Thursday, April 26, 2012

Titanic Update

Final Cover Art

After a few edits, here is the final version of the Dangerous Waters cover. The author pointed out that the fourth smoke stack on the Titanic was entirely decorative! So, no smoke could have come out of it. So a little photoshop surgery was all it needed. Plus, they wanted the skull removed from the moon, too scary! Next stop, bookstores everywhere.

Previous Cover Art

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast

The amazing kid lit blog 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast has a long profile on my work, go check it out here. A small sample of the kind of information you might learn there:

* * * The Pivot Questionnaire * * *

Jules: What is your favorite word?
John: Phonetically: “Sequoia” or “Ticonderoga.”
Conceptually: “Agape.”
Jules: What is your least favorite word?
John: “Moist.”
Jules: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
John: I like sitting in churches during the daytime — to enjoy the stained glass windows.
Jules: What turns you off?
John: Left-over clear tape on glass and people who see everything through a political lens (of either party).
Jules: What is your favorite curse word? (optional)
John: I take the Fifth.
Jules: What sound or noise do you love?
John: Coins jingling in a pocket.
Jules: What sound or noise do you hate?
John: Fingernail-clipping while riding the subway.
Jules: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Jules: What profession would you not like to do?
John: Anything that would require me to get up before 7 a.m.
Jules: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
John: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Drawing In Church- Belated Easter Edition

Just finished up my Easter drawing (on top of some xerox transfers I had done with my seniors in my sketchbook class the week before). I've never been able to get an Easter drawing I'm happy with. This one was fun. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Guess the concept - Surrogacy

After my cover on autopsies from January, I got another call from the great folks at the Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association. They gave me a simple one word prompt for this image. 

Want to take a guess at what this concept is about?

Offer some ideas and, lets see how well I did my job. I'll post the answer and some other images from the process tomorrow. 

The art director gave me the topic of surrogacy, a woman carrying the child of another, usually from infertility. One of the other ideas I had. The lake is shaped like a woman's torso. Could have been a good one. Just noting I use a lot of lakes in my drawings. 

Also, I realize I spoiled my game because I named the final art "infertility.jpg" 

The image as it appears on the cover. 

Thursday, April 05, 2012

American Illustration 31

Three images have been selected to appear in American Illustration 31, including two images from my sketchbook. Always love to have those featured. Many thanks to the Mark Heflin and the illustrious jury!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Bad Unicorn

Simon and Schuster commissioned me to illustrate the book jacket of an upcoming trilogy of young adult fantasy books called, of all things, Bad Unicorn. To say this was a dream job is to underestimate the disbelief I had when the art director herself suggested that I "impale a squirrel on the horn of Princess, the man-eating unicorn" Yeah. No problem. 

The full wrap jacket with the spine.

These were my first three concepts, they went with A, but needed less "Rambo" in the unicorn. They mixed and matched the back cover from C. 

A tight sketch and a few color comps. 

My first pass used 'atomic' colors, acidic greens and reds. But, this seemed not 'boyish' enough for the editor, so we switched the jacket and spine to black. Which works just as well. Plus, we added the 'greyscale rainbow' ... nice touch. 

Thanks to art director, and Washington University grad, Jessica Handleman for the great project!