I was super excited when Fordham University asked me to create an illustrated headline for their Summer 2016 program. The tagline is “Think Summer, Think Fordham” and will be used on all the marketing materials for next year’s session.
They were really fun to work with, giving me a lot of creative freedom with how to interpret the slogan and represent both city and academics in a fun way. Here are a few of my sketches along with the final piece.
Thanks to AD, Maggie Coyne, for the fun collaboration!
Excited to start the new year off with a fun new project to share! I designed & illustrated the paperback cover of This Journal Belongs To Ratchet for Sourcebooks. A middle-grade novel from award-winning author Nancy Cavanaugh, it’s the empowering story of a girl trying to find her own definition of “normal”, as told through her journal of home-school assignments.
The story and format immediately inspired me, and I thought it would be a perfect design project to bring my illustration style & hand-lettering to.
The team at Sourcebooks is always really fantastic and open to my ideas, so I jumped into comps exploring a few illustrated directions. In the book, Ratchet is home-schooled by her mechanic father, whom she is embarrassed by at the start of the book but learns to appreciate & embrace. So the tools seemed like a great element to incorporate—both symbolic & representational, while lending to alot of fun graphic solutions.
They were well-received overall, but ultimately we went with the bottom left direction. A few color tweaks made it a bit more appealing to the girl audience, and I had a ball illustrating each letterform in the title. Here’s the final cover, officially on sale May 1, 2014 but available for preorder on Amazon now.
I’m a bit behind with this post, but still wanted to share my assignment from last week for Lilla Rogers’ class. We explored the Baby Apparel market, which is a new territory for me. My work is a somewhat whimsical and kid-friendly, but I haven’t ever specifically created work for the baby market. Lilla’s also teaching us the importance of creating work from separate icons, which is a bit of a different approach for me. So, in a really fun challenge, we were to create a design and a few coordinates with a “camping” theme that could be applied to textiles and other baby apparel. I tried to push myself to simplify imagery to would read graphically and translate to various formats while still keeping the quality of my natural style. I had a lot of fun with this, especially with color palette and creating the coordinate patterns. A few images here of the process, sketches, and final presentation.
I’ve been thinking about process and development a lot in my work lately.
A couple months ago, I had my portfolio reviewed by Charles Hively (Art Director and Publisher of 3×3 Magazine). His great professional feedback, and just having a fresh eye look at my work, was a re-energizing experience for me. I think it’s easy for anyone to lose sight of their work and the direction it’s going if there’s never a moment to reflect on it or consider it from a more objective angle. I think for me especially—since I juggle a creative full-time job where I design and art direct illustrators every day—what I am doing in my own work can feel clouded and even over-influenced by what I am constantly surrounded by. And the pressure I put on myself by comparing what I do to what I see, and trying to “speed up” to get to where I really want to be in my career, has created a lot of burn out and frustration for me.
Mr. Hively’s feedback suggested that I spend (a lot of) time figuring out how to allow more of my personal voice to shine through, as any artist has to do to really improve: Try new mediums, palettes, and/or subject matter; Study non-illustration & design work; Look at European illustration; Tap into the things that most interest & inspire me on a personal level—and let all these influences find their appropriate place in my work until that day when I “get goosebumps” because I’ll just know I’ll have found that really special thing in my work that sets it apart from everything else.
I agree that growth comes from stepping out of the “safe” zone, and I’ve been trying to slow down in a way —thinking less about “finished pieces” when I make new work and get more involved in my process. I took advantage of the extra time away from the office grind this long holiday weekend to experiment a bit with medium and process.
I love music and also love illustrating & hand-lettering quotes that inspire me. These words by Bilie Holiday seemed especially fitting for the things I’m thinking about at the moment, so I decided to revisit this drawing I’d done awhile back. Here’s some shots of my process:
Original drawing and inkjet transfer to toothed paper
Blocking in color with watercolor & goauche
Final art with inked line
Very excited that I can finally share a project I worked on last year—a book cover for Lindsay Eland’s new middle-grade novel for Egmont Books. I love projects like this, where I had the opportunity to create the whole package: design, illustration, and hand-lettering.
This is the story of Sunday Fowler, who’s feels she’s always overlooked in her family as the third of six kids. So she’s determined to spend the summer finding a way to make herself stand out, and may have just found it in the mysterious letters she finds in a silver box in the basement of the library her parents are renovating. She’s determined to find out who wrote them, in hopes to unveil to the world what may be a lost novel—and become famous!
I tried several different approaches in the sketch rounds, but ultimately we decided to focus on conveying the sense of mystery as well as Sunday’s determination.
I previously worked on Lindsay’s debut middle grade novel, Scones and Sensibility. It’s such a joy to work on her books—her writing is delightfully sweet & fun. A Summer of Sundays pubs in July and is now available for pre-order on Amazon.
I’ve been having so much fun with the daily art challenge I’ve been participating in—”The Month of Love”. It’s such an inspiring group of illustrators, and each day truly is a fun challenge to post something new. Some days are open to any love-themed imagery, others days have a challenge topic that everyone has to create from.
I find some days allow time to really develop an idea and a more finished piece of art, but most days are more of a conceptual exercise that allows for experimentation with sketch process. It’s been a great experience so far, and we’re only one week in! With 20 new pieces of art posted each day, be sure to check it out and visit often! monthoflove.blogspot.com
Here’s a few pieces, including the blog header, that I’ve contributed so far:
I wanted to post this up last week, but just catching up! I’m super excited to be participating in a month-long sketch challenge with a super incredible group of 19 other artists. Every day of February, each of us will submit a sketch on some theme related to the topic of LOVE. Some days are completely open to to any love-related imagery, and other days there will be an assigned “challenge” topic.
I feel very lucky to participate in this very cool project with such a talented bunch, and also totally psyched that I was asked to create the lettering and pattern for the blog header & background—a fun bonus for me!
I’ve been really wanting to get involved in some kind of collaboration as well as challenge myself to create everyday. So, not only is this project super fun—but a great opportunity to experiment and grow.
The full list of illustrators is below, and the blog is here. We’re already 4 days in, so there’s lots of great stuff already up. But be sure to check it out often as new images are continuously being added!
Narciso Espiritu Jr.
Jeffrey Alan Love
Ricardo Lopez Ortiz