Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"It's a Great Day for Hockey" - Badger Bob Johnson

I’ve been trying really hard to force myself out of my comfort zone, so I decided to do some work with text.  I have a love/hate relationship with hand drawn text.  I love working with arabesque lines and the look of it.  On the other end, I drive myself crazy nit picking over visual weight and spacing.  I’m pretty happy with how this one turned out, and really enjoying throwing some watercolor into the mix lately.

What can I say about Badger Bob Johnson? A man who passed away when I was 5 years old, an age when I couldn’t be bothered with things that didn’t involve Ninja Turtles or various other action figures. Although I personally wasn’t affected by his sudden passing, I have been by his lasting legacy. 

“It’s a Great Day for Hockey”, a phrase inscribed above the blue line on the home ice of the Pittsburgh Penguins until 2010 with their upgrade to the new Consol Energy Center, seems to say it all.  He words and positive attitude made a tremendous impact on the hockey world, and even though Johnson only coached the Pens one season, he helped lay the mold for a team that helped me fall in love with the sport in my youth.

 In the final year of his life he led the Pens on their 1991 Stanley Cup win, the teams first.  His name however is forever etched into the cup twice, once for his win in 1991 and again a year later when the Pens captured the cup again in his honor.

There’s something to be said about the beauty of a statement so simple, powerful and positive.  It truly is contagious. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


So the November issue of Mountain Biking UK is finally on the stands, complete with an illustration from yours truly.  MBUK contacted me a few months back to start work on some monthly illustrations for their "What happens when..." column.  Featuring an article on things that go wrong with bikes and even our own bodies, when you're out there on the trails.  It's been a blast working on these so far, the subject matter matter is always right down my alley.

This month's subject was "Why the hell do I have crunchy gears?"
They pitched a pretty clear idea and angle of the bike they wanted, the gear cassette turning into more organic teeth and munching on the chain.  Needless to say I was thrilled to draw something like this.  I particularly enjoyed the idea of a metal chain grinding through teeth because just thinking about it triggers a sound effect in my brain that gives me the same kind of anxiety I feel when there's something wrong switching bike gears.

Here's my 3 sketch Ideas!


I got the go ahead to start on the first version, here's the final along with the Tear Sheet from November's issue!

Huge thanks to James Blackwell ( Art Director of MBUK ) for all the help from start to finish each month.  With his guidance it's really been smooth sailing with every assignment!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kris Letang

Figured I'd start out the week with a warm up portrait of Penguins Defensemen Kris Letang before I start any large stuff this week.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

More Penguins!! ( Crosby )

So in the start of the year I had done a portrait of Sidney Crosby, depicting him holding rabbits feet up as a faux mustache.  I had been meaning to redo this portrait ever since because of some brilliant advice from Yuko Shimizu, who had told me there was nothing wrong with it BUT it could be a much stronger piece with some simple changes.  The original had him holding the rabbits feet, which could easily be photographed ( so why would you need to hire an illustrator ).  A simple change like having the feet floating solves that problem.

(Watercolor wash)

During the few games he played during the 2010-2011 NHL season he was racking up stats that were putting him on the path to a season that was up there with Gretzky and Lemieux's record breaking years. Late in 2010 he had scored a point in 25 straight games. Even while missing more than half of the season, he still finished the season tied for 14th in the league for the most goals.

He grew a "lucky" mustache to coincide his point streak.  I find sports superstitions to be incredibly entertaining because the subject matter is so vast and often pretty odd from an outside perspective.

PENS SIDE NOTE : I am still super thrilled every game day so expect some more portraits and illustrations.  I've got to say at this point Kris Letang has got to be my favorite player on the team. He plays incredible two way hockey, and right now with the lack of Crosby and Malkin's attendance being spotty, he's been the player to step up and put some spark into the team.  

I'm excited for the day they are back at full force, because even when people like Crosby and Malkin aren't scoring goals their playmaking ability, along with people like Letang and Sullivan, really help activate the rest of this great Pittsburgh team.