Thursday, July 24, 2008

Flogging Molly

When commissioned to do a poster for Flogging Molly, I first knew exactly what I didn't want to do: shamrocks, pints of Guinness, celtic knots, or white, working-class boxer characters. I love that Irish punk sound (the Pogues being one of my favorite bands ever), but that imagery has been done to death. Luckily, the assignment was given to me before my trip to Ireland, so I decided to sit back and let the country itself inspire the design.

Some of the coolest parts of Ireland were its old cemeteries. They had so much atmosphere and mystique that they practically begged to be captured on paper. I sketched a few on location, then soon realized I had my inspiration. After that the whole thing came together pretty much simultaneously; the text, the frame elements, and the illustration. The biggest hurdle I faced then was deciding whether to go grayscale or add color. As you can see, I found my answer somewhere in the middle.

Stylistically, I looked to artists like Matthew Woodson and Mike Mignola to capture that gothic, yet antique, sense of atmosphere, but I think it ended up like a 1930's animated cartoon. But hey, that's style for ya. You don't find it, it finds you.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Here's an oldie, but a goodie. This was a sophomore illustration project; the medium was colored pencil, and the theme was "music." I chose to illustrate the Delta blues musician Robert Johnson, and his legendary deal with the devil. For those unfamiliar with the story, you can check it out in this Wikipedia Article. It's a great folk legend, and one whose theme still echoes in pop cultural consciousness.

Only 2 photographs exist of Robert Johnson, so his likeness had to be pulled from those couple of grainy images. The image of devil came from Voodoo descriptions of the African trickster god, Legba. The representational symbol for Legba is carved onto the devil's guitar.

This was one my first attempts at illustrating in colored pencil. While it's definitely not my medium of choice, the whole exercise was pretty helpful in honing my color sensitivity.