June 22, 2009

How Exactly Am I Funny?

Funny "ha ha," or funny like a clown funny? For Dale, the character in this illustration for FIM Magazine, he's kinda both. More like a comedian and less like a clown, because clowns really aren't so funny. They qualify more as frightening. My sincerest apologies to any hilarious and adorable clowns out there, but you are few and far between.

This one was a LOT of fun to create. The humor article was about innovative ways to find a job in a tough economy, one of which was applying to be a mobster. As soon as I considered putting Dale in the worst job interview of his life with the Good Fellas, I just had to do it. Just please, for the love of Pete, don't call anybody a clown, Dale!

June 12, 2009

Games for Type Geeks

Here's a fun website for all you typography geeks out there (you know who you are). Typehype.net has a set of interactive games that in some way involve type. They include "Faceoff," which tests your ability to identify matching typefaces, "Serif," a Western-themed game where you shoot out the badly-kerned words, and "Type Invaders," where you defend Earth from poor punctuation.

I can't claim that it improves your typographic abilities, but it certainly is a fun way to learn about it, and if your boss catches you playing it at work, you might be able to convince them that it's professional development and you're just beefing up on your design skills. :)

June 10, 2009

Two Cases of Unmistakable Identity


I've been spending a lot of time in web-world these days, with some new and exciting projects to report. But, before I go into them, here are some items I've been working on lately:

Northwoods Coaching Logo

Northwoods Coaching incorporates mindfulness, meditation, and other Eastern practices into its life coaching services. The owner, Frank Gladu, is a real pleasure to work with, and I would recommend him to anyone. He has a quiet cool and a broad, beaming smile, and I imagine his clients will benefit greatly from his advice. Northwoods Coaching is only one among many ventures for him, and I'm currently working on another logo and some visual aids for him.

Wentworth Motorsports Business Card

I've worked with Wentworth Motorsports for several years now - in fact, since 1979!

Full disclosure, the owner is my brother, Alex, who created his business out of a garage once he graduated, and I'm perpetually amazed by his technical and business skills. He's the kind of guy who used to dissect radios and put them back together at 8 years old. Stellar. And I owe him big time for all the help he's given me on repairing my beat-up autos over the years. His shop is constantly busy, and the crazy thing is, he's never advertised. His entire business is built on word-of-mouth, which is a real testament to the quality of his work.

Aside from being family, I really believe in the work he does. As far as combustion-engine autos go, he is pretty sustainable. Many of his parts are refurbished or salvaged from other cars, and instead of continuing the throw-away trend of buying a new car when the old one wears out, he does his best to resurrect even the most crippled cars and keep them from heading to the scrap heap. He treats his customers with the utmost respect, and bends over backwards to make sure they're happy with the work. Socially-conscious as well.


So, that's some of the print work I've had lately. As far as web work goes, I have two great projects right now. One is a website for a sustainable furniture craftsman, and the other is a redesigned website for Aryaloka Buddhist Center. And, I continue to assist freebuddhistaudio.com with their work online. More on all this at a later point! Be well!

May 19, 2009

Bovine Bonanza!

More cows! Here are some of the new ones I've been working on for the Rutland Herald. She's beginning to develop a personality. The more I work on her, the more excited I get to see what she does next. She's a lady of many moooods. 

Yes, I know, the cow puns are endlessly funny. Good thing I have a lot of them...

May 13, 2009

A quoi ca sert l'amour

I discovered this excellent french animation over the weekend, and thought you all might enjoy it too. The style is exceedingly simple, with no dialogue at all, but shows how much emotion and story can be conveyed with very few lines. It's about the foibles of the human heart. :)

May 6, 2009

COW Unleashed!

It's quite an experience to see something you create take on a life of its own once it's off the drawing board. Sort of like watching one of your children grow up. And, I'm so glad it's happening with the cow mascot created for the Rutland Herald, which I wrote about previously here.

The website that they are using to promote their classifieds has gone live, and Rob, the project manager I've been working with, tells me that everyone has gone COW wild! They're doing an excellent job, making up t-shirts, bumper stickers, and they even have a cow suit on hand to do roadside promotion.

Above are some pictures and video of their mascot doing her thing. My favorite is the pic of the guy with the cell phone who can't believe he's seeing a cow sitting in an armchair!

You can also follow the cow on Twitter! Just look for the name vtcow.

May 4, 2009

An Abstract on Some Beautiful Abstraction

What, ho!? Two blogs in one day? Impossible! To what do I owe this unusual event?

To my un-contained excitement about my latest project, I say.

I promised you all a look-see at the art show poster I was working on, so here it is, earlier than expected. I really enjoyed working on this piece, particularly because I enjoy the artist's work so much. I'm not usually one for abstraction, but there's something about Sylvea Johnson's paintings that really speak to me. Her use of color and symbolism are fantastic - it's almost like graffiti, but not as harsh - so much more flowing and beautiful. I still haven't quite placed it, and that in itself is interesting to me.

I encourage everyone to try to make it to the opening of "Dreams and Reflections"on May 15th from 6:30-8 p.m. at Aryaloka Buddhist Center. Should be a fun time, and you'll get to see some great work in person. If you'd like to learn more about the artist, here's a link to her profile on Artbreak.

