Thursday, August 28, 2008

Las Vegas Weekly Illustrations

These three illustrations accompany an article in this week's Las Vegas Weekly about Fabrizio Boccardi, an ambitious Las Vegas businessman with plans to build a $3 billion casino called The Seven Sins and create a new gaming empire on the Vegas Strip.

The first step in his plan involved having a book written (titled The Seven Sins) about a fictitious character loosely based on Boccardi's life who is a tyrannical casino owner and mob boss.
The next step is to start a movie franchise on the forthcoming series of books and then build a casino to appeal to the fans of the movies.

I was asked to portray Boccardi in a couple fictional environments from his book. The first is his underwater office, enclosed in a sphere in a shark tank with monitors keeping tabs on his enemies.

The second environment is one where he is fawned over by a gorgeous Vegas showgirl and protected by his hulking bodyguard, Alexander. Two cheetahs rest at their feet, ready to tear the flesh off anyone who dares to trespass onto his property.

This assignment was a lot of fun. I'm always up for painting sharks and cheetahs and Las Vegas businessmen.
You can also see these images on the Portfolio page, or read the article here.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Coney Island Cyclones

I went to a Coney Island Cyclones game last night at Key Span Park and brought along my sketchbook. It's a really nice park that sits off the boardwalk with the Parachute Jump towering overhead.
I've wanted to draw the Parachute Jump for a long time and now that I have I'm glad it's out of the way. That thing is really complicated, there are so many beams and posts and angles and things that it took me four innings to get it finished!
The Parachute Jump was built for the World's Fair in Queen's, New York, in 1939. It moved to Coney Island in 1941 as an addition to Steeplechase Park, a huge amusement park that closed in 1964 after being in operation since 1897.
Riders would be lifted to the top of the tower in a harness and dropped into a free-fall that lasted about 20 seconds.

Baseball games are great to sketch at because the outfielders pretty much just stand there posing for you. The umpires and catchers all keep pretty still, too.
The biggest problem I found with sketching at the game was that I found I was making myself vulnerable to being hit by foul balls. At least a dozen times I looked up from my sketchbook when the crowd around me started cheering in anticipation of catching a foul ball.
The Cyclones won 1-0, beating the Lowell Spinners.

You can click on the image to see a larger version.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Interview: Illustration meets Basketball

I was interviewed last week by Graydon Gordian who is a writer for 48 Minutes of Hell, as well as Hardwood Paroxysm, both great basketball blogs. Graydon is an awesome writer and he had some really interesting questions about the NBA portraits I've been doing. A lot of the questions revolve around basketball and art and the combination of both.

If you're interested in reading it, you can find it online at Hardwood Paroxysm. Also, if you're a basketball fan and want to read something different, check out the archives of Graydon's blog, 48 Minutes of Hell, for some excellent writing.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Charlotte Magazine: Big Bags

Here is a recent illustration of mine that appears in the current issue of Charlotte Magazine. The accompanying article talks about the increasing sizes of hand and shoulder bags that are in style, although not quite practical. The larger the bags get, the more people stuff in them, and in some cases this can result in health problems caused by too much pressure on the shoulders.
You can read the article online here.

Here are a couple of the sketches I did for this assignment.

Friday, August 1, 2008

NBA Friday: Paul Pierce

Welcome back to NBA Friday! This is the last portrait in the series - the 30th portrait of an NBA player I've painted since November.

Paul Pierce is a forward for the World Champion Boston Celtics. He was named the MVP of the NBA Finals after the Celtics beat the Lakers in the 6th game this past June.

Pierce's nickname is The Truth, so I thought it would be fun to paint his portrait on a sheet of paper being fed through a polygraph machine, as if the machine was confirming him to be The Truth.
You can see this piece on the Portraiture page or on SLAMonline in the Links by Lang Whitaker.

And there you have it! Since November 2nd, 2007 I have painted over 30 portraits of NBA players, having met my goal of illustrating at least one player from each team in the NBA.

It was a big project, but I had a lot of fun with it. For me, there's nothing better than painting something I enjoy, and I definitely enjoy basketball and the NBA.

Some people have asked me what I'm going to do with my free time now that I'm done the project and won't be painting a basketball player once a week. I'm looking forward to working on some other projects I've been thinking about for the last few months and I'm also in the process of putting together a book compiling the work I've done for NBA Friday.

If you'd like to own a Limited Edition Print of any of the pieces I've painted, please visit my online store.

Also, here is a helpful list of links to all of the blog entries I've made for NBA Friday so you can easily find the team or player you're looking for. You can also find all these pieces on my Portraiture page or on the Black & White page.

  1. Charlotte Bobcats - Gerald Wallace, Adam Morrison
  2. Los Angeles Clippers - Sam Cassell, Chris Kaman
  3. Indiana Pacers - Jermaine O'Neal, Reggie Miller
  4. Memphis Grizzlies - Pau Gasol, Rudy Gay
  5. New Orleans Hornets - Chris Paul, Pete Maravich
  6. Minnesota Timberwolves - Al Jefferson
  7. Milwaukee Bucks - Yi Jianlian, Andrew Bogut
  8. Seattle Supersonics - Kevin Durant
  9. New York Knicks - Stephon Marbury, Isiah Thomas
  10. Portland Trail Blazers - Brandon Roy
  11. Philadelphia 76ers - Julius Erving, Charles Barkley
  12. Golden State Warriors - Baron Davis
  13. Atlanta Hawks - Josh Smith
  14. Sacramento Kings - Ron Artest, Kevin Martin
  15. New Jersey Nets - Richard Jefferson
  16. Chicago Bulls - Luol Deng
  17. Houston Rockets - Tracy McGrady
  18. Miami Heat - Dwyane Wade
  19. Washington Wizards - Caron Butler
  20. Toronto Raptors - Chris Bosh
  21. Dallas Mavericks - Dirk Nowitzki
  22. Denver Nuggets - Allen Iverson
  23. Orlando Magic - Dwight Howard
  24. Phoenix Suns - Amare Stoudemire
  25. Utah Jazz - Carlos Boozer
  26. Cleveland Cavaliers - LeBron James
  27. Detroit Pistons - Rasheed Wallace
  28. San Antonio Spurs - Tim Duncan
  29. Los Angeles Lakers - Kobe Bryant
  30. Boston Celtics - Paul Pierce