The Grace Keepers, Penguin Random House.
A fantasy novel about death, life, and it’s protectors.The main character, Callanish, tends the watery graves along the equator, as penance for a long-ago mistake…
A botched lethal injection execution is repulsive, nauseating, and torturous.
Originally I didn’t think I could get away with death on this cover, but didn’t want to back away from the weight of the topic. To me, time was an interesting theme through this whole piece: Time it takes for lethal injection to work (or not work!), time to do the research, looking back in time to the first executions, looking ahead to the future, so on and so on.
But sometimes a story is worth more than a metaphor. This one was. Simply put, I wanted to force the moral issue of executions and their frequent mishandling in your face. The cringing hand grasping for life as the poison pumps into his vein, the medical personnel taking his pulse as if to say “…has it worked yet?” How Gruesome, and yet, these executions continue. Just last week one took place in Oklahoma. The man’s last words were “my body is on fire”.
A major thanks to The Penn Gazette for sticking with this idea, I’m proud of the results.
The Weight of Service
A somber piece about the struggles of combat PTSD amongst US Armed Forces.
In an unrelated news clip I heard an interview with some vets saying they feel the “Support Our Troops” catch phrase translates to “Get back in your foxhole!” and doesn’t come across as genuine at all.
I respect the hell out of that soldier for saying something; what a potent dose of reality. Perhaps a heart felt “Thank you” is truly what these men and women deserve to hear.
What a thrill to be hired for THE Rolling Stone album review. Like many illustrators out there, I’ve wished for this job from the days of art school and am so excited to finally get the opportunity. I have been a subscriber to RS for about 10 years now and the very first thing I do without exception is flip to the back and see who illustrated the lead review. I’ve always said I don’t care if it’s Justin Bieber, I just want to do that job, so it’s double great that I was given the task of Sleater-Kinney, a band with real substance. Four stars! Not too shabby.
A stage play….book cover? Yup. Coach House publishes plays!
Having worked with the playwright, Nicolas Billion, in the past, it didn’t take much to get on board with his latest script. Butcher is dark. It’s mysterious, shadowy, ominous (but we don’t really know why till the end), and it would seem no one is who they appear to be. So good.
These are the characteristics and metaphors I want to capture with the cover art. The story takes place exclusively inside an interrogation room so I thought it would be really effective to take us outside of the chaos and set the mood with a looming darkness and rain. But it doesn’t end there. There is a heavy dose of foreshadowing here, but you’ll just have to read the play to find out…
A new book cover for Gao Jianqun’s historical fiction novel, Tongwan City. Published by CN Times Books. As the Hun Imperial dynasty was being shaped there were two very different leaders, a warlord, Helian Bobo and a Monk, Kumarajiva, both striving for the same end. I love the idea that you have two characters that represent different approaches to a similar goal. That sense of tension and contrast is a great visual metaphor for the story.
Some sketches below. As you can see the final changed quite a bit from the original idea…
AGH! I Had so much fun with this job for Smithsonian Magazine! As part of their annual “Secrets of American History” issue, I had the opportunity to illustrate the shadowy rivalry between one J. Edgar Hoover and Mr. Untouchable Elliot Ness.
The article gets pretty technical, but finished with a vivid account of Hoover watching the TV depiction of Ness in 1959′s The Untouchables, and making the point that this is what people take as history, not the facts. Who is the real Ness?! (well apparently he wasn’t as straight laced as he appeared!) I enjoy getting moody and dark with my work, so this was a perfect opportunity. I also discovered how much I love checker tile floors…
Lastly, it was such an awesome surprise to get the samples in the mail and see that my mentor and friend, Tim O’brien had painted an incredible George Washington for the cover. It’s humbling to be included in the same issue as him.
Some sketches below:
In honor of summer’s unofficial end (Happy labor day!) I thought I’d share a cover for the Saturday Evening Post that never ended up seeing the light of day. It was just before memorial day and I was incredibly excited to follow in the footsteps of some of my illustration heroes. To be honest, it was a real bummer when the editorial team changed course, but hey, these things happen. No hard feelings! That’s the business. I’m confident i’ll get another shot in the future.
My grandfather was the one who turned me on to Norman Rockwell’s work when I was a young kid, he would have been really proud to see me on the cover of the same magazine that made Norm famous. To honor that, I worked my grandfather’s name into the piece.
Poking fun at gender roles, ’cause we all know who runs the world.