Camel Cigarettes - "Turkish Blends" - These are just some of the illustrations I did for an ad campaign for Camel cigarettes. Camel was adding a section to their website where, using Flash, a user could create their own movie poster using different elements. You could create a Sci-Fi, Mystery, Romance, oe Horror movie poster, and while the ad agency went ahead and created various logos, they asked me to do the main illustrations.

There were twenty illustrations in all--five for each of the four genres--and I pulled these together from a variety of sources. The model for"Mad Scientist" is my friend Dan Fraga, the perfect man to give off a "mad scientist" vibe. The "Shrieking Woman" is none other than Trace herself. I took a big round of photos of her first time around; and I was a little disappointed in my photography skills---they seemed a little dull. But I pushed ahead and did a rough based on what I had, never being totally happy. It was only after I finished most of the other pieces that I took some time I hadleft and re-shot her, with more precise lighting and more of an exaggerated pose. It was after I finished the piece did I realize that, Thank God I did, because I found this new one to be my favorite of all of them. It was exactly what I saw in my head, and getting to render my darlin' Tracy was a nice bonus.

The futuristic space city is made up of several different elements--some basic geometric shapes combined with a skyline from an old New York World's Fair poster. I decided to go monochromatic to give the sense that the whole city was built from lightweight, plastic-type material; no cement or wood. The spaceman was directed to specifically look retro, so I gave him that tousled, Flash Gordon-esque haircut.

This project was also a technical challenge because the agency wanted the finished pieces to be done in Adobe Illustrator, not my usual Photoshop (since they were going to used in Flash, they needed to be scalable vector graphics, not fixed-size ones). One nice, unexpected result of doing my work with a different set of tools was how they looked--via Illustrator, they all had a more rounded, smoother, "cartoony" feel. While I wouldn't necessairily want all of my work to look like this, I did like the change and I'm glad I have that option open to me now.


The Alison Rules - This was my first book cover and boy was I excited! To get the exact look of the girl, I had to arrange a photo shoot. I shot the photos on the edge of the lake by the house. It was a brutally cold, windy late November day, and since the book deals with lots of somber themes (lonliness, death, depression, Jolly Ranchers), I wanted my "Alison" to look a little sad and distant. Luckily, the model Danielle didn't have to channel too many emotions, since the wind made her eyes tear up, giving her a face an extra bit of tenderness and sadness that would fit the character perfectly.

Afterwards, I put together a composite of the best poses for the illustration. I knew I didn't have a lot of space, so I had immediately decided to render the bridge just as a dark color on the light color background--so you'd know exactly what it was, but I didn't have to spend lots of time putting in detail that wouldn't add anything, or, worse yet, conflict with the main figure.

I tried several different color schemes, but the blue tones we all felt got the mood of the book across best. I fiddled with an outline, no outline, etc., on the figure, but again did both--outlined the body, but left it off the face, which with the outline looked too thick. The character of Alison is considered by everyone to be extremely beautiful, so I didn't want to add too much detail.

I submitted the final, HC added the text, and now the book is finally on sale at bookstores everywhere! This project was an enormous challenge, but I'm proud of how it came out, and I hope to do more book covers in the future.

"Rob was a pleasure to work with and an important part of helping us reach this point with the Alison Rules cover art that has been so well received." - Ali Smith, HarperCollins

Capital G - One of my biggest projects of 2009 was working with the ad agency Concept Farm, for a print campaign for the banking firm Capital G.

I was asked to produce an initial batch of nineteen portraits--using Cap G's colors of pink, purple, and green--of some of the firm's customers testifying to Cap G's qualities as a bank. Each portrait had to be highly detailed, and most of the portraits were of the people from the waist up, which we'll see examples of tomorrow.

This ad lumps them all together, and seeing them all in one spot like this makes me relive just how much work went into all these--whew!

The print ads are running in Bermuda, where Cap G is located, so I won't get to see them around here. Thankfully Concept Farm--who were great to work with--provided me with some examples so I could see the final product.


Pitney Bowes - "Communication" - This was a six-illustration project for the Pitney Bowes company through the international advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather.

O&M came up with a campaign dealing with the importance of communication, so the theme was played out by using a series of famous, historical phrases, but slightly altered to relay the idea of how different these words would be even if just one of them was heard wrong.

Working with Ogilvy & Mather, I came up with the ideas on how to best represent those phrases and then had to illustrate them. Some, like "We have nothing to fear.." (at left), were easier than others. The ads had been designed to be very simple, strong, and only using two basic colors. After experimenting, I decided to keep the illustrations basically monochromatic as well, that way they looked like part of the ad. I didn't want them to be too colorful or busy and draw attention to themselves, away from the copy. I ended up creating illustrations of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Capitol building, Paul Revere, Mark Antony, a movie marquee, and a hand holding a "guaranteed" contract.

This was a nation-wide campaign; the ads appeared in full-page ads in The Wall Street Journal, and double-page spreads in Forbes, The New Yorker, and other magazines. They were also be part of a series of displays in airports all over the country.


Thurgood Marshall Federal Building Anniversary - I was contacted by the biggest possible client of the them all--The United States Government! It was the Public Affairs branch, to be specific, and they wanted to produce a mug to comemmorate the 10th anniversary of moving into their new building, one named in honor of legendary Supreme Court judge Thurgood Marshall.

Trying to replicate the "look" of a building with my style was quite interesting; and it was nice to know just how many different kinds of things--people, animals, and now even objects--I could portray visually with just color and shape. After a great many revisions along the way, the mug got changed to a paperweight, and a double-sided one at that (I had designed the entire piece, in addition to producing the illustration of the building).

I received a box of the finished paperweights; the clear Lucite block makes it look really classy (the pictures I took don't do it justice)--now I don't need to use my ruler to keep papers from blowing off my art table anymore!

"Rob was such a pleasure to work with. I asked two other illustrators, along with Rob, to produce a comp of a design. Rob's concept and use of color was on-the-money from the onset. This was one of the easiest special event projects of my career, thanks to him."- Linda Nichols, Special Events Coordinator, Office of Public Affairs, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
e:namtab29@comcast.netp: 856.261.2265 • all material © 2012 Rob Kelly