Illustration

There have been lots of projects I’ve worked on—particularly during my college years—that I’m very proud of, each of which I built up from an initial sketch to the final product you see here. Some were designed for the screen but aren’t animations. Some were designed for print but aren’t exactly publications—that wasn’t their intent, and to lump them in with those that were would just confuse the issue. In short, these are the projects for which classification would be difficult at best, but each was an opportunity to prove my abilities as an artist.

They’re illustrations.

I think you’ll see what I mean.

 

pseudomonas æruginosaThe beautiful thing about medical illustration is that you can make it look good without even really knowing exactly what you’re illustrating. Pseudomonas æruginosa is some kind of bacteria, but that’s pretty much all I know about it—that and that it lives in the bloodstream, and it may not really be green, since electron-scanning microscopes don’t tend to be in color. Regardless, thus illustration was initially based on a microscopic photo and was created as a line drawing in Macromedia® Freehand®. I then dumped the drawing into Photoshop, colorized, it, and added some noise and a lot of dodge and burn. Bottom line: I’m actually quite pleased with this one, even if I still don’t really know what it is. Google, anyone?

 

iMacFamily Portrait was the final project for one of my sophomore classes. The instructions were simple: select a product and create an ad for it. However, there was a catch: while the product must be shown in the ad, not a single photograph could be included therein. In short, the project was to draw upon my skills as both a traditional illustrator —drawing the product I was to display—and in using computer graphics applications to make the drawings come to life. As it turned out, I selected not one product, but six: a variety of Apple® Macintosh® computers, from the original 128K to the then–top-of-the-line Power Mac® G4. (Note the “bunny ears”; this is a family portrait, after all!)

The initial sketches for this project were created in Macromedia Freehand; the final rendering was performed in Adobe® Photoshop®. And I repeat, no actual photographs are included in this Family Portrait.

 

Lilly PuttHey, remember this girl? If you surfed in from somewhere other than my home page, you may not, but either way, this is Lilly Putt: a character created by Alison Flynn and illustrated by yours truly. Lilly was one of my earliest opportunities to take an original sketch and turn it into a full-fledged, computer-generated illustration. I used my sister-in-law Rachael—then nine years old—as the initial model, later drawing additional inspiration from Hikaru, a character in the manga (Japanese comic) Kimagure Orange Road. Here’s the original, bitmapped scan of my hand-illustrated version.

Lilly Putt is about ten years old and lives on the beach with her grandfather. She enjoys collecting shells and making jewelry from them. In this scene, Lilly is hoping that wasn’t rain she just felt. Unfortunately, it was….

 

Vector Imaging

This is a sub-section of my Illustration abilities. Have you ever tried to take a very small photo and scale it up? Don’t feel bad. We all have. The problem is that Raster Imaging Programs such as Adobe® Photoshop® or (shudder) Microsoft® Paint combine thousands, millions, or even billions of pixels into a single photo. When you try to scale the photo down, they average out the pixels and drop as many as required to achieve the desired size. When you scale the photo up, however, they have to assume what colors need to fill in the newly created gaps between the original pixels—not a pretty picture.

Enter Vector Imaging. Programs such as Adobe Illustrator® and Macromedia® Freehand® create graphics based on mathematical equations. If you want to make the picture twice as large, all the numbers get multiplied by two. If you want to make it 1,000 times as large, all the numbers get multiplied by 1,000. What’s more, it’s still made up of the same set of equations, so the file size never increases!

Here are some of my forays into vector imaging; each was created in Macromedia Freehand and requires the free Macromedia Flash® Player plug-in:

 

Scoobert Somewhere along the line, my wife’s entire family got the idea that I was a huge fan of Scooby-Doo. Because of this, I now have Scooby-Doo books, Scooby-Doo videos, Scooby-Doo slippers, etc.. Now, don’t get me wrong; Scooby is cool, and both the show and some of the movies are quite funny. I still can’t believe that Casey Casem does the voice of Shaggy! But the fact of the matter is that I’d hardly ever watched the show before my wife and I got engaged. It’s cool—and frankly, I’ve actually enjoyed every one of the gifts!—but I really haven’t had the time to become a huge fan.

Anyway, when I was given the assignment to create an animal using vector graphics, I created Scoobert as a tribute to my in-laws.

 

TomatoesI admit it. I grew up with Dr. Seuss, and I still love him! And while I never actually owned a copy of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (just many, many others of his books), I always thought it was a great concept.

Fast-forward twenty years or so, and I received the assignment to create a document involving fruits and/or vegetables, using the three primary colors of light: red, green, and blue. Well, the first thing I thought of was everybody’s favorite classification nightmare. No, not the concept; the tomato! What could possibly be a better example of a “fruit and/or vegetable”?

 

CD playerOkay. We’ve done animals, vegetables, how about minerals? Well, I guess they were thinking in terms of silicon, because I was also asked to create a vector image of something electronic. I went out to the car, grabbed my trusty portable CD player, and started sketching. The tricky part was creating the illusion of transparency; as you can hopefully tell, this CD player has a translucent top so you can watch the disc inside spin-spin-spinning away.

Just an aside: it’s been my experience that Philips portable CD players tend to break a lot. Thanks to my warranty, I’ve gotten a new one every year for the last five years, but at least once a year, I have to send the old one back for replacement and am without a portable CD player for a few weeks. But I digress….

 

Laughing PlanetEpisode I is based on an assignment to create a front cover for a sci-fi book (real or imagