Tuesday, October 16, 2012

more from the editorial years

A while back I posted some of my work from when I created original illustrations for magazines and periodicals.  Editorial art was my chosen field of aspiration upon graduating from college, and I did get published on occasion for the first 7 or 8 years that I actively pursued it, with occasional commissions from Playboy, Outside, National Lampoon, Crain's Business, The Atlantic Monthly, and others.
Along the way, I supplemented the erratic income of this profession by freelancing in the advertising business, doing layout design, marker renderings, and some storyboarding. All of this while living in Philadelphia and regularly trekking up to New York to show my portfolio.   eventually falling into designing product at Tyco Toys as a freelancer, it didn't take long until I stopped pursuing commissions altogether I just became so busy creating toys.  Now it seems like another lifetime. 

This was before the advent of digital art and desktop computers in general, so everything I did was on the drawing board by hand. Some of my influences during this era were illustrators like Blair Drawson, Lane Smith, and I was also exploring some resist wet media with gouache and colored pencil.   Looking back, I was trying to cultivate my own signature style so it was always evolving somewhat,  but from 1987 until 1994 this was some of the work I was doing for the editorial world;

National Lampoon magazine - 1988

on business communication

on the dangers of genetic engineering

on games that increase intelligence

on puppet politicians

roller coaster dog

on tax stress

the flirting waiter

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Max Steel: Extroyer Gorilla Attack!

A few years ago I was tapped by the boys action team at Mattel to design a new creature for their Max Steel action figure line.
I was already somewhat familiar with Max Steel, a brand unique to Mattel, but hadn't yet worked with him.  Most of my experience up to that point was actually working with their Barbie line, certainly fun and creative experience, but Max Steel answered my desire to design for their boys action figures.

Of course Max already existed and didn't need designing. My part was in creating a new creature based solely on their verbal description; a cross between sasquatch and a gorilla on steroids.
It would need to look menacing, with huge fangs and purplish fur, oversized hands that would need to grapple (part of a necessary feature, shown), and completed with these crystal-like mutations that were literally growing from inside its body. All of this was thematically consistent with Max's arch nemesis; 'Extroyer' and the characters' ability to possess other living beings. The crystaline growths were an integral part of that mutation.   

The Extroyer Gorilla would eventually make its way into the Max Steel pantheon of characters and creatures.  Take a look;

Here is the initial drawing I generated in illustrating the Extroyer gorilla attack and its grappling action feature;

The decision was made by the creatives at Mattel to eliminate the bolo net and employ some hi-tech shackles instead.
Here is the revised concept brought to final rendering for presentation;

This is how it looked when it was released to the toy market;

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

the Apollo 11 telephone

Up until virtually everyone started using cel phones as the norm, novelty telephones really enjoyed a lot of popularity in the world of consumer electronics. 
While hard wired phones were standard items in homes and businesses, companies like Telemania made their mark in creating all kinds of wild and fun telephones tailored to all kinds of interests.  Most of them were license driven, but not all.  The diner phone that I designed for them is just one example.

In the late 1990s I was approached by MH Segan to design a telephone commemorating the Apollo 11 lunar mission.
The basic design would have a small scale model of the historic landing event, complete with a little Neil Armstrong.  This would all be on the phone base which would also be comprised of the dialing mechanism, some NASA type components and an engraved plaque.   In early discussions it was decided the handset and cord would be typical of the period, but they wanted some styling exploration done for the rest.  For one thing, touch-tone buttons were still relatively new in 1969 and they wanted to see some variations with and without the recently supplanted rotary mechanism.  After drawing up all of the universal elements going into the design I worked up about 7 different approaches to the rest;

Having liked elements of both C and D,  I was directed by Segan to work up one more drawing that would best represent all of the elements and qualities they wanted to see in the final;

..and here is the final rendering, classic black lacquer finish with chrome touches;