NBA All-Star Game - I was very,
very fortunate to have been asked to provide the artwork
for the 2005 NBA All-Star Game. The game will
be held in February, and I produced portraits of eleven
NBA players--Carmelo Anthony, Vince Carter, Tim Duncan,
Kevin Garnett, Allen Iverson, LeBron James, Tracy
McGrady, Yao Ming, Dirk Nowitzki, Shaquille O'Neal,
and Ben Wallace. The NBA had seen my Moby
piece on The Ispot, and liked the all-blue-toned approach,
and asked me to portray some the NBA's finest in the
NBA sent me a ton of photos to work from, and various
changes needed to be made on the fly--uniform changes,
hair changes, etc. It was a lot of work, building
each of these pieces layer by layer, with as much
detail as the NBA wanted. Since I knew these were
going to be reprinted in huge form, I worked with
massive Photoshop files and I found myself doing such
small portions of each player that sometimes I didn't
even know what I was looking at ("Oh! that's
his right hand!"). I had never done this amount
of detailed work in such a relative quick timeframe,
so I had to extra-organized to get all of it done
on time. I had a quota of work I had to make per day,
and once in a while I had to pull some very late nights
to meet it, but all in all the work went rather smoothly.
The NBA liked what I was doing, and whatever changes
they asked for were very minimal and easy to do. I
finished the last changes on the last player, Yao
Ming, around 1am on a Sunday night, and breathed a
sigh of relief.
original idea was three of the players--Shaq, McGrady,
and Garnett would be on the official poster. Of course,
being a big devotee of poster art, I was thrilled
my work would end up something so high-profile. The
work all got submitted, and I got to work on other
too long before the game, I was told that the marketing
people from the NBA decided not to do a poster, after
all. I was really disappointed since it was the poster
that held the most interest for me. As nice as program
books and ad slicks are, I really wanted a poster
to be the main piece of promotion that everything
else could revolve around. But what the hey.
game was played on Feb.20, and I watched it to see
if I could spot any of my work. No luck. Again, what
few days later I got photos from the NBA I had worked
with (a wonderful lady named Sandra) that she had
taken while in Denver. Nothing had quite prepared
me for what I saw (as you can see below).
first photo was of the front of the arena where the
game was played. The NBA made banners, approx.
60 feet high, to hang off the front of the hall,
each featuring a different player. Plus, each of them
had a spotlight shining on them from above! No poster,
huh? Well, these will do!
was astonished to see how much Denver seemed to be
covered in the artwork for the game--on street corner
hangings (with the cool added effect of having the
same piece on two separate hangings at 90 degree angles
of each other), on the 15-foot-tall pillars in the
hotel garage, on glass windows, etc. It was all a
little overwhelming, seeing my stuff all over the
place like that, especially since I had no idea it
was coming. The photos below are only a small sampling
of the bounty I had received.
was the most exciting project I've ever been involved
with, and the NBA was wonderful to work for. An assigment
this size was a real challenge, and meeting that challenge
gave me a greater sense of confidence in my work than
I've ever had before.
NFL Draft magazine -These
were two illustrations for ESPN's new NFL Draft
magazine. ESPN was hiring a half dozen or so artists
to render iconic versions of each football player position,
so they didn't want any specific faces or uniforms.
let me know what color themes each of the pages would
have, so I tried to pick colors that would be best pop
off the page, and I thought the purple and orange tones
looked best. For whatever reason, the Safety illustration
came very easily and went under minimal changes by me,
but the Offensive Guard was a lot more difficult--I
think I did three complete versions of him, each with
their own set of orange tones.
the job came in at the end of 2005, I had over the holiday
season to work on them, and I needed all of that time
to get the OG right. I would look at each version after
a day away from it, and I kept thinking it could look
better, tighter, so I used the time I had to keep tweaking.
Finally version #3 looked good to me, so I sent it out,
and luckily ESPN liked them both, too. Now that I look
at it, frankly, I think it possibly could've used one
more pass. Maybe I'm overthinking it.
the issue came out the beginning of March, and it was
really cool to see my work full-page like that. Now
that I have done work related to basketball, hockey,
golf, and now football, I guess baseball is next. MLB,
I await your call!
11.28.05 "The Business of Hockey"
- I got a call from Forbes magazine to illustrate
eight NHL player and manager portraits for an article
on the business of Hockey. The art director had seen
my NBA stuff, loved that look, and wanted the same thing
for these illustrations.
did change the color tone a bit, making the blues a
little deeper, darker, and cooler, but I essentially
used the same approach. If I thought the NBA uniforms
were detailed! A lot of time as I was working on some
piece of a glove or something, I'd forget what the hell
I was looking at and have to pull back to see what I
was even doing. But these pieces all came off pretty
easily and without a lot of fuss. For Maple Leaf Sundin
(far right), the magazine wanted a light background
to lay some text over. Again, it all came pretty easily--a
nice light blue tone with some quick, elegant movement
lines was all it needed. This piece was re-used on the
table of contents, as well. It appeared in the Nov.28
ironic to me that I've now handled two major sports
with my illustration, since I know little about sports,
and care even less. But since careers aren't made entirely
of Universal horror movie posters and Bob Dylan portraits,
it's good to know I can handle any kind of subject.
see other assignments I've for Forbes, please
check out the Portraits
- June 2008 - This was certainly a challenge,
rending all those maddeningly-small logos that cover your
average NASCAR racer.
since that was the focal point of the piece, after putting
together a rough to figure out colors and placement,
I spent a looooong Saturday drawing each of those logos.
After I was finished, I sort of felt like Donald Pleasance
in The Great Escape, having gone blind from forging
endless Nazi documents. (Its hard to see them from here,
but they do hold up upon closer inspection!)
is always a pleasure to work with, and this time was
Digest - I did this for Golf
Digest magazine, for an article about
current golf champion Annika Sorenstam. As I was told
by my art director (I know even less about Golf than
I do most other sports, and that's saying something),
Annika has been crowned the Tiger Woods of Women's Golf,
and has even had a much better year--winning multiple
championships--than Tiger ever has.
since Women's Golf is less covered than men's, she's
relatively unknown outside the Sports page. The article
was Golf Digest's attempt to give Annika some
much-deserved recognition. He stressed the idea of "victory"
to me, to let people know that Sorenstam has absolutely
dominated the game.
came up with the idea to combine the sort of propaganda
poster theme we had discussed with one of my favorite
looks--that of the early 1940's, in particular the gorgeous
WPA posters produced during the FDR Administration--somewhat
muted colors (for the first time I think ever,
I didn't use any black), some off-center axis', and,
most importantly, a really hyperbolic tagline! So I
combined the various elements, played with the fonts
(had to find the one that just felt like that era to
me), and what I ended up with I thought got across the
idea that the magazine wanted, that of...Victory!
Golf Digest really loved my approach, But it
also satisfied me artistically, from the likeness, the
overall composition, and the attempt at an evocation
of an earlier era in design.
- February 2011 - This was the second
batch of head shots that ESPN magazine asked
me to do for their "Scale of 1 to 10" feature, this
time for the 2/21 edition.
these portraits are running so small (each is about
about 1.5" high), I could leave some detail out, which
not only helped make sure I could get them done on time,
but gave them a slightly different look than a lot of
my other portrait work.
were fun to do, I hope I'll be hearing from ESPN again