Pre-Order Joe Bluhm’s “Sketch Infectus”

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(Artwork copyright © Joe Bluhm. All rights reserved.)

Joe Bluhm is a terrific illustrator and caricaturist. I recently discovered his work and have been following him with interest.

Joe is self-publishing a sketchbook called Sketch Infectus. It’s jam-packed with great eye candy. Joe claims that “you probably won’t find a sketchbook with more drawings packed per-page between the covers”. The book will be available in March but if you pre-order by Feb. 5 you get a really cool bonus: Joe will cut out an original sketch from one of his sketchbooks and mail it to you with the book. Awesome!

I just pre-ordered my copy and can’t wait to see it. Get yours here.

24 Creatives Share Their Best Career Advice

Sorry for the slowdown in posts. This has been a crazy month. Our second daughter was born (which means as parents of a newborn we snatch sleep whenever we can grab it), I packed up and moved my studio, and the other day my computer died and had to be replaced. In addition I’m currently loaded down with seven freelance projects and two more (hopefully) on the way.

Still, I want to keep this blog rolling so here’s a quick link I found on Twitter:

24 Creatives Share Their Best Career Advice

I haven’t had a chance to read any of the articles but judging by the titles they look fascinating.

My New Studio

I’ve spent most of this week painting, packing, and moving into my new studio. With the recent birth of our second child my wife and I decided it would be best to swap a couple of rooms in our house. My old studio is now our master bedroom and our old bedroom is now my studio.

I’m still tidying up and reorganizing a bit, but here’s some photos of what I’ve done so far. (This is also probably the cleanest it will ever look):

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Here’s where all the magic happens. I bought a Cintiq over a year ago and have been working all-digital ever since. I haven’t used my drawing table in over a year so it’s stored away in the garage.

Having a Cintiq with a second monitor is a really nice setup. When researching a project I can grab reference images from the internet and spread them all over the top monitor and do all my drawing/painting on the Cintiq. In Photoshop I can also have my illustration open twice with two windows (Window > Arrange > New window…). On the Cintiq I’ll zoom in and do detail work while the window on the upper monitor stays zoomed out. Simply by glancing up I can see how the detailed work looks in context with the larger image.

studio5To the left of my desk is my “library corner” and next to it a treadmill. Everyone tells me the recliner looks like a “granny chair”, and they’re right. It used to belong to my Grandma, and it’s super comfortable so I keep it around.

Both the chair and the treadmill are pointed towards my computer monitor in the corner so that I can watch DVD’s and even TV shows. A while back I bought an EyeTV unit which turns my computer into a DVR. Nice!

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Here’s another view of the treadmill. I used to be a runner and in my mid-twenties I regularly ran seven miles at a time. Oh how the mighty have fallen! Over the years I’ve put on a lot of weight and degraded into a marshmallow schlump. Its high time I started losing the weight. I try to walk/run for at least twenty minutes every day (except Sunday) and for the most part I stick to it. It’s also a nice way to take a quick break and re-energize during a midnight stretch on a tight deadline. There’s also a couple of barbells on the floor that I’m getting back into using (baby steps). My job is very sedentary so any exercise I can get is a good thing.

The Batman standee was a gag gift given to me by some friends when I moved to the Minneapolis area back in 2003. He stares down on me to make sure I meet my deadlines.

That’s the nickel tour. If anyone’s interested here’s what my old studio looked like, and here’s some links to the studios of a few other freelancers.

Indiana Jones and the Office Party

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(Indiana Jones is copyright © Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved.)

I stopped doing “realistic” illustration a few years ago and focus primarily on illustrating in a very cartoony style. I enjoy it more, it’s what I’m best at, and it’s much faster which means I can usually earn more per hour. I still do life drawings and portrait studies in my sketchbooks but rarely for clients.

Every once in a while I make an exception.

Last October I was hired by Fig Street Marketing to work on a project for a large corporate client in the computer industry (not sure if I can share the company’s name so I won’t, but it’s one you would recognize). Apparently every year this client hosts a big corporate event themed after a Hollywood franchise. Last year they did James Bond, this year it was Indiana Jones. The client rented the “Indiana Jones Adventure” ride at Disneyland as their locale and hired Fig Street to develop the theme. They even put together a short video spoofing the Indy movies. Fig Street filmed executives dressed as Indiana Jones characters and then digitally inserted them into actual footage from the films.

To decorate the event they produced a giant mural and life-size cardboard standees depicting some of the executives dressed in Indy garb (great for gag photos). My friend Charlie Griak was hired to illustrate the mural and I was hired to illustrate the standees. The male executives were dressed as Indy or as Indy’s father. For the female executives I was asked to invent characters wearing safari-style costumes circa 1930. For reference I was provided with a couple of head shots of each executive and a few clips of the green screen footage. The rest I culled from DVD stills of the movies.

Because the artwork was going to be blown up eight feet tall working in Photoshop would have made the files about a zillion megabytes each, way too large to be practical. So I did the illustrations as vector art in Illustrator. It was a fun project and I was pleased with how it turned out. Soon the client will be sending me pictures from the event. If I get their permission I’ll post those photos as well.

Charlie’s mural really looked fantastic. If and when he posts it online I’ll be sure to link to it.

UPDATE: Here’s two of the final standees sent to me by the client. The photos were taken by the printer. Unfortunately the motorcycle standee was packed up before they could photograph it.

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