Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Oliver Twist Illustrations

Here's the artwork for Oliver Twist. Since the source material comes from Charles Dickens, I had to edit the story a lot to fit it into the 12 page panorama. It was interesting working on Oliver. If you look at the original illustrator's work for Oliver's first publication, you'll find very animated caricatures. As time progressed, the other illustrators that worked on the same story moved towards more realism. In the process, the artwork became more stale, stilted, unemotive. It tended to just be people standing in a rooms. I'll confess, I have a number of people standing in scenes, but I tried to portray it in a manner that reflects the original illustrations' cartoon roots.

Treasure Island Illustrations

My second illustrated classic project is Treasure Island. Treasure Island has many iconic, atmospheric, and downright creepy scenes to it. It's an illustrator's paradise of visual ideas. My initial plan was to emphasize just how haunting the tale was, but I chose in the end to do a more light hearted version. As much as I wanted to illustrate cartoon mayhem, I avoided some of the more memorable moments of the story...such as the classic "I'll blow your brains out" moment that transpired between Jim and the treacherous first mate. Doing the artwork as a panorama also limited some of my illustration choices. In the end, I'm content with the finished product. There's an equal number of action scenes and static so it's not too intense and not too boring either.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Alice Through the Looking Glass Illustrations

I'm really excited about what I've been working on for the last few months. I've taken three classics of Victorian literature and condensed their story lines into a 12 page panorama. The artwork is heavily influenced by medieval paintings, the English illustrators from the British Golden Age of Illustration, and several cartoon network television shows that I've watched over the last year.

I've puzzled over why so many Victorian stories are illustrated in a realistic fashion. When they were originally linked with book illustration, many of them were done by cartoonists. I really want to see a return to their cartoonist origins. I want people to see that cartoons can be used to portray more serious subject matter and tales. Alice Through the Looking Glass lends itself perfectly to a cartoonist revision. For some reason, the story has been rarely illustrated. Alice In Wonderland has been illustrated hundreds of times, but the sequel has been largely neglected. I've moved slightly away from a perfect literal iteration of the story. I've made a few interpretations and slight changes to the story's visuals. By limiting myself to a twelve page panorama, I was unable to include all the characters. I chose to portray the ones that left the greatest impression on me upon reading the book.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Alice in Wonderland, Oliver Twist, and Treasure Island Artwork Featured on Behance

I've posted some of the primordial artwork associated with my thesis on the Behance Network. I received an email today that my submission is now one of the featured illustrators on Behance's new illustration webpage. Thanks Behance! Maybe once I post my final thesis work, I'll be featured again. Fingers crossed.

Awesome Artist Joe McFaddin

During my recent trip to The Highlands, NC, I accidentally wondered into an art gallery that was closed for business. I was walking down the sidewalk and a delightfully whimsical painting caught my eye. A lady carrying a large canvas was in the process of entering the gallery, so I held the door for her and followed after her. I wandered through the gallery, artistic drool dripping from my lips. I absolutely had to find out who painted the artwork in the window. I wondered through a few rooms eyeballing the walls until I realized that there was a lot of artwork scattered along the floor. The owner was in the process of hanging the latest show and I'd wandered in during the artist drop. The owner approached me with a quizzical expression and I quickly apologized for invading his shop. He was affable and pointed me towards a few more examples of Joe McFaddin's artwork. You should check out McFaddin's work and artist statement. He is quite the jaw-dropping talent.

Erte Prints Discovered in The Highlands of NC

I took a friend of mine up to the Highlands, NC for a job interview this last week. After the interview, I forced him to let me pop into two art galleries for a few minutes. In the back of the second gallery, we found a stack of 50 images by the artist Erte. We both adore Erte. We both peed a little in our pants. We chased down the owner and begged her for details about the prints. It turns out that she represented many of his works from the 80's. The prints we were holding were not originals unfortunately, they were plates from an out of print book. Regardless, I picked out a print for my wife's birthday. It's going up in our bedroom.

If you're interested in a print, check out the Ann Jacob Gallery. There are about 40 prints left, at $25 a piece. The owner is a marvelous lady who is a wealth of historical information.

The Epic Dorkness of Ethan Mongin

I stopped by Target to pick up something....and returned with Star Wars tees that were on sale. !!!!!

2011 Society of Illustrators LA Competition

I submitted a poster that I did for the Greenville Little Theater to the Society of Illustrators LA. To my utter astonishment and joy, I received a package in the mail that said "Congratulations! You've been accepted into the Illustration West 49 show and publication. What an honor!

2010 Scaddy Awards: NVFS Annual Report Cover

I've been reorganizing my studio recently and I came across the 2010 Scaddy Awards book. The award ceremony last year was epic. Not necessarily because of the spectacle, but because of the string of bad luck that surrounded the ceremony.

I submitted a piece of artwork that I did earlier in the year for the Northern Virginia Family Services Annual Report. The illustration won me a Silver Scaddy Award.

When I heard of my award, I was attending school and working in Atlanta while my wife was living in Columbia. The awards ceremony was to take place in Savannah on a Friday night. My wife really really wanted to participate in the events with me, so I told her that I'd pick her up on my way to the ceremony. What followed was a laundry list of worst-case scenarios. Her work schedule changed suddenly. I got off work late. The gallery in Savannah LOST my artwork for the show. I had to reprint, frame, and mat my artwork on the way to the ceremony. I accidentally left a bloody finger print on the mat during the trip. The result of our journey, we arrived after the ceremony was finished and my artwork wasn't displayed in the art show.

Despite our troubles, the trip was wonderful. It provided an excellent venue to interact with other artists and professionals, my wife toured SCAD's Savannah campus for the first time, we found a great little comic book shop, and we bought a couple of interesting comics ( mine was Chew, the wife's was Sweet Tooth).

Juxtapose! The Graduate Thesis Show of Ethan Mongin and Alan Hawley

After two years, the big day is finally coming! My graduate illustration show is just on the horizon. The culmination of three months of intense work will be revealed to the general public the week of May 8. The show is going to be amazing! I'm going to make a future blog post that explains the thought process behind my thesis, so I won't go into too much detail here. To sum it up, I've taken Alice Through the Looking Glass, Oliver Twist, and Treasure Island and illustrated them in a style of artwork I like to call "Victorian Cartoonism". My show mate Alan Hawley is a master of comic book realism. He will be showing paintings that combine science fiction elements with religious figures from Hinduism, Christianity and Norse Mythology.

You can check out the show at Studioplex in Atlanta, GA.
The gallery will be open May 8 - 13, from 1 - 5 p.m. daily.
We will have a reception on May 10, from 7 to 10 p.m.
Check out our facebook page for more information.