February 20, 2007

I was contacted by 72andSunny to create an illustrated ad for AND1 shoes. Initially, I was hesitant to accept the job since they wanted the illustration to surround a photograph of a basketball player (I'd much prefer to create a complete illustration than to decorate a photograph), but I relented after some negotiation over the fee.

> Sketch A, 8.5 x 11", graphite on bond.

The agency and the client liked what I had done with the Black Parade cover, and, in essence, wanted something similiar. I tried to push the piece towards something more surreal, but this sketch was ultimately deemed too weird, and the giant demon on the right too dominant. I reused a 'character' from one of my sketchbook pages, inspired by an Mayan sculpture I had seen in a documentary. We planned for the figure to stand between the wolves, a picture of the shoe to be placed on the left, and for a logo and type to be placed on the cape elements in the composition.

> Sketch B, 8.5 x 11", graphite on bond.

I revised the composition and unfortunately had to lose the large vulture on the demon's arm, which I thought was the most interesting part of the original sketch. I moved the shield away from the gutter to accommodate the "AND1" logo, and resized and shifted everything around until all technical and personal demands were met . . . that is, I wanted to create a composition that could work with the photographic elements and type but also stand on it's own.

> Drawing, 20 x 32", graphite and blue pencil on Rives BFK.

We took out the branches to allow for more depth in the piece, since the agency felt it was too crowded. I drew the flames in blue because I wanted to isolate and extract the lines later on in photoshop.

> Finish, 13.4 x 21.25", Photoshop CS2, 600 dpi.

With each assignment, I try to find some kind of 'innovation' or idea that's new to my visual vocabulary -- it's been really interesting to see how things have grown and evolved over the years. In this case, I took the 'paper tree' effect from an illustration I had done for Entertainment Weekly and applied it to the flames, and I carefully draw some more ornate orange flames to add some moments of incidence to the composition.

You can download a wallpaper of the final illustration here.