World Cup Final

Pen & ink stipple illustration of a soccer / football player for ModeloThe 2014 World Cup has finally come to an end, so congrats to Germany! Let’s all exhale collectively now that it’s over, and turn our attentions back to what’s really important…my illustration work.

Back in 1993, I created a series of three sports-related portraits for a Modelo Beer billboard campaign. (I wrote about another drawing in the series a while back, and you can check out that posting here.) For the Soccer (Football) player, I asked my buddy, Phil to throw on soccer garb and pose. He actually struck a balletic position for my reference photos – upright with his arms stretched above him. It was easy enough to simply turn him sideways as I drew.  I rendered the ball separately and pasted it in place…with paste (we’re talking twenty years ago, folks).

I remember just loving the challenge of creating the intricate textures of his gloves and waistband in my pen & ink stippling technique, something I’m not quite sure I’d have the patience for today.

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Posted in Drawing, FIFA, Football, News, Pen & Ink, Pen & Ink Drawing, Pen & Ink Illustration, Pen & Ink Portrait, Pen and Ink, Portraits, Soccer, Sports, Stipple, Stipple drawing, Stipple Illustration, Stipple Portrait, World Cup, World Cup Finals | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kahlúa & Spam

Kahlua & SpamEarly in my career as an illustrator, I made time for personal projects…unique pieces to build my portfolio or enter competitions.

I don’t often have the opportunity to work in color these days, but back in the late ’80s, I wanted to create a piece that would specifically show off my food and beverage rendering skills using a full watercolor pallet.

Kahlúa had a very successful campaign at the time featuring their liquor – enticingly partnered with other products like cream or coffee. I loved the look of these ads and decided to expand on their theme with my own photo-realistic-with-a-bit-of-painterly-quality rendering.

Kahlua AdsI was pretty green at the time and it simply never occurred to me to photograph the subject first and then recreate that image in watercolor. I actually set the damn still life up just a few inches away from my drawing board and started with a traditional pencil sketch. Words cannot express how unpleasant a slice of Spam lying in a little glass of Kahlua smells after a few days. My dog went from trying desperately to reach the table so that he could eat the canned meat to keeping his distance in another part of the studio.

KahluaTypedetailI created every last tiny detail of the label by hand as well, and if you look closely you’ll notice that I sneaked-in my dog lifting his leg against one of the buildings in the foreground.

The completed piece did win an award from The Society of Illustrators that year, and ironically, it was reproduced in their show’s catalog…in black and white.

Posted in Drawing, Food, Food & Beverage, Kahlua, Product, Spam, Watercolor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My WSJ Portrait of Peter Dinklage

Pen & ink portrait (hedcut) of Peter Dinklage, created for the Wall Street Journal by Randy GlassOkay, at the risk of alienating some of my friends and family – not to mention readers of this blog – I will admit that I don’t watch “Game of Thrones”. I’ve never even paid attention to its commercials or extended trailers. I have been known to binge-watch with the best of ’em. I watched all 62 episodes of “Breaking Bad” over a three-month stretch, and two full seasons of “House of Cards” in just a few days. And – I can only spend so many hours sitting on my ass in front of a television, y’know?

Having said that, I will admit to being a big fan of Peter Dinklage. I was first introduced to this terrific actor in a small, independent film (that I really loved) called “The Station Agent” back in 2003.

In 2007, he played a pivotal role in the ensemble cast of a British farce called “Death at a Funeral”. Three years later I had the opportunity to create a hedcut portrait of him for The Wall Street Journal film review of the American remake. This all-new version had a completely different cast – with the exception of Dinklage who reprised his role. Oddly, his character’s name was changed – from Peter to Frank. Perhaps they thought Americans wouldn’t be able to differentiate the character from the actor.

I sincerely hope that my friends who watch (are obsessed with?) “Game of Thrones” enjoy its season premiere this coming Sunday.

Posted in Celebrity, Drawing, Game of Thrones, hedcut, Pen & Ink, Pen & Ink Drawing, Pen & Ink Illustration, Pen & Ink Portrait, Pen and Ink, Peter Dinklage, Portrait of Peter Dinklage, 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

Wall Street Journal Hedcuts of Philip Seymour Hoffman

Wall Street Journal hedcut of Philip Seymour Hoffman by Randy GlassMy most recent posting commemorated the life and career of Actor, Peter O’Toole who died in mid-December. I wish I weren’t in the position to repeat myself here, but another wonderful actor has died…one that I had the opportunity to render in two separate Wall Street Journal portraits.

I’d have to say that Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of my own favorite actors, and I was really stunned to hear of his passing yesterday morning. As it happens, I was channel-surfing just a few nights ago and came upon Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master”, which I’d already seen…but I just had to spend a few minutes enjoying his performance again – one of many that I’ll never forget.

Pen & ink stipple portrait of Philip Seymour Hoffman, created for the Wall Street Journal by Randy GlassBoth of the hedcut portraits I created for The Wall Street Journal of Hoffman were for his Oscar-winning portrayal of Truman Capote.  The first accompanied an article that Joe Morgenstern wrote discussing several terrific films he’d seen at the 2005 Telluride Film Festival. A few weeks after that drawing appeared, Bennett Miller’s “Capote” opened in theaters, and a new portrait was featured alongside Morgenstern’s enthusiastic review.

I really admired this guy and I’m sad that he’s gone.

Posted in Academy Awards, hedcut, Oscars, Pen & Ink, Pen & Ink Drawing, Pen & Ink Illustration, Pen & Ink Portrait, Pen and Ink, Portrait of Philip Seymour Hoffman, 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

My Wall Street Journal Hedcut of Peter O’Toole

Portrait of Peter O'Toolev - created for the Wall Street Journal by Randy GlassI was very sorry to hear of Peter O’Toole’s passing on Sunday.

I always thought he was a pretty fun and surprising actor. Lawrence of Arabia – probably his most celebrated film – was a bit before my time. I’d caught it on television over the years but I was finally able to see it on the big screen when it was re-released for its 25th anniversary in 1987, and loved it.

I had the opportunity to create a hedcut of him for The Wall Street Journal back in 2006 for his last Oscar-nominated role in Venus, directed by Roger Michell. His still handsome, “lived-in” facial features made him a wonderful subject to draw.

Posted in Academy Awards, Celebrity, Drawing, Hecuts, Line Art, Oscars, Pen & Ink, Pen & Ink Drawing, Pen & Ink Illustration, Pen & Ink Portrait, Pen and Ink, Portrait of Peter O'Toole, 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 Michael J. Fox

Portrait-Stipple-MJFox2“The Michael J. Fox Show” premieres tomorrow night on NBC. Guess I’ll have to record it…Thursday is my bowling night!

Twenty-five years ago, I was commissioned to create a portrait of Fox for Universal Studios. I honestly don’t recall what they used the drawing for. I do remember that the Back to the Future films were an awfully big deal at the time, but the assignment was to draw Michael as himself – not as a particular character.

Back then, watercolor / guache was my preferred medium for portrait work. I was also building a portfolio of pen & ink stipple drawings that were a style favored by ad agencies for product illustration. This project was one of my first attempts to apply my stipple techniques to portraiture.

I sat in on Michael’s photo shoot with photographer Tony Costa. We enjoyed a pretty friendly rapport, I think, mostly because we were about the same size (and still able to buy some of our clothes in the boys department).

I’ve actually done very few portraits in this tighter, more traditional stippling technique since then – preferring the more precise dot patterns of the Wall Street Journal’s “hedcut” style, but I always liked the way this drawing turned out, and the client did too.

Posted in Celebrity, Drawing, Hecuts, News, Pen & Ink, Pen & Ink Drawing, Pen & Ink Illustration, Pen & Ink Portrait, Pen and Ink, Portrait of Michael J Fox, Portraits, Stipple, Stipple drawing, Stipple Illustration, Stipple Portrait, Wall Street Journal Hedcut, Wall Street Journal Portrait | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Two WSJ Hedcuts of Forest Whitaker

Pen & ink stipple portrait of Forest WhitakerI saw the film, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey this past weekend and enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would (the previews made me roll my eyes a bit, particularly when I saw their casting choices for some of the U.S. Presidents).

Back in 2006, Whitaker portrayed Idi Amin in Kevin Macdonald’s “The Last King of Scotland.” The Wall Street Journal’s Joe Morgenstern saw an early screening of the film at the Telluride Film Festival and called me from Colorado to sing the film’s praises – particularly Whitaker’s performance which he felt was one of the finest he’d ever seen. Joe wrote a special column from this festival each year and asking me to create a hedcut of Whitaker to be featured within what was an obvious choice.

Just three weeks later, the film opened in the U.S. and Joe wrote a more thorough review. He described Whitaker’s performance as “enormous, mercurial, terrifying, endlessly seductive and, more simply put, one of the great performances of modern movie history.” The WSJ often preferred to commission new drawings rather than reproduce recently used hedcuts, so I had the opportunity to try my hand at Whitaker a second time.

Pen & ink stipple portrait of Forest Whitaker by Randy GlassIn 2009,  several dozen of my original pen & ink heduts for the WSJ were featured in an exhibit at the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood. A representative for Mr. Whitaker contacted me and made arrangements for him to purchase both drawings.

