Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hahana Beach

This logo was one of the more exciting projects I worked on last year.
Hahana Beach is a local restaurant, a bar and the premier venue for professional sand volleyball in Cincinnati. I was brought on by Parkey Design to inject some personality and primal savagery to their identity. Together we combed through images of retro tiki signage, tribal tattoos and authentic artifacts from all over the South Pacific.

The client wanted to include a sun/moon motif to emphasize the fact that Hahana Beach caters to leagues during the day and only gets livelier when the sun goes down.

My favorite attempts were based on Maori facial tattoos and had a real savage quality to them, I thought they were very descriptive of sand volleyball —especially the spiking.

After the logo was finalized, I was asked to design their menu —a rewarding task which allowed me to use some of the Oceanic design elements that didn't make it in the logo.
The menu has been changed a bit since it's creation. You can view the current version here.

Hahana Beach opened on Wooster Pike late last summer. Check them out now, and you can say you ate there during their first full season!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sleeping Bear

I recently finished another shirt design for Troop 820. (This year they are going to Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan.) I felt that including an actual sleeping bear was too obvious, but I didn't want to omit it either, so I made him drooling (a bit obvious again).
Once I came up with the utterly infantile idea of fish being lured away from the standard bait by the bear's dribbling loogie, I knew I was done.

Here's a page of brainstorming thumbnails:

More sketching and exploring the right expression on the scout.

final composite sketch:

Once again, I'll leave with a hearty recommendation for the
T-shirt Co. They always do a fantastic job!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hairy Potter

I wasn't sure I'd ever get around to posting this, but Potter-mania caught up with me.

This is a cartoon I did for the Spring issue of California Magazine. They have a running feature called "Twisted Titles" where they invite readers to put a spin on a well-known book, and then they pay illustrators to pile on added snarkiness. The winning title was Hairy Potter —Hippie Ceramicist. A parody of Ghost was indefensible yet inescapable. I just needed the perfect fill-in for Sam. Dobby seemed a natural choice —he has Swayze's eyes.

Here are some sketches:
First take: Harry as a stoner-type. I rejected this one myself.

concept 2:

Obviously, you can't do a tiki mug on a spinning pottery wheel, but who cares. Who wouldn't want a Voldemort tiki-mug?

Here's the chosen concept:

fixed up a bit:

The final page (click to enlarge):

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Smartest Things...

Last summer I had the privilege of illustrating a book of quotes for Reader's Digest entitled The Smartest, Funniest, Dumbest Things Ever Said.
Each category got it's own chapter and each chapter was introduced by a humorous 2-page illustration. For the "smartest" chapter, I turned to the old cliche of the wise sage sitting upon a mountaintop, and explored the possibilities of rival seats of wisdom in the same range of mountains.

Mountainscapes are a joy to compose with. You can push and pull them around at will. No wonder Eastern painters used them so much.
The sketch above came together pretty quickly and was approved without much ado. I was sure I happened upon that rare instance where the idea simply "draws itself".

But as I progressed to the final rendering, I hit a block.
The main character was coming out less appealing than what I was hoping for.

I tried re-drawing several times, adjusting the facial expression slightly, while sticking roughly to the sketch. He kept coming out stiff and lifeless.

My intent was always to make the Confucian sage a bit more stoic and reserved than the rest, and I wanted the contrast to be pronounced. I had done some visual research, which told me that a stylized, symmetrical sage with broad shoulders would be a-propos.

Whether my rationale was correct or not, I was losing steam and tightening up. In frustration I ditched the research, put aside the sketch and just sketched a jolly man in traditional costume from memory, concentrating on creating a lively, likable personality.

A bit stereotypical perhaps, but once I loosened him up, it was fairly easy to transpose those energetic curves into just the sleeves of his robe, thus preserving the dignified demeanor the illustration required. The subtle expression change and the slight twist of his head, turned him from a meditating machine to a confident thinker —undeniably aware of who his competiton is.

Here's the final page: