I've bee playing around with repeating patterns lately. Basically, these are little exercises to help me think more graphically because I have some future plans for my work (like illustrating a kids book) and I need to feel more comfortable with the transition, both visually and mentally.
Here's a treatment I did for WIRED UK.
I just found out that a series of animal pieces I worked on for Prana have been accepted in the Society of Illustrators 56. Normally I don't get excited about stuff like this but SI has been undergoing some great changes in the past few years and I'm happy to help support them as they continue to help preserve the craft of Illustration.
Well, I started writing a children's book recently. This is completely new territory for me and I'm really enjoying the challenges so far. I'll also admit that I have clue what I'm doing. I've been anxious to start expanding my work into new areas and I want to figure out what else I can bring to the table as I'm starting to feel stale in some areas. If you asked me 2 years ago if I would write & illustrate a children's book I would have said "no", but yet, here I am. It's not that I'm writing the book for my son, but it's because of him. Outside of adjusting to new routines and schedules I didn't realize fatherhood would have a direct impact on the actual artwork. This is just further evidence that supports my wife's theory that I'm equally clueless as I am astute. Either way, I'm excited about the new challenges it places on my work and it feels good knowing I may be starting a new chapter of my career.
This spring I was asked by Jayme Stone to build a life-sized Calder-esque mobile that could be used as his album cover for The Other Side of the Air. The main challenge for me was figuring how to create my work on a large 3-dimensional scale AND have it be light weight so it could be hung and moved with ease. I didn't want to rely on something like a CNC machine to cut out the shapes because I was afraid they'd start to feel too mechanical. After some experiments I found the materials that I needed to use and started building. I'm really happy with the results and it's helped me open up other avenues in the way I work.
My new studio mate…
A quick flip through my printed portfolio.
There's been a shift with my work recently. It might not be a noticeable change to those who are familiar with my work, but it's definitely there, I can see it, and more importantly, I can feel it. That last part is the key because it means it'll open up the work to another space that's finally ready for development. I've always been one to let my work develop at it's own pace, slowly guiding it in the direction it needs to aim, and I've purposely kept outside influences at an arm's length away because I don't like sudden changes. I'm happy in my little world where I can over-think everything until I drive myself crazy and do things in whatever methodical way I feel they need to be done in, because that's just how I function. It's uncanny how much your process is a reflection of your personality.
Lately I've been developing work that's larger scale and some of it's 3D constructions that I've built. To me this is a big deal and it feels right. I still over-think a project while I'm working on it and that's not going to change, but there's a difference between over-thinking something and questioning something. For me, over-thinking means caring and obsessing about the details. Questioning is more doubtful and not nearly as productive. This latest shift doesn't have me questioning myself at all.
This shift is also a funny one for me because the influence for it has been sitting in front of me for as long as I can remember, yet I didn't see and realize it until recently. Now that I know what the answer is, it seems so simple – I FINALLY figured out that I could, and should be, combining my non-illustration skills with my illustration work. Coming from a family of carpenters, woodworkers and tradespeople, I've picked up many of those skills and feel at home working with my hands so I guess It was only a matter of time before those influences found their way into my work, and I'm really glad they did. Here's to hoping I don't lose a thumb in the process.
I'm pretty stoked to have my work appear on the cover of this year's Communication Arts Illustration Annual. A few more from this animal series also appear in the annual, or you can see them here and here. Commarts has been my favourite awards annual since my first year of art school and it's the only one that I submit work to every year. I do have somewhat of a love/hate relationship with many of the other industry annuals and I've expressed that in the past. Regardless of how I feel about them, having my work appear on this cover does feel pretty sweet and I'm very grateful for it.