Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bill Russell - the greatest Celtic of all time

As some of you may know, I'm a basketball nut. I'm the kind of fan that follows NBA teams even during the off-season: reading about trades, personnel changes, summer league games and obsessive things like that. So, with the new season almost about to jump off, here's a recent portrait I did of Bill Russell - the anchor of some of the greatest Boston Celtic teams of all time.

I drew this one up as a commission - one I was glad to do. It was painted in markers and ink, with a few white highlights painted in gouache. The image was referenced from a photograph of a young Russ from the Sports Illustrated archives.

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Amazing Absorbing Boy - Book Cover Art

Above is the final artwork for a recent book cover assignment for Random House Canada. I was contacted by art director Jennifer Lum to illustrate the cover and 20 small interior illustrations for The Amazing Absorbing Boy, a new novel by Rabindranath Maharaj. I enjoyed this assignment very much, and working with Jennifer was a real joy. Like my last post, I thought I'd share here some of the process and roughs that led to the final art.

The book focuses on the culture shock experienced by a teenage boy as he immigrates from Trinidad to Canada, specifically to the Regent Park area of Toronto. With that idea in mind, I drew up 2 initial cover concepts, in colour like I usually do. Both the drawings below were drawn quickly and featured Regent Park, a distinctive area of Toronto, as a specific location:

While I liked the first concept, I hated the 2nd one. But I sent them both to Jennifer, to get her suggestions. After talking with her and getting the proper final dimensions for the artwork, I drew up another round of cover concepts: some were slight tweaks to previous ideas, while others took the cover concept in different directions:

After sending these to Jennifer, I was told that concept 6 was approved. She also sent back a rough mockup of the cover with all the copy in place:

That mockup formed the basis for the final cover illustration, which is at the top of this post.

I also drew 20 black and white interior illustrations, to be printed very small, as chapter openings. You can see a sampling of some of them below:

All in all, this was another highly enjoyable project to work on. Jennifer Lum gave me a lot of freedom on this, especially with the interior art, and was a great collaborator to work with.

For more information The Amazing Absorbing Boy, you can check out the the listing on Random House Canada's website.