For the past couple years, I’ve been using the same damn Photoshop brush for all of the drawings I create in Photoshop. I use a variety of brushes to “paint” or “color” my drawings but I always use the same brush whenever I draw something. The brush has a little more thick and thin variety than some of the other brushes. I also like using this brush because it is often really difficult to draw with and it gives my work a more chaotic / haphazard energy. I like things to be imperfect.
I started working on this illustration of Kevin Spacey in February after I finished binge watching “House Of Cards” Season 2 but I got distracted by other projects and never finished it. Mr. Spacey has been haunting me. I hate having unfinished illustrations floating around in digital purgatory. Last night, I had some time to kill so I spent some quality time with Mr. Spacey. I’m 90% certain this illustration is “finished.” I could noodle around with the illustration for another 20 hours and still have that lump of doubt and dissatisfaction rolling around my stomach. I’m never happy with my work. Which is why I keep working.
Here is the latest illustration I created for Grantland.com for an article about the best fictional quarterback of all time. The illustration needed to include the top 4 fictional quarterbacks in the countdown – #4 Johnny Utah from “Point Break,” #3 Shane Falco from “The Replacements,” #2 Matt Saracen from “Friday Night Lights” and #1 Willie Beamen from “Any Given Sunday.” I’m supper happy Uncle Rico from “Napoleon Dynamite” made the top ten but I’m disappointed I didn’t get to include him in the illustration.
When I create illustrations for Grantland.com the deadline is usually the next morning. I fuel up on black coffee, crank up the rock-n-roll and draw all night. I usually end the night with a bag of ice and a dose of ibuprofen to kill the pain in my drawing hand. Grantland has been a great client and they give me fun projects to work on. The tight deadlines are rough on my body but I enjoy the challenge of meeting the deadline and creating a quality illustration. I would argue that I create my best work when I am under pressure because I don’t have time to overthink the process and second guess myself.
I thought I would share the original illustration I created and the revised version that ended up being used on the website.
Grantland gave me 2 days to complete the illustration but I stuck with my usual routine of overdosing on coffee and burning the midnight oil. I wanted to make sure I had time to make revisions if needed. I finished the illustration in about 6 or 7 hours. That time includes searching for reference photos and taking breaks to rest my drawing hand.
Later that morning, I received an e-mail from Grantland with a couple revisions. The original illustration was more colorful and the background was really busy. I have a bad habit of overworking my illustrations and going a little overboard with the drips and scribbles and halftones. Grantland wanted a more monochromatic look and I decided to go with Yellow rather than the Blue. They also wanted more emphasis on Matt Saracen and they wanted to kill Johnny Utah. There can only be ONE Keanu!
The next morning I awoke to discover an e-mail from Grantland requesting one final revision, make Keanu bigger. Unfortunately, I got the message too late and the deadline had already past. Grantland ended up using the 2nd draft of the illustration.
The third draft has a bigger Keanu and a better overall composition. I think it is a better illustration than what ended up being used. It feels more balanced. I kick myself for not making Keanu bigger in the first place. If I had more time I would probably redraw Keanu’s head so the line quality would match the other two portraits better. When I drew Keanu I used a really chunky line knowing that he would be off in the distance and I wouldn’t need much detail to capture a likeness.
You can read the article at – www.grantland.com/features/the-best-fictional-quarterback-of-all-time
My podcast addiction began with Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast which lead me to other great podcasts like The Nerdist, Fat Man On Batman, How Did This Get Made?, Sidebar Nation and many others. I am also a huge fan of stand-up comedy and Marc Maron has always been one of my favorite comedians.
A couple months ago I was binge watching Marc Maron’s IFC series “Maron” on Netflix, and I decided I would draw a portrait of Marc Maron while I watched the show. The show is about a fictionalized version of Marc Maron much like “Louie” is about a fictionalized version of Louis C.K. I think the show is amazing. You can watch the entire first season on Netflix.
I didn’t finish the portrait and like many of my personal illustrations it collected pixel dust for a few weeks while I worked on projects for clients. I decided I would blow off my work this evening and fuck around with this Marc Maron portrait. I think it turned out ok. I never really know when to stop. I think it is “good enough.” I’ll probably hate it tomorrow. But right now I think it is worthy of posting on my blog for my 12 followers to see.
I also have an unfinished Kevin Spacey portrait that I need to finish. His eyes are too creepy and no matter how many times I redraw them they still look sinister. Maybe I’ve watched Se7en too many times. Maybe I should embrace the creepy.
If you are not familiar with Marc Maron I would highly recommend you watch Maron’s latest stand-up special “Thinky Pain” and the first season of “Maron” on Netflix. I also highly recommend you listen to the WTF podcast at www.wtfpod.com.
The WTF podcast has great guests like Lena Dunham, Artie Lange, Johnny Knoxville, Larry King, Will Ferrell, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Iggy Pop, Judd Apatow, Thom Yorke, Jon Hamm, Louis C.K., Bill Hader and many many others that you know are going to be great interview subjects but I’ve discovered that the people I’ve never heard of are often the most compelling interviews. People like Jon Ronson, David Bronner, Simon Amstell, CM Punk and Alex Guarnaschelli come to mind.
THIS IS THE END
A BAND CALLED DEATH
MAN OF STEEL
12 YEARS A SLAVE
THE SPECTACULAR NOW
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
THE KINGS OF SUMMER
BEYOND THE CANDELABRA
CUTIE AND THE BOXER
ONLY GOD FORGIVES
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS
THE WAY WAY BACK