Pen & Ink Portraits of George Will and Sandra Day O’Connor

Portrait of George Will

I’m enjoying a fun, new (hopefully ongoing) gig this year – creating pen & ink portraits for the back page of Washington Lawyer MagazineArt Directed by Jodi Bloom at Design Farm.

My first assignment was a drawing of George Will – a conservative political columnist for The Washington Post. He and I don’t always see eye-to-eye (to say the least), but I do think he’s an awfully smart writer, and I do appreciate the sanity he will sometimes bring to a conservative viewpoint. Bottom line – he recently left the Republican Party over his disapproval of Trump, which made me respect him all the more.

A more recent portrait was of retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Despite the fact that she was appointed by Ronald Reagan, I have always thought of her as a more liberal voice (and vote) on the court, so I was surprised to learn that she considers herself a moderate Republican. 

Sandra Day O'Connor

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Posted in Celebrity, George Will, Pen & Ink, Pen and Ink, Portraits, Sandra Day O'Connor, Stipple, Stipple drawing, Stipple Portrait, Wall Street Journal Drawing, Wall Street Journal Hedcut, Wall Street Journal Portrait, Washington Lawyer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pen and Ink Stipple Portrait (Hedcut) of Donald Trump

Donald TrumpBecause my work is usually so precise and detailed, sometimes I like to loosen myself up with a Life-Drawing class now and then. A while back I spent a day sketching a young woman who posed for us while breast-feeding her child. It was a really lovely composition, but what made the visual a bit jarring was that the child was actually about 6 years old. I liked one of the completed sketches enough to hang it in my studio for awhile. It was interesting to observe the reaction of folks who happened to see it because it was usually presumed that I had drawn the pair inaccurately – the size relationship a bit off-kilter. Of course, I would become defensive…explaining that I had drawn the two of them exactly as I’d seen them.

Drawing Donald Trump presents a similar conundrum. I’ve drawn a zillion portraits over the years so I’ve learned a lot about how the various elements of a face work together…how age can affect the skin…how hair grows out of the scalp and so on. I know this isn’t a startling revelation, but Mr. Trump’s hair simply doesn’t make any sense; one clump of hair will be combed to the right while other strands will cross right over them to the left. Skin tones might vary quite a bit on anyone’s face but there is usually a natural gradation rather than starkly contrasting darks and lights. Bottom line – I really tried to make him look as pleasant as I could for my client.

I have a pretty firm policy of not combining politics with business, and I sure don’t want to start now. Frankly, I didn’t vote for the guy, but I will always strive for a happy and professional working relationship with anyone who might have a different point of view. I always try to play well with others. As an olive branch to Mr. Trump’s most enthusiastic base, let me put it this way…

Untitled-1

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Portraits for AT&T’s Corporate Headquarters in Dallas

 

AT&T Corporate HeadquartersAfter his invention of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell founded Bell Telephone Company in 1882, which (to make a long story short) later became American Telephone and Telegraph Company – or AT&T. Today, their corporate headquarters are in Dallas, TX.

I was recently commissioned to create graphite portraits of Bell and about two dozen additional people of significance to their history. The drawings were reproduced on metal plaques and are hanging in their lobby and executive boardroom. Here is a partial sampling of the original drawings.

AT&T Portraits

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New Pen & Ink Portraits of Xi Jinping, Jack Ma and Steve Jobs

Xi JinpingI often use this space to share hedcuts of celebrities that I’ve created for The Wall Street Journal over the years – usually coinciding with a new film opening. It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recent effort, so here are a few brand new, hot-off-the-drawing-board portraits.

I just put the finishing dots on the drawing above of Xi Jinping, the President of the People’s Republic of China. And speaking of China, Jack Ma (below, left), the founder of Alibaba Group is one of China’s (and the world’s) most successful businessmen and entrepreneurs. He has often been referred to as “the Chinese Steve Jobs” – who was the subject of another of my recent hedcut portraits (below, right).

Jack Ma | Steve Jobs

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WSJ Hedcut Portraits of Dwayne Johnson and Johnny Depp

Dwayne Johnson / Johnny Depp

A couple of heavily promoted blockbuster-hopefuls opened over the Memorial Day weekend: Baywatch and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Frankly, I have zero interest in seeing either one of ’em, but I suspect they’ll both be huge hits, so good for them.

I had the opportunity to create “hedcut” portraits of the stars of both films in the past for The Wall Street Journal. When I drew Dwayne Johnson back in 2003 for a movie called The Rundown, he was still being billed professionally as “The Rock”. My portrait of Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow was from 2007’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.

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Wall Street Journal Hedcuts of Samuel L. Jackson…and Kong

Samuel L. Jackson

Kong: Skull Island opens in theaters today and I actually got tickets to see it over the weekend! One of its stars also happens to be one of my favorite actors – Samuel L. Jackson. I had the opportunity to create five separate hedcuts of him for The Wall Street Journal over the years, and two that I particularly like are above. (Interesting that he is looking off to the left in both portraits.) The first drawing is from the 2003 film, S.W.A.T., and the second is from 2006’s Freedomland.

King Kong

 

Back in 2005, I created a hedcut for the Journal of the big ape himself for Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong. It was definitely a fun change of pace from my more traditional portraits, but boy – all that facial hair sure took lots of dots!

