This is the photo I took for one of my most recent projects (a book cover). I got the brief, and new exactly where I needed to photograph. The book is full of things like grittiness, bleakness, urban exploration, raw emotion, and Catholicism. A derelict cathedral seemed pretty perfect. Even so, I had the idea to get a more grandiose shot of the boarded-up front doors or one of the bell towers and its rotting roof. But then around back, there was an outbuilding. the stone cladding was falling off the brick structure underneath, and the Gothic windows were neatly and completely boarded up. The whole place was remarkably free of crappy graffiti. So I took the picture with my stupid ancient dSLR.
Out of all the shots I took, this was it. I knew it, and the author knew it. It was What The Story Looked Like. I like that Chip Kidd mantra, that book covers are about showing what the story looks like, and it’s a good mantra to follow in all design, because it’s pretty much what design, especially graphic design, is about. And this, in a nutshell, is what Where I End and You Begin looks like.
So I’ve been doing a lot of book cover commissions for self-published authors lately. The whole self-publishing world’s on fire, so I’m jumping on the bandwagon doing both custom cover commissions and pre-made covers. The pre-made model is interesting because while you’re essentially doing spec work, you’re doing it for yourself, not some scummy logo contest or something, and there’s always the possibility of selling a cover at some point down the road. And the thing is, self-publishers don’t always have money to drop on a custom cover design, so a pre-made cover is a nice middle ground between commissioning a designer and doing it themselves (where results can range from adequate to disastrous). Each cover is unique and it’ll only get sold once, but I can sell it cheaply because I save a lot of time not working to specific requirements or conversing with the client or doing revisions. We’ll see how it goes. Hope it works out, because book covers are a ton of fun to do.
I was contacted a few months back by a design firm specializing in book covers about the use of an old digital painting I’d posted online for a book cover. Since the original wasn’t nearly good enough resolution for print, I worked with the firm and produced a much better quality replica. There were other changes as well, like beams of light filtering into the cave, a bluer hue, and the addition of butterflies, who are characters in the book.
And for comparison, here’s the original painting, which I made in August of 2009, shortly after I got my tablet. I think it’s one of the first complete digital paintings I did. Having a couple extra years of practice definitely helped. Other helpful factors were a better set of digital brushes and a newer version of Photoshop with improved workflow for digital painting.
Just updated the site. It’s looking pretty blank right now, but it’ll be pretty cool once all the content is configured.
I also played around with some responsive design in this theme. I tossed my (admittedly ancient) go-to theme starter that I’d hacked together over the years, and picked up and adapted Automattic’s _s theme, which provides great foundation code for responsive styling. I learn a lot from building on (and breaking) existing code, so building this theme to be responsive using some updating CSS techniques and playing with jQuery was an excellent learning experience.
As for the styling, I change my mind a lot. I set this new theme up to be a better portfolio theme overall, so for future revisions, I can just overhaul the stylesheet, rather than starting from scratch on a new theme every time I get bored of the design. I”m always looking back and trying to improve things, whether it be the design or the underlying code.
I recently completed an album art commission for Ryan Iyengar. These things were fun to work on. A new project page is upcoming. Hopefully along with a site design update.
I’ve been getting myself up to snuff in animal anatomy, especially dynamic poses. Much of my drawing lately has been technical and logo design, so properly drawn animals have fallen by the wayside, so I just wanted to post a small sample of what I’m practicing. This blog isn’t about me posting polished pieces that I’ve fretted over for ages, it’s about what and how I draw and things that interest and inspire me.
Now I just need to draw a million of these a day.
Quick gesture drawings of horses