As it happens, earlier this year I was standing in line for popcorn at another movie theater in the Los Angeles area, and Whitaker was standing right in front of me with his family. I don’t make a habit of annoying celebrities when they’re out in public, but I did introduce myself. My description of the portraits brought that famous big, toothy smile to his face. He said the drawings were hanging in his den…very cool.

Posted in Celebrity, Drawing, Forest Whitaker, Hecuts, News, Oscars, Pen & Ink, Pen & Ink Drawing, Pen & Ink Illustration, Pen & Ink Portrait, Pen and Ink, Portrait of Forest Whitaker, 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 Portraits for “Feed the Pig” Campaign

Portraits for Ad CouncilThis summer I had a blast working on a new project with the creative folks at KSB+Partners. I created pen & ink stipple portraits to be featured in five new ads – billboards, bus benches and print – for a new national campaign called “Feed the Pig,” sponsored by The Advertising Council and The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

Our models were conveniently chosen from the many beautiful faces that walk the halls of KSB+P’s NYC offices: Carla, Melissa, Daniel, Yash and Chris. Keep an eye out for these ads as they’ll be popping up in cities across America any time now…

Portrait for Ad Council

Posted in AICPA, Corporate, Drawing, Feed the Pig, Hecuts, Line Art, News, Pen & Ink, Pen & Ink Drawing, Pen & Ink Illustration, Pen & Ink Portrait, Pen and Ink, Portraits, Stipple, Stipple drawing, Stipple Illustration, Stipple Portrait, The Ad Council, The Advertising Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Creating “The Mexican” with Gore Verbinski

The MexicanGore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer opens nationwide today. It sure could be fun. I like the cast…

Back in 2000 I had a unique opportunity to work with Verbinski on his second directorial effort, The Mexican. I was brought into the project by the film’s art department coordinator, Ashley Sibille, who felt that some of the highly-detailed drawings in my portfolio qualified me to help create the intricately designed focal point of the film: an antique gun named “the Mexican.”

When I first came onto the project, this was intended to be a small, low-budget,  independent feature. When Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt decided to come on board as its stars, we were suddenly working on an entirely different scale. (The late, great James Galdolfini is third-billed for a performance that shouldn’t be missed!)

I created dozens of preliminary sketches for the gun, incorporating different elements that Verbinski envisioned, like a heart-shaped cylinder and snake trigger which became parts of the final design, and a swan-like hammer which didn’t. Like most illustrators, I often think that incessant revisions can be a headache, but I will admit that each and every time Gore asked me to try something new, I found his ideas imaginative and exciting. The formation of the gun continued to improve every time we met and I remember that interpreting his brilliant vision and playing with him in general a totally inspiring experience.

Gun sketches for "The Mexican"Once the gun’s final design received an official thumbs-up, individual elements were separated to refine and delineate their construction. This was supposed to be a very old gun, so after studying firearms of the period, we chose different woods and metals for their authenticity. I created detailed filigree drawings for each of the metal components which the prop department recreated with amazing precision.

Metal pieces for the gun in "The Mexican"

I found it fascinating to see my drawings translated into the actual prop guns. Several versions were created for different interpretations in the film. An especially neat cut-away model was built so that one scene could be filmed from the gun’s point of view. As it happens, I didn’t receive a mention in the film’s closing credits, but I still remember the experience fondly enough to write about it all these years later. Besides, I have a special drawer in my studio filled with all the efforts that led to the final incarnation of The Mexican.

Final design for the gun from "The Mexican"

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My WSJ Hedcuts from “Monsters, Inc.”

Monsters, Inc.I always get pretty excited when a new film from Pixar is released so I won’t be surprised if “Monsters University” becomes part of my plans this weekend.

Amazingly, “Monsters, Inc.” is already a dozen years old! When it was released in 2001, Joe Morgenstern said I could choose either of the film’s leading “men” for the hedcut I’d draw to accompany his film review that week. I always thought it was neat to apply the Journal’s iconic stipple technique to cartoon characters. I decided that Sulley, the big blue hairy guy voiced by John Goodman, would be more conducive to the Wall Street Journal’s traditional dot drawings. Besides…I wasn’t sure how I could fit the round, one-eyed Mike in my allotted one-column space.

Several months later, a few of my original pen & ink WSJ hedcuts were featured in a group exhibit at a Los Angeles art gallery, and a Pixar enthusiast purchased my portrait of Sulley. He then commissioned me to create a separate portrait of Mike so that they could hang together as a pair…after all, the characters are best friends. So, I got the opportunity to squeeze the cartoon cyclops into the odd vertical frame, after all.

 

Posted in Hecuts, Inc., Line Art, Monsters University, News, 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