Monday, July 22, 2013

Words to Mull & Cull #9 - Don't Blow Your Nose or Spit on the Shower Floor

I would have loved to add some juicy sound effects like "SNAUUUUOOORGH!", "HOUAAAAAAAAAAAARWK!", "SCHNURRGH!" or "SPUT!" but it would have been distracting. 

I only wish this wasn't something I'd have to give advice on.  It's only too true and as disgusting as it sounds.  I'm sure this never happens in the women's locker rooms, which smell of vanilla and use spring water running over river stones.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The yellow brick road to the first rechargeable magnesium battery utilizing a borohydride

This was another illustration project received through Inner Circle Media in Ann Arbor back in August 2012.  Their client had a vision of the yellow brick road with older battery technology in the background and their new magnesium battery featured in the front.  She was very excited about her team's breakthrough.  A rough layout was created through a collaboration of the client's sketch and the IMC team.

The first sketch involved generic scientists in white lab coats.  The next version had the monkeys and a steampunkish female wizard since the client was a woman.  However she preferred a more traditional Wizard of Oz character. 

The client was very happy with the final product and it made the cover of Angewandte Chemie International Edition, volume 31, issue 39.  If you are interested to find out more about rechargeable magnesium batteries, you can find the article here accompanied by my illustration.

It would be easy for me to make a cheap comment about how hairy this level of chemistry is.  But it's this kind of unsung work that goes on by scientists and engineers around the world to try and make the world more efficient.  In this case another step has been made to improve batteries needed for electric cars of the future.

In the media today tech industries are equated with computers and the internet out in Silicone Valley.  I would argue tech industry term should be more encompassing and include the automotive industry.  Of course I am biased working on some the leading steering systems technology.  

Words to Mull & Cull #6 - Feeling Stuck

Monday, May 20, 2013

A kitsch atlas book

This illustrations was used on a postcard for Thomson-Shore, a publisher in Dexter, Michigan to promote their booth at the London Book Fair in 2011.  The job came to me from the fabulous people at Inner Circle Media in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 
When the project was described to me I immediately thought of the flat, graphic styles of the late 1950's/ 1960's.  I decided to try sketching it up in Adobe Illustrator for two reasons.  One I am not comfortable drawing directly in Illustrator, which would force me to keep the shapes simple, and two I could focus on color and design.  Fortunately they loved the sketch.  Several adjustments later and voila!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Words to Mull & Cull #5 - Clouds (Preliminary)

I had two illustration projects come up this week, which is a rare thing for me.  When it rains it pours!  Ha!  This is why I wouldn't make it as a gag writer.  So settle for a WTM&C sketch this week.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Words to Mull & Cull #4 - Nurture Faith in a Neighborhood of Fear

Words to Mull & Cull #3 - Stand Up Tall

I bought a Mother Jones magazine early last year mostly for the number of great illustrations from some big name illustrators.  It happened to have a very entertaining interview with Timm Gunn of Project Runway, which is where I got this idea from.  You can read it here in his response to the first question.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Words to Mull & Cull #2 - Take a Walk

Words to Mull & Cull #1 - Lend Your Ear

Words to Mull & Cull - The Introduction

Dear friends,
"Words to Mull & Cull" is a new cartoon/webcomic/call-it-what-you-will series I'm starting.  My plan is to post at least one a week but hopefully more.  From what I have in my sketchbook so far the focus is on friendly advice, philosophy, facts and non-sense. 

I decided to limit the size to a single panel newspaper comic. I'm trying to use minimal preliminary drawings and going straight to brush and ink.  One reason is speed.  Another is to keep a sense of spontaneity and to try and get into a zen state.  For now I'm sticking to a limited color pallet reminiscent of vintage newspaper comics or Japanese woodblock prints.  I scanned a page from an old paperback to give a sense of age and provide some texture.

I hope you'll find something to mull on. Then, as cull implies, save what you want and discard the rest.

Warm regards,
Big Tall Ken

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Return to the Blog

My friends, the growth of my big long blog has been stunted for quite some time.  It's time for a growth spurt.
To start let me update you on my last post on the Team Cul de Sac submission.  I am proud to say that it was accepted and made it to page 32 of the book, opposite of Greg Evans, creator of the comic strip, Luann.  It ended up selling in the on-line auction for $100, which I thought was pretty good for an unknown in the comic strip field.  I felt honored to be in the company of such great comic strip artists such as Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbes fame and Patrick McDonnell of Mutts.  The book was nicely done with good quality pictures of the artwork and good paper stock.

I was fortunate enough to pick up a charming comic drawn by the equally charming Stepanie Piro, creator of the comic strip, Fair Game, and one of the co-creators of the comic strip, Six Chix.  The project ended up raising nearly $50,000!

I have had some illustrations jobs over the past couple years, some of which have been added to my website, but I haven't posted about here.  Here is one of them.  This cat and dog were done for the Huron Pet Store in Ann Arbor.  They wanted to update the mascots for their kid's program.