Posted in Celebrity, Drawing, hedcut, Illustration, King Kong, Kong, Kong: Skull Island, Pen & Ink, Pen & Ink Drawing, Pen & Ink Illustration, Pen & Ink Portrait, Pen and Ink, Portrait of Samuel L. Jackson, Portraits, Samuel L. Jackson, Stipple, Stipple drawing, Stipple Illustration, Stipple Portrait, Wall Street Journal, Wall Street Journal Drawing, Wall Street Journal Hedcut, Wall Street Journal Portrait | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cover Artwork for “His Girl Friday”, Starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell

His Girl Friday

I have long admired the folks at The Criterion Collection, a film distribution company that specializes in restoring and re-releasing important classic and contemporary films targeted at film aficionados. They have also received lots of praise over the years for their first-class and imaginative packaging design.

His Girl Friday Cover ArtThis past fall I was commissioned to create an illustration to be used for the cover of their brand new, digital restoration of Howard Hawks’ 1940 classic, His Girl Friday starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. An adaptation of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s play, The Front Page, the entire film takes place in a fast-paced metropolitan newsroom, and the folks at Criterion were looking for an illustration that would emulate the pen & ink drawing styles popular in newspapers at that time.

This beautiful boxed set, which includes a generous collection of extra features, was released this past month, and is available directly from The Criterion Collection’s website, Amazon, or wherever media is sold.

Posted in Academy Awards, Celebrity, Illustration, News, Pen & Ink, Pen & Ink Drawing, Pen & Ink Illustration, Pen & Ink Portrait, Pen and Ink, Stipple, Stipple drawing, Stipple Illustration, Stipple Portrait | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pen and Ink Stipple Portrait of Amy Adams

Amy AdamsThis past week I’ve noticed that people in my life are posting lots of pictures and videos of cute puppies and kittens – in an effort to get our minds off the election results. Anything to bring a much needed smile to our faces…

Well, the Hollywood equivalent of one of these joy-inducing distractions might just be Amy Adams. To me, she has been a consistently warm and wonderful actress, and this post-election season brings us not one but two opportunities to enjoy her talents.

I saw Denis Villeneuve’s “The Arrival” this past weekend and thought it was pretty terrific. Surprising and thought-provoking, with a central performance by Adams that I suspect will make her a front-runner during awards season.

Adams stars again this coming weekend in Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals”, costarring Jake Gyllenhaal, and previews would suggest a stark contrast to her earlier role. I’m looking forward to it!

In 2007, I had the opportunity to create a hedcut of Adams for The Wall Street Journal, accompanying the review for her very first starring role, in Disney’s “Enchanted”.

Posted in Academy Awards, Celebrity, hedcut, Illustration, Pen & Ink, Pen & Ink Drawing, Pen & Ink Illustration, Pen & Ink Portrait, Pen and Ink, Portraits, Stipple, Stipple drawing, Stipple Illustration, Stipple Portrait, Wall Street Journal, Wall Street Journal Drawing, Wall Street Journal Hedcut, Wall Street Journal Portrait | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pen & Ink Stipple Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth IIThe first season of Peter Morgan’s “The Crown” premieres tonight on Netflix, and I can’t wait! Morgan wrote the film “The Queen” and the play “The Audience” – both featuring Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II, and I loved both! I saw “The Audience” on Broadway last year, and similarly, this new limited series portrays Elizabeth from a young woman through present day. Stephen Daldry, who directed the play, also helmed the first of ten episodes.

Recently, I was commissioned by a publisher in Great Britain to create a pen and ink drawing of Queen Elizabeth using her official 1977 Silver Jubilee portrait from newspapers as my reference. A nice opportunity … and I learned that I do not really enjoy drawing crowns.

Posted in Celebrity, Drawing, Hecuts, hedcut, Helen Mirren, Illustration, News, Pen & Ink, Pen & Ink Drawing, Pen & Ink Illustration, Pen & Ink Portrait, Pen and Ink, Peter Morgan, Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, Portraits, Queen Elizabeth II, Silver Jubilee, Stipple, Stipple drawing, Stipple Illustration, Stipple Portrait, The Crown, Wall Street Journal Hedcut, Wall Street Journal Portrait | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wall Street Journal Hedcuts of Tom Hanks

Tom HanksTom Hanks’ new movie “Sully” opened this past weekend to pretty good reviews. I rarely get the opportunity to create portraits of celebrities for the Wall Street Journal anymore, but drawing Hanks with Airline Pilot Chesley Sullenberger’s recognizably bright white hair and mustache might’ve been a fun challenge!

I’ve drawn Tom Hanks for the Journal innumerable times over the years, so I thought I’d share a few here. The first two are particularly interesting because of the way his appearance was altered for the roles he was playing. He wore a prosthetic nose and teeth for Joel and Ethan Coen’s “The Ladykillers” (2004), and was animated as the Conductor in Robert Zemeckis’s “The Polar Express” (2004). In Steven Spielberg’s “The Terminal” (2004), Hanks played a gentleman named Viktor Navorski. He looked completely natural but spoke with an Eastern European accent (can you tell by the drawing?). Finally, in Ron Howard’s “The Da Vinci Code” (2006), Tom played Dr. Robert Langdon with uncustomary long hair.

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