Thursday, February 26, 2009

Not only famous, but IN-Famous

A drawing of a few infamously angry people for Best Life. Christian Bale didn't make the short list.
Hope you can recognize everyone. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

SILA Awards

I did well at the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles show this year. I got four images in and won two medals.

A Bronze Medal for this piece that was for PC Magazine, about tracking terrorists online.

And the Silver Medal train continues for Insurance Myths, a piece that many people have responded to this award season. This one was for USAA Magazine. I'm working with Laura Butler at USAA for the second time this week. Look for the next collaboration next friday.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Huge Honor

The boys and girls of the Marguerite E. Peaslee School sent me a wonderful letter this week. If you can't read it, here is what it says:

Dear Mr. Hendrix-

Guess what! Your book, Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek, won the Peasleecott Award in Mrs. Farrell/Mrs. Mara's class and is going into the final round! It is like the Caldecott Medal except it is picked by children instead of grown-ups. We chose your book as having the most distinguished illustrations in a children's book. Why not have kids pick the "Caldecott Medal"; it is a children's book. It is picked by children at Peaslee School. We liked your illustrations because you did something extra like painting your hand in the picture and adding signs.

Your Friends

Truly, I've never received a better award in my entire life. After reading this giant letter in my living room, I realized that winning those big industry awards are totally meaningless unless these books get read by kids who love them. Forget the real Caldecott medals, if kids send me letters like this one, giant or not, I won't have any other aspirations for my work.

Thanks to Mrs. Farrell and Mrs. Mara's second grade class!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Best of Times...

Art Director of PlanSponsor, Soojin Buzelli, called me for an assignment about investing in difficult times. It may look bad, but it may also be a perfect time to make a big play. The hard piece of visual communication for this concept is clearly showing that the small boat is going UP the waterfall, not going DOWN it BACKWARDS. Also, I left a small bit of smoke below the crop that could be included in the body copy.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Anatomy of a Jacket

Would you like to see how to design and illustrate a book jacket?

First, I start with rough thumbnails, searching for as much range as possible:

And from there, I select my best idea and create a final sketch:

Chad Beckerman, art director extraordinaire, echoed my own concern that the sketch was elegant but too stately, even a bit stuffy. Back to the drawing board:

This one came back as "Too Zeus" or "Neptune about to eat his children." Chad suggested thinking Superman crossed with Moses. Right on. First I gathered some reference.

The final sketch was approved, with the change of making the boy in his arms a girl.

Next, I needed to think about color. I looked over the entire book for its general color structure, and created two color studies.

The shield on the bottom of the art needed to be used on the title page as well, in different proportions, so I built all the elements of the cover individually and assembled them in photoshop.

Once the bottom was assembled in place with the flaps and spine, I could lay in the art for the top. Here is the full piece, unobscured by the shield.

I seamed all the pieces together with a bit of overlap and feathered selections so that they feel like they are drawn on one page. Here is the final cover, now with spine an flap elements in place. Viola!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Just finished the cover and jacket art for my John Brown book, and that means it is all done. This project has spanned many years, the first draft of the book written while I was still in graduate school, way back in 2003. I'm very proud of the work and hope it reaches a wide audience this fall. But, now the distinct feeling of loss is creeping onto my drawing board.

I'm in the very early stages of signing up for my next project which, hold onto your hats, is about the Civil War. It is an amazing true story of a young girl who dressed up as a man to fight for the Union, and ultimately dressed up as a slave to spy on the Confederates. So much for typecasting myself early on in my book career.