Creating Cool Campers

I've worked with the Newmarket Recreation Center on their program materials for a long time now - even before I left art school - so once again this year I helped them create their summer camp t-shirt, shown above. The program's mascot is a reptile named Rex. He's a real party animal and he gets to go on some truly grand adventures. He's been a time traveller, a ballet dancer, a magician, an amusement park connoisseur, and a pro-sports player, among many other things. For a cartoon iguana, he gets around.

This year the theme was "Unwind and Rewind in Summer '09." The kids have had a rough year and will be in school extra long (I think they get out almost in July!), so they'll need some time to unwind. Then they'll have a blast IN the past playing games with retro themes from the 50s to the 00s. Originally, the idea was music-related, but needed to be simplified and altered because they're not allowed to have electronic devices at camp. It would be a bummer if Rex could jam to his tunes and they couldn't.

I'm working today on a set of marketing materials for an upcoming art exhibit, and I really like how they're coming out, so keep your eyes peeled - I'll post them next time so you can see them too...

April 14, 2009

Hallway Cuisine

Been VERY busy here at Winter Crow Studio working on websites, summer camp t-shirt designs, and creating new cartoon cows, among many other great projects for great people. Looking forward to taking a bit of a breath at some point, but I'm happy to have work coming in that I enjoy doing. The big news around here is that we'll be having a baby in November, and I'll be trying my hand at stay-at-home Dad status, which I will thoroughly enjoy. But, needless to say, the more I can fit in before the Thanksgiving turkey is done, the better. And by turkey, I mean baby.

Above is an illustration (just finished) for the latest installment of Dale Irvin's humor column. This one asks the question, "Why waste all the food left over after room service when a veritable buffet can be had simply by perusing the hotel hallways?" Don't know if my stomach is steel enough for this idea, but it does make for a fun drawing. My favorite part is the "Do Not Disturb" sign. Whatever's going on in there, I'm sure they won't be happy to hear munching outside their door. 

You can see previous illustrations for this column here and on my website.

March 23, 2009

Cow De Classified

Here's a look at some work I've been doing recently with the Rutland Herald, a newspaper in Vermont. They are promoting their classified section and needed a mascot, so we created this fun and mischievous cartoon cow. She'll be moo-ving on to star in numerous udderly fantastic promotions in the future.

This project also gave me a chance to work on animated gifs, which are always fun, and got me in the mood to try my hand at some more animation. Hmmm....

March 21, 2009

Peter and the Wolf the Way it Should Be

My clearest musical memory as a young child is listening to Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" on the record player. The rich melodies, vivid storyline, and perfect characterizations instilled in me a love of classical music that continues to this day. I can remember listening to the melody, reading along in the liner notes, unfolding Peter's small and somehow familiar world in my imagination. Having the chance to share this piece with my daughter, and understanding it better as an adult, has given me an immense appreciation for how special it is. Certain passages still make my heart leap.

Therefore, I'm overjoyed beyond words to have come across Suzie Templeton's stop-motion film recreation of this tale. Many others must feel the same; it won the 2008 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It deserves every bit of praise that it receives. The puppetry and scenery are stunning. Where some might have oversimplified a story that has so many levels of meaning, she has managed to add to it with the depth of the characters and her interpretation of events. 

Doesn't hurt that the bird is portrayed by a flight-challenged crow either.  :)

March 13, 2009

Ways to Have Fun Drawing with Your Kids

I came across a fantastic blog today called Tiny Art Director. The blog author has written a picture book of the same name filled with illustrations done in a collaborative effort with his 3-year-old daughter, who was apparently a cute, but harsh, art critic. 

The blog shows examples of the finished pieces and sketches along with the 'tiny art critic's' comments, which are incredibly funny. Many of the illustrations didn't make the cut in her eyes, and she minced no words in saying so. 

I think most artists have some sort of creative give and take with their kids. I know of very few professions that allow you to share what you do so fully with your children and, especially if you're an illustrator, children have an innate appreciation for Mom or Dad's ability to pump out dinosaur drawings. You get this great opportunity to put a face on their dreams and fantasies. And, in turn, they teach you ways of looking at things that expand your own creativity. Most of us grow up too fast - watching and listening to your kids is a much-needed reminder of those days when the world was your playground.

In our family, one of our favorite pastimes while going on long car trips is to make up funny stories and sketch them out. I've included one of the results above, involving my daughter's stuffed rabbit (who has taken on gargantuan proportions and likes standing in front of moving vehicles) and a dinosaur with a soft spot for Dunkin Donuts coffee.

February 16, 2009

Carson Ellis

This is a great video clip on illustrator Carson Ellis. Her signature style and big break came out of doing album covers for The Decemberists. Beautiful pieces and a fun interview.

Also a good example of how many illustrators end up taking the roundabout path to their creative destinations, but learn a lot about themselves by doing so.

February 4, 2009

Postcard Promotion

Hey everyone!

Sorry for the slight hiatus on blogging. It's been an active month or so, gearing up to send out promotions for 2009 and make contact with some new clients. Very exciting stuff! My latest promo card is an opportunity to send out valentines to lots and lots of fine people. Here's a preview...

Also, be sure to check out some of the new additions to my online portfolio!