Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tag Sale

So, here's my latest cover, which I must confess, I have mixed feelings about. I wish I could say it was a victory, but I'm afraid the painting got away from me. I fussed with it longer than I should have and made the mistake of taking my reference too seriously. "Brownstone steps are red," I observed, "therefore I shall paint these brownstone steps red". I broke the cardinal rule, "Take what you need and throw out the rest." If I'd just placed the objects the dog is selling on a lighter, more neutral color, the result would not be the chaotic, hodge-podge you see before you. At my request, Françoise Mouly the art director at the New Yorker, did her best to finesse the color digitally, but alas, it couldn't change my feelings about the piece. I am looking forward to my next cover being my best cover.

All that said, it is still a nice way to introduce you to our newish dog, who, to my shame, has not appeared in a drawing or on this blog for the two years we have owned him. Meet, Henry Biscuit, a labrador mix who is a terrified neurotic on the streets of Brooklyn, but is a normal, happy puppy in the rolling hills of the countryside.

Aren't we all, though?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Microvisionaries (UPDATED!)

The Microvisions auction is live here!

My pals Irene Gallo, the art director who has done more to support and publish the art of fantastic illustration in the last decade than anyone else I can think of and Greg Manchess, one of the most fantastic of those illustrators of the fantastic, invited me to participate in a small group show called Microvisions. When I say small, I refer not only to the number of artists invited, (there are only a dozen) but also to the size of the pieces submitted. Subject matter was completely unrestricted but the artwork must be done at only 5X7 inches.
When Greg called me to ask whether I'd be interested, I registered some wariness. "How involved do these things get?", I asked.  He laughed cheerfully and said "Oh, don't worry, Pete, it's tiny and all you have to do is a little, iddy-biddy sketch! Do one of your funny birds or something!" "Okay, Greg, I'll do it!"I said, like a lamb to slaughter.
What then followed was a steady and relentless pounding by my fellow Microvisionaries as one after another, they modestly submitted their masterpieces. I kid you not, almost every one of these things looks like it was painted at 5X7 feet, with stunning rendering and absurd detail. And those that were not painted, are still gorgeous, completely defying the size restriction. As you can see, I ended up doing a hairy little sketch after all, but I am still very happy to be included with this amazing bunch of artists.
Go HERE if you want to see a partial preview.
The goal of the show, by the way, is to have an Ebay auction to benefit the Society of Illustrator's Student Scholarship Fund.  Irene and Greg have yet to post the details of the auction but here is a link to the show which will be on view at the Society of Illustrators from April 17th to May 12th.
As a side note, I have to add what camaraderie each and every member of this group displayed during the course of submitting our work. The encouragement, humor and mutual respect was such a delightful and unexpected pleasure and I feel like we've begun a conversation that all of us are eager to continue.
Here's the complete list of the featured artists:

Scott Bakal
Julie Bell
Scott Brundage
Brian Despain
Nathan Fowkes
Rebecca Guay
Scott Gustafson
John Picacio
Dan Dos Santos
Chris Rahn
Terry Whitlach