Monday, December 13, 2010

Yes, Virginia... we have an 18 ft. Christmas tree!

Several years ago, my daughter, Natalie, started a bit a of a tradition. Never one to do what is small, easy, or what everyone else is doing (yes, she reminds me of me), she wanted to see how big a tree we could fit in our home. This year is probably the biggest at around 18 feet!
Coming out of my studio,
I am greeted by this marvelous sight...
Making my way around the balcony
toward the stairs
(that's my studio door behind the tree)...

Looking up from the landing...

And finally, the view from the dining room!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Balsa Gliders at Barnes and Noble

There's never a bad time for some shameless promotion. If you visit your local Barnes and Noble (or if you want to drive to visit one far away) and visit the bargain section, you will find a display of kits on sale for Christmas (or "the holidays" for those who are easily offended). 

Amongst the piles of boxes you should find kits for making balsa gliders. Not those cheesy, styrofoam, poor-excuse-for-a-glider kind that most kids today have played with.

And here comes the promotion part... ready... I designed and illustrated the box cover! Honestly, I've been a designer/illustrator for over 30 years and I still get jazzed when I see my stuff in print.

So buy one or two or three for the kids in your life and tell them, "I know the guy who did this!" I don't get any royalties, but you'll have the audacious pleasure of boasting to your friends that you know someone minimally famous.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Strata 3D for 99 cents?!?

Here's a great opportunity for anyone who has had the slightest desire to delve into the world of 3D graphics. Strata 3D, the 3D software I use for most of my 3D work, is offering SE, their entry level version, for only 99 cents! I feel like I should be talking in a radio announcer's voice and offering some free steak knives if you act now. Click here to view the offer.

Stop by to view work in Strata by a host of artists. And while you're there, take a look at some of the work I've done with Strata.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Welcome, Levi!

Last night, my oldest daughter, Alayna, gave birth to a son, Levi Justice Wetherhead. For all the ladies, he came in at 9lbs 2.5oz, 21in. I could wax philosophical or blubber on and on, but suffice it to say he's beautiful, I'm so proud of my daughter and son-in-law, and Donna and I are excited to be grandparents. I love my family.

Levi Justice Wetherhead, 3 hours old.

Ryan and Alayna, exhausted but happy mom and dad.

My wife, Donna, and Alayna.

Glad (and gorgeous) grandma.

Aunt Lydia

Aunt Natalie

Auntie Emma (not sure yet what to do with a crying baby)

Natalie taking a pic with her iPhone.

And, of course, Papa.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Calling All Retro Junkies!

My dad had one of these. I remember it being a light tan. And I also remember how much he hated it! He never bought another Ford again.
Pardon my reminiscing, but I'm sure you will too if you visit
What a find! I can't believe I had never seen this site before. It's a great place for reference material, sparking the old creative juices, or just strolling down memory lane (at least for us gray-hairs).

Monday, May 17, 2010

Oak Bluffs Gingerbread

Our kids gave us a gift certificate for a weekend away to a bed and breakfast. We decided to go to Cape Cod. Yesterday we spent the day at Martha's Vineyard. Had some fun taking pics in Oak Bluffs.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sketching on a Napkin

In the short period of time I worked for Tom Fowler, he instilled in me the importance of serving your clients. As much as you might want to scream and yell, the customer is the one who makes the final decisions and pays the bills. Nothing was ever impossible for Tom, and he believed you could create something good for your client no matter how tight the deadline.

That ethic served me and my clients well when I worked at Union Carbide as their Senior Designer. I would often have to create publications for employees on a very tight deadline.

I found this two color booklet created in 1994 to announce a new employee medical plan. I hate using clip art, and the booklet needed spot illustrations. I remember grabbing a felt tip pen and a napkin and sketching some quick, small images and then scanning them in at high resolution. I liked the feel of the images, the communications department was happy, and the employees got something more than just a booklet full of copy.

Never say never. Where there's a will there's a way. Don't give up the ship. I think you know what I mean. When we get pushed we can either give up or get creative. Be thankful for the people that push you to be and do your best.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Purple Paper Petals

Here's another image I dug out of that old portfolio case. I went through a period where I loved experimenting with colored pencil on colored papers. Being a designer at a corporation, I was always receiving samples from paper manufacturers. I still have several drawers full of papers, many that aren't milled anymore.

My wife has a beautiful garden in our back yard, and every year I look forward to the purple and white irises. They are such regal flowers. I sketched this from a photo while sitting on a beach in Cape Cod... probably about 15 years ago or more. One of these days I might actually get around to framing some of this stuff.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Like a Bug on a Windshield...

I was cleaning out an old portfolio case and found a bunch of black and white drawings I created while working at Union Carbide. I found the timing interesting. I have just finished my thesis, and one of the remarks I made was how liberating the MFA program has been for me, especially with regard to my thesis project. Here's the excerpt:

"There also were influences that I had to overcome in order to fully embrace this project. From 1985 to 2001, I was employed as the Senior Designer at Union Carbide Corporation. I was often asked to create characters for announcements, newsletters and invitations. I continually played with a host of styles, finding personal satisfaction in the work, even though the majority of my clients viewed the drawings as fun but unimportant. To keep my skills fresh and to stay awake during long meetings, I sketched caricatures of the speaker or the creative staff. But because of client feedback, I never saw them as something to be taken seriously."

So, here's one of those old assignments. I created an illustration of bugs smashed against a windshield for a product ad. It's fun to look back, especially with new eyes.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Miracle Worker

In July 2008, Vin DiFate gave a presentation on several genres of illustration, including science fiction, movie posters and pulp fiction book covers. Guided by DiFate, we were directed to create a poster in our own style for one of our favorite movies. I created a poster for the 1962 classic, The Miracle Worker. I studied a number of screen shots of the film and created a 3D model of Anne Bancroft, who played the role of Annie Sullivan, instructor and companion of Helen Keller. I photographed my daughter, Emma, to represent Patty Duke, who played the part of young Ms. Keller. Bancroft’s large scale represents the enormous influence she had on Keller. The field in the foreground was created with several Photoshop brushes made from grass stalks drawn in Illustrator.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Breakfast at Mary's Diner

For years, a family tradition has been to set aside Wednesday morning for one-on-one breakfast with Dad. Starting with Donna, and then my daughters, oldest to youngest, we have a number of places we've visited over the years. One of them is Mary's Diner, a typical neighborhood breakfast haunt that may not make the greatest coffee but offers a cheap but good special... as long as you get there before 8 am. When I go with Emma, we usually take her Doodle-Pro (see April 4, 2009) and sketch a few faces after we're done eating. Of course, I flip over the place mat and sketch a bit while we're waiting for our order. Here's today's gallery. The two characters in the middle at the top are Emma's favorites, Mr. and Mrs. Fitz. Emma's the cute one on the lower right

Friday, April 16, 2010

Portrait Portfolio

Two years ago I taught an evening illustration class at Paier College of Art. One of my students,
Magge Gagliardi, is a very talented young illustrator. I am pleased to say she is planning on getting her MFA from University of Hartford. Last night, while having dinner with our family, she offered to take samples of my portraits to a gallery where she is showing some of her work. I decided to put together a flash presentation of portraits... a single place where I can direct people who want to see the work.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Gertrude Ederle, America's Girl

After each of our sessions together in the MFA program, we are given an illustration assignment. Normally the theme of the assignment is based on the location we have just visited. However, with our summer sessions in Hartford, the assignments take on a whole new flavor.

Murray Tinkelman gave an excellent presentation of American illustration in the 20th century. During one of his lectures, he told us we needed to pick an illustrator from 1900 to 1950 who was included in his presentations. He told us to choose a publication from that era as well as a person who was famous at the time. We then had to create a cover featuring that person in the style of the illustrator of our choosing.

I chose to emulate C. Coles Phillips. He created a style called the "fadeaway girl" that was more than a gimmick. He used the Gestalt principle of reification, also known as closure, where the eye will perceive a whole shape in an incomplete space by filling in the missing information.

The more I read about Getrude Ederle, the more I became fascinated with this strong, independent young woman (much like my wife and 4 daughters!) who was bound to not only swim the English Channel, but to also break all previous records in the attempt.

I took some liberties with the English and French coast lines in order to create the watercolor portrait of Ederle in the Phillips style. I then ran the scanned image through the color halftone filter in Photoshop to simulate the screening and muted palette that would have been used in publishing in the 1920s.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pasadena Project

After an extremely busy fall and winter with work and focus on my thesis project, I'm finally making my first 2010 post. In November of last year the Hartford MFA team traveled to Pasadena for another memorable trip. Our assignment was to create an illustration that “screamed” of Southern California.

After nixing a number of ideas, and getting inspired by looking at Doug Johnson's incredible airbrush album cover art, I did some poking around the web for images of an art deco theater. I found a number of wonderful images of the Regency Lido in Newport Beach. My thanks to Dangerghost and Bugcer on Flickr for these two images, among many others, that I used to recreate a 3D model of the theater in Strata.

I got the idea to change the name
of the theater to reflect the illustration program, calling it the Hartford MFA. No rocket science inspiration there, but it worked well. Once I rendered my original idea, I decided to see what it would look like rendering it at different times of day. I ended up creating dawn, midday, dusk and evening versions.

I got so excited about the way the 4 images turned out I decided to go a step further and create an album cover, down to the dust sleeve and record label. The final was very well received during the critiques of our work in Fort Worth.