My contribution to “Batman Black and White: The Sketch Covers”

Batman Black and White

A couple of years ago, my pal – Writer/Designer extraordinaireChip Kidd, created a short story for DC Comics’ limited series, Batman: Black and White. This particular collector’s edition was wrapped in a mostly blank white cover (with text in place) which allowed readers to use their talents and imagination to create their own original artwork for the cover.

Chip took the idea a step further and began asking well-known artists and illustrators to take a stab at creating a cover in their own unique styles. I was really excited when Chip asked me to participate a while back, particularly when I heard about some of the other artists who would be lending their own talents to the project…many are personal favorites. (You can check out the list of contributors HERE.) And, Chip offered us carte blanche to create whatever we wanted to do.

Batman SerialI was definitely a comic book geek when I was a kid. I loved anything DC, and I was a huge fan of the campy old TV series with Adam West. Batman was first portrayed on screen by an actor named Lewis Wilson in a movie serial released in 1943. When I was ten, my folks dropped my older brother and myself off at an independent movie theater that was doing a retrospective of old serials, and we enthusiastically sat through all 15 cliff-hanger episodes – almost 5 hours! I chose to feature a portrait of Wilson for my cover because I thought it might be unique (it appears that actors who portrayed superheroes back then weren’t pressured to spend as much time in the gym as they are today) but mostly – I just have terrific memories of sitting in the dark with my brother that day, enjoying the movie and eating lots of crap.

Chip’s collection of original covers (eighty-eight, so far) are presently on exhibit through November 7th at the Society of Illustrators Museum in NYC, with an opening reception planned for October 7th. For more information and tickets, go HERE. And perhaps the very best part: DC Comics will publish a coffee table book featuring the collection next year with proceeds going to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Batman Exhibit

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Pen & Ink Portraits for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

SmithsonianLast year, I was commissioned by the Smithsonian Museum of American History to create a series of portraits for their new permanent exhibit, “American Enterprise”. A sampling of these drawings is featured above.

American EnterpriseAmerican Enterprise chronicles the tumultuous interaction of capitalism and democracy that resulted in the continual remaking of American business—and American life. Visitors will be immersed in the dramatic arc of labor, power, wealth, success, and failure in America in an 8,000-square-foot space focused on the role of business and innovation from the mid-1700s to the present. Through captivating objects and engaging interactive displays, visitors can trace the country’s development from a small, dependent agricultural nation to one of the world’s most vibrant economies.

The exhibition officially opened to the public on July 1st. My pen & ink portraits are featured on the entry walls for each of the four major eras in American business history chronicled (Merchant, Corporate, Consumer, Global), as well as the accompanying website and companion book, American Enterprise: A History of Business in America.

American EnterpriseAmerican Enterprise

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Happy Earth Day

Earth + Gas MaskBack in the late nineties, when times were a bit lean for many of us illustrators, I spent some of my “free” time beefing up my portfolio with new images – hoping to broaden my range a bit. Although I favored cartooning in college, I was probably best known professionally for my photo-realistic drawings.

In my effort to combine the two styles, I created this drawing of Earth wearing a gas mask. The line work is noticeably bolder and more whimsical, but I tried to keep the textures refined and life-like. I really liked this addition to my book, and I was able to convince a few clients to experiment with the new look – one example is the Ortega Salsa ad below –

Ortega Salsa

Posted in Drawing, Earth Day, Illustration, Line Art, News, Pen & Ink, Pen & Ink Drawing, Pen & Ink Illustration, Pen & Ink Portrait, Pen and Ink, Product, Stipple, Stipple drawing, Stipple Illustration, Stipple Portrait | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Watercolor Portrait of Eurythmics – Annie Lennox & Dave Stewart

EurythmicsBack in 1985, I was commissioned by Rolling Stone Magazine to create a watercolor portrait of Eurythmics – Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart. Their fifth studio album, “Be Yourself Tonight,” was released that year to great reviews and popularity. I loved the album myself…I’m sure I wore the grooves out listening to it over and over again. (And of course, I owned a cassette version for my car too.)

Around this time, I had just started to take on commissions outside my local Los Angeles area. Obviously, this was way before we had computers that could scan our original drawings, and overnight delivery by Federal Express was relatively new and made some clients with inflexible deadlines pretty nervous. As it happens, Rolling Stone had quite a bit of lead time for this project, and being such a huge fan – I was thrilled to take it on!

Nostalgia - Annie LennoxHere we are twenty-nine years later, and I am just as excited about this week’s release of Lennox’s newest album, “Nostalgia”.

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Portrait of Martine Rothblatt

Watercolor portrait of Martine Rothblatt by Randy GlassNew York Magazine - Martine RothblattI see that Martine Rothblatt adorns the cover of the newest issue of New York Magazine. I realize that she’s not quite a household name – yet – but she’s pretty darn fascinating and this profile is a great read. On her extensive list of accomplishments, she created Sirius Radio back in the ’90s, and today is the CEO of United Therapeutics Corporation.

More recently, Rothblatt and UTC founded Lung Biotechnology, a separate resource focusing on therapies and treatments of lung disease. This past winter, I had the pleasure of working with Martine, to create her portrait – plus several members of her team for the launch of their new website, which you can check out here.

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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.

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.

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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