable to communicate with each other. It was perfect for the heads she wanted.
The latest episode of This American Life with a retraction of the Mike Daisy Foxconn story was captivating radio as Ira Glass and Rob Schmitz confront Daisy about the facts. Ironically, it was more compelling than the original story. Illustration for Investment News Magazine about holding to a higher ethical standard. David Stokes, AD.
Streamlining is the theme this year at the Yang household after spending a month in Hong Kong. Living in a smaller space makes you realize life is cluttered with stuff you don’t need and there are smarter ways to do things. Illustration for the Wall St Journal about companies finding the appeal of making smaller deals over larger deals. Dan Smith, AD
Almost a decade ago a Moose and his little friend Zee came over for a play date. I made them costumes, built them a log cabin, and invented friends for them to play with. We celebrated birthdays and holidays and went on trips together. Now it is time to say good by. It was fun, thanks guys!
Basketball fever has hit New York with the Knicks finally being watchable thanks to a Chinese-American Harvard educated point guard and the team buying into the pass- first ethic. Promo illustrations for Zanimation about the NCAA basketball tournament known as March Madness. For once, New York has basketball fever too.
Funny how life works. Late last year illustrator extraordinaire Hanuka Tomer and I were catching up at an opening. Hanuka is a former student of mine and was chastising me for not teaching the last few years. This left me with pangs of guilt. Couple of weeks later, Parsons School of Design calls and ask if I would be interested in teaching a course. How do you say no to karma? School starts next week.
Illustration for Commonweath Magazine about the increasing costs of a college education. Heather Hartshorn, AD
My limited edition silk screen poster is now for sale online at the Spur Store. At only $24 it makes a nice stocking stuffer.
One nice thing about the future is taking work with you has never been easier. With more powerful laptops, higher res screens, cheap storage, smartphones and Skype, there is no excuse to not change the view from the studio now and then. I’m taking advantage of this by working out of Hong Kong for December.
It’s good to be an illustrator.
A spread from Caroline Hwang’s Communal Table cookbook.
Illustrators Unlimited by Gestalten in Berlin is a collection of contemporary illustration from around the world. They were kind enough to include my work in this anthology. There are many excellent illustrators included and you get a feel for trends happening today. If you would like to purchase Illustrators Unlimited, please visit here.
I just finished my first two pieces for a show at the Spur gallery in Baltimore. I think things are off to a good start.
Illustrations for Bostonia Magazine, an alumni magazine for Boston University. Top illustration is about a study that found female soldiers have the same stress levels as their male counterparts in combat. Bottom illustration is an article about the effects of prescription drugs during pregnancy. Ronn Campisi, AD.
One running joke with friends is “Terminator” is coming true before our very eyes and why am I the only one who remembers it is really bad for humans? Robot trading today makes up 70 percent of the volume on the stock market. One trader theorized trading bots are programmed to find the maximum pain point for humans to exploit weakness. Where is Sarah Connor when you need her? Illustration about trading robots for Dbusiness Magazine, RJ King, AD.
Illustration for UTNE reader about the Nuclear Industry distributing material to school children about the benefits of nuclear energy. Stephanie Glaros, AD.
To give you an idea what the art director receives at the sketch stage, here are the sketches for the article. Whenever you get a blurb like, “Nuclear industry tries to convince children nuclear energy is cool.”, you know it is going to be a fun day of sketching.
It’s a good day at work when I say “I would like to do something a little Louise Nevelson meets Franz Kline” and the client says “sure”
Illustration for aiCIOSU11, an online magazine for institutional investors. The article is about managers deciding whether to hire an advisor or go it alone in a dangerous investing environment. This magazine is part of an emerging trend of magazines that are viewable through the web or devices. Soojin Buzelli, AD.
I could not help but admire all of the pretty type at opening of the Parson Illustration Senior Show
which I had the pleasure of judging a few months back.
Pretty type by: Alexander Iezzi , Leslie V. Robertson and Hazel Santino.
The show was organized and installed by Jordin Isip and Taylor Mckimens
It is always fun to work with clients whose work you admire. Visitors to the Yang home know I am a big fan of Herman Miller furniture. Direct mail campaign for Herman Miller from 1993. Michael Barile, Yang Kim, AD. For full credits, please visit the AIGA Design Archives
Series of illustrations for Scientific American Magazine for a fascinating article about intelligence and lifespan. Patti Nemoto, AD. Higher intelligence translates into a longer life because of choices and circumstances. My favorite statistic was about physical altercations. The lower your intelligence, the more altercations you are likely to have. Higher intelligence people have an average of zero altercations per lifetime. The concept was inspired by the “Goofus and Gallant” cartoons from Highlight Magazine.
Illustration for the New York Times Sunday Business Section for an article titled “When There is No Such Thing as Too Much Information”. Fred Norgaard, AD.
It took longer than expected but from where I sit, demand for illustration for the web and various devices is starting to rise with budgets in line with budgets for print. Projects for web versions of magazines have become more frequent in the last few months. A request to adapt work for print and the iPad with limited animation came last week. Illustrators were nervous about the future in a post print world. It is looking brighter.
Every Designer and Illustrator has one and here is a little look at some of the Items I have
picked up in used bookstores and junk shops worldwide and some items even saved from the trash.
Illustration for the New York Times Sunday Business section for an article about the Web making a comeback. Fred Noraard, AD. The idea for the airship came after seeing a clip from the movie, “Sucker Punch”. Critics have called “Sucker Punch” the worst movie of the year. At least the airships were nice.
Ming Pao Weekly, the major entertainment magazine in Hong Kong, did a brief interview about my favorite object. Below is the rough interview in English before it was translated into Cantonese. Reporter: Dawn Dawn Dawn.
1. How you find this object? Suggested by friends? From a mag or what?
Fifteen years ago a friend of mine dragged me kicking and screaming to play golf. After the first lucky hit, I was hooked. Since then, golf has been a passion.
Golfers learn the best players use Mizuno or Titleist clubs. It is almost like two religions because players are passionate about both clubs. As my game got better, I tried both clubs. The Titleist for me seemed harsh when you hit the ball but the Mizunos were special. In golfer terms, they feel like butter. Mizuno is a Japanese company and they are famous for making beautiful clubs that are amazing to hit.
2. How long you have had it?
I’ve owned Mizunos for about nine years. I had an earlier mid-level set of Mizunos for 4 years and my current set, the MP-60’s for 5 years.
3. In what way the object improves your life? Why it is important to you?
The MP-60’s remind me it is possible to create something that is both beautiful and functional at a high level. That is always a good lesson for an artist.
They are not beginners club. You have to have good technique. I can be lazy with technique, so these clubs are good at keeping me in form.
4. It seems you are a great golf player. How this set of irons(or it is a specific model of iron?) is different from other brands?
Thank you. I am not a good player because of my brain. My swing is okay, but I really need Mizuno to create a psychologist for my golf head.
The MP-60’s are amazing because they are very easy to hit for this level of club. Usually only pros could handle this kind of club, but many good golfers can play the MP-60’s. They have this technology called “cut muscle” that made the MP-60’s easier to hit and beautiful.
The trend the last few years has been to make more clubs for beginner players. Many brands use new technology to improve performance of clubs but they mold different materials together that make them ugly. They are a reminder what happens when only engineers create things.
Mizuno (and Titleist) both go against this trend by creating clubs for better players. Mizuno does a really nice job of deciding what is the necessary technology to adapt but not at the expense of performance or aesthetics.
5. Is there any interesting story or memorable moments between you and the iron?
I was playing in a charity tournament with friends the first time I used the MP-60’s on a golf course. I had a 9 iron about 130 yards from the hole. My bad habit is to swing too fast but I was nervous so I put an easy swing on it. The club made this beautiful sound and the ball ended up very close to the hole.
6. How special the design is?
The MP-60’s are beautiful. They are the Brancusi of golf clubs. They are also the perfect blend of form and function. The feel is so subtle, you can tell exactly how you hit the ball, almost like the club is part of your arm. The accuracy of the clubs is amazing.
Jose Maria Olazabal, a famous Spanish golfer once said he used Japanese clubs because the Japanese treat everything as art. He is right.
7. Normally how would you choose our iron? What are the criteria? How it fits your requirement? And what the special feeling the iron gave you?
This part is very simple. You choose the best looking club to your eye that is comfortable for you to hit. Everybody has their aesthetics. There was an interesting study that found golfers hit the ball better if they like the look of their club.
When you hit the MP-60’s and you hit it in the sweet spot, the feeling is very addictive. The only way I can describe it is perfect.
8. How long have you been playing golf? Did you won any prize? Or it is more like an interest for you?
I have been playing for 15 years. My friends and I once won a charity tournament, but I just play for fun. The challenge of getting better at something that is very hard is also appealing.
9. Is there anything related to your illustrator life? (not sure, just an open question. It could be no)
Golf is a great game for a couple of reasons. First, it is a nice obsession to have outside of work. Being obsessed with just work is unhealthy. Second, golf is a creative game. You have to use your imagination to “see” how to play the ball and the landscape. The better you get, the more creative you can be by making the ball do different things. Many of my colleagues and collaborators play so it is nice to relax and play together.
10. What does a ugly iron look like? Like having shape outlines?
An ugly club iron looks like a fat transformer. They hit the ball in the air, but there is no feeling to the clubs. You have no idea where the hell the ball is going or if you have a flaw in your swing.
Came across this while archiving work. 2006 Poster for “Lost and Found”, a performance about adopted girls from China. Choreographer, Abby Chan.
Animated greeting card for Moye White LLP. Tyson Dewey, AD and animator.
Good news from the Society of Illustrators. Two pieces were accepted for the annual Society of Illustrators 53 Show. The book will be published next year and the opening for Institutional and Advertising art will be held at the Society of Illustrators in New York City on February 23, 2011. Much thanks to the Society of Illustrators.
Poster for direct mail/promotion. Client: A/I Data. Design Firm: Splice Design. AD- Ken Karlic
Calendar Illustration. Client: Society of Newspaper Designers. Design Firm: Cheese+Pickles Design Studio. AD: Deborah Withey
Illustration for Wall St Journal about the best iPhone apps for traveling on the road. Kayla Reynolds, AD
Illustration for Duke Magazine about Duke collaboration in research and education with Chinese Universities. Lisa Chaylack, AD
2010 Holiday Card for Moye White (Denver, Colorado). There will also be an animated piece for clients. Tyson Dewey, AD
Illustration for the New York Times Sunday Business Section about innovation in a for profit versus open source system. Fred Norgaard, AD.
Illustration for Consumer Reports Magazine about pushy salesmen. Lisa Slater, AD
Illustration for The Chronicle of Higher Education about teacher’s compensation. Scott Seymour, AD. The scale is an overused symbol, so it’s fun to find a solution to make it seem new.
Every year I take my studio to Hong Kong for a month. One of the great things about being an illustrator is the opportunity to work with a different view out your window. This cover for Duke University’s Alumni Magazine is for a series of articles about Duke collaborating globally. Lacey Chylack, AD.
Today is Ryder Cup Monday where the Euros narrowly defeated the US in Wales. Illustration for Golf World Magazine about the UK taxing US players. Tim Carr, AD
Cover Illustration for Christian Century Magazine suggesting that Christians do banking with Banks that exhibit ethical behavior. Dan Richardson, AD
Cover and Feature illustration for PlanSponsor magazine about personality tests. Soojin Buzelli, AD.
I am part of a exhibit titled, “Where is My Vote? Posters for the Green Movement in Iran.” Posters have been created by some of the best known designers and illustrators working today. The School of Visual Arts is sponsoring the exhibit curated by Anita Kunz, Woody Pirtle and Francis Di Tommaso.
The exhibit runs from August 30-September 25, 2010 at the Visual Arts Gallery, 601 West 26th Street, 15th Floor New York. There is a reception on Thursday , September 16 from 6-8pm
For more about the exhibit, please visit here.
Steven Heller on “Where is My Vote?”
Illustration for Investment News about the unstable financial system in the United States. David Stokes, AD. This summer I read “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis. It is must read if you want to know what really happens inside Wall Street. “The Big Short” made it very easy to come up with an idea.
Illustration for the Wall Street Journal about the iPad being an object of desire for business. Daniel Smith, AD.
Image for a poster/fold out mailer for A/I Data, a company that researches underground structures. Splice Design Group, Client. Ken Karlic, AD. Two color choices were presented to the client. The brown scheme was chosen.
Illustration series for Newsweek article by Daniel Gross about the economy having to take care of itself after government stimulus ends. Haiyen Chin, AD.
I put my cuteness hat on while creating illustrations and hand lettering for the Chicco baby clothing and accessory catalogue.
Illustration for a fascinating article about a movement of scientists to merge man and technology into one singular being. This was an unusual situation where I was commissioned but the editor thought another artist was completing the assignment so this did not run. Ironically, this turned out to be one of my favorite illustrations this year.
Lampshade design for a series of lamps to be produced and sold by Tornado Design (LA). Daniel Cytrynowicz, Principal
Poster for an exhibit titled, ‘Where is My Vote: Posters for the Green Movement in Iran.’ The exhibit will be held this September at the School of Visual Arts Gallery. Curated by Steven Heller, Anita Kunz, Woody Pirtle and Francis Di Tommaso. This project is the culmination of an effort by Iranian artist Green Bird.
While my work is digital these days, I was more than happy to break out the brushes for Spur Design and a good cause.
(via Spur Design Blog)
In previous years, we used the large lobby space of our studio as a gallery to showcase some great illustrators and designers: Hatch Show Print, Charles Burns, Luba Lukova, Paul Sahre and Dan Gregory Dan Yaccarino, and Steve Brodner to name a few. The gallery shows came to an abrupt halt after the birth of our 2nd and 3rd children. Twins. Dave handled the final gallery opening (Steve Brodner) less than 24 hours after the twins were born (a bit ahead of schedule). We had our hands full, and the gallery shows stopped.
At a recent production meeting Dave brought up an idea he had been kicking around to re-launch the gallery: invite 100 illustrators to donate work, a simple drawing of a head, to help with the recent Haiti disaster. Each head will be sold for $100. Our goal for the event: $10,000 forÂ Doctors Without Borders. A limited edition poster showcasing the entire collection of heads will be available as well.
So for the last few weeks drawings, collages, and paintings have been pouring in. The illustration community’s response has been overwhelming and we are thrilled to be hosting this event. Mark your calendars for the opening April 10th, 2010 from 6-8:30pm. For complete details visit the 100 Heads for Haiti page and see the list of participating artists. Hope to see you there! Oh, the twins are now 5. And we still have our hands very full.
100 Heads for Haiti
Saturday April 10, 2010 6-8:30pm
Spur Gallery, 3504 Ash Street, Baltimore, MD 21211
Mural design for Highcliff Towers playroom. Axis of Spin Architecture (Hong Kong), Corrin Chan, Architect/AD
Computerworld Magazine. “What Google Knows About You”. April Montgomery, AD
Illustration about bloggers vs journalists. American Journalism Review. Maria Paul, Chris Paul, AD. Sese-Paul Design, Design Firm.
Illustration for article about 10 mistakes. PlanSponsor Magazine. Soojin Buzelli, AD.
M&C Magazine about new concepts for workshops. Mitch Shostak, AD. Shostak Studios, Design Firm.
Illustration for Harvard School of Education’s magazine. The article is about what motivates teachers to teach.
Here is a recent interview with “The Front Seat” for Taxi Design.
Illustration Series for Avant Immunotherapeutics Annual Report.
Cover for 3×3’s Illustration Directory 2010. Charles Hively, Publisher and Design Director. This illustration was originally done for Soojin Buzelli for Plansponsor Magazine.
This was a design for Metro bus system in Washington DC commissioned by the German Embassy in 2004. This was during the height of the Iraq War and the German Embassy wanted an image to communicate friendship between the United States and Germany.
Agency: Powell Tate Weber Shandwick Creative Director: Amy Leonardi
Illustration in the New York Times Dining and Wine section about distillers using cold temperatures to create new flavors.
Good news from the Society of Illustrators. Three entries were accepted into the Illustrators 52 Annual and Exhibition. The Editorial gala will be held at the Society of Illustrators on February 5th, 2010 and the Institutional Gala will be held on March 5th, 2010.
(Institutional) Fold out poster for Directory of Illustration mailer titled, “Get Big”. David Plunkert, AD
(Editorial) Illustration for PlanSponsor Magazine originally titled, “It’s 10:00pm. Do You Know Where Your Advisor Is?” Soojin Buzelli, AD
(Institutional) Space themed illustration for children’s coin bank. Galison/Mudpuppy Design, Client. Cynthia Matthews, AD
Posters for Parsons School of Design, 2002-2003. These posters appeared at various subway stops and bus kiosks in New York City. Evelyn Kim, Art Director. Yong-Rheum Soon, Graphic Designer. Copywriter, Velma Choi. subway stops and bus kiosks in New York City. Evelyn Kim, Art Director. Yong-Rheum Soon, Graphic Designer. Copywriter, Velma Choi.
“Three Bunnies with Apologies to the Three Graces”, lampshade design for “Enlighten”. Tornado Design (LA). Al Quattrocchi, Jeff Smith, AD
(via the Daily Heller)
Enlighten! is an exhibition and sale in Los Angeles on November 21 featuring over 85 limited edition artist and designer’s lampshades to benefit inner city arts education. They provide quite a turn on. . .
To read the original post, click here.
Sculpture designed for the Smithsonian Museum of American History. I provided an illustration and the Smithsonian created the sculpture. ‘Clockman’ was created for the “On Time” Exhibit and is part of the museum’s permanent collection. When they first called, they mentioned the sculpture would be part of a temporary exhibit. I asked how temporary.
They said 25 years.
Animated Website for Moye White LLP. The client is a firm in Denver,Colorado specializing in commercial law. This is part of a campaign including advertising and collateral.
This was a cover and fold-out for the Directory of Illustration 2009. Dave Plunkert of Spur Design is the designer. When I first turned it in, it had a more complex background. Dave liked the art, but I asked if there was anything he would change.
He said no. I asked again if he was sure. After working with the type, he suggested a black background. David is a very smart guy.
p.s. This is the first post on Planet Yang. Hopefully this will be the first of many.