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January 22, 2014

Highlights Hidden Pictures #2

Another issue of Highlights Magazine showed up in the mail a few weeks back.  If you see this issue on the newsstand, check it out, it's got one of my illustrations in it!

Most of the hidden pictures I have been drawing are for the "Gaby's Journal" feature, in which Gaby and her family travel the United States, seeing all kinds of historic buildings, museums, national landmarks and parks.  This time it was the dinosaur exhibit at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.

Since these illustrations are based on real places, I usually start out by collecting a bunch of photo reference.  The internet makes this extremely easy!  I usually find some general "official" photos on Google Image Search and then try to find some more personal first-person photos on Flickr.  I've even found some 3D models in the Google SketchUp 3D Warehouse so that I can position a building just how I want.

My next step is to mash up all this reference in photoshop to work out the composition of my drawing.  Since illustration does not have to perfectly mirror the real world, I can grab one element from a photo that I like and flip it, or draw on top of it to extend it, and then drop other photos in the background or foreground, etc. etc. etc.  Here is an example that I made for this illustration, which uses three or four photos and a lot of digital drawing.

I decided I didn't like that one very much, so I made a second composition, which I ended up using instead.  Once I settle on the composition, I print this out and lightbox the general shapes onto my bristol board.  Then I can finesse the drawing, and make everything look consistent.  This digital "comp" technique saves me a lot of time, so that I'm not trying to figure out all of the perspective and angles of things from scratch.

The last step, of course, is to add the hidden objects!  ;)

January 14, 2014

Today in Weezer History

One of my favorite things on the internet right now is the Weezer instagram account which is run by the band's archivist, Karl Koch.  Every day he goes back through the Weezer archives and finds something interesting that happened with the band on that date.  With over 20 years of material, Karl has a lot of really cool, behind-the-scenes stuff to share.

The other day I got an email from Karl, asking if I would be interested in illustrating the infamous "Rhino Lad" story, which had no photo to accompany it.  As you can see below, I said "Yes!"  You can read the story of Rhino Lad in the official Weezer instagram post.

Karl and I both had a lot of fun working on this, so hopefully I'll get to do some more of these in the future!

January 1, 2014

Not in Harry's Name! Chocolate Frog Card #10

Happy New Year!  Here is my final design for the new round Chocolate Frog cards.  When I first got this assignment, I was asked to focus on members of the Order of the Phoenix.  I decided right away that I would draw Professor Snape!  I decided to draw him at the end of book six, right after he killed Dumbledore.  Initially I got a bit of pushback from my art direction team at the HPA.  "Snape?  Really? Of all the characters you could draw?"

I stood firmly by my decision.  Yes!  Professor Snape!  Harry himself states at the end of book seven that Professor Snape was "...probably the bravest man I ever knew."  This scene depicts not only his bravery but one of the biggest sacrifices made by any member of the Order of the Phoenix.

As a reminder, you can get one of these wizarding cards by ordering cruelty-free chocolate frogs from the Harry Potter Alliance!  I hope you guys enjoyed checking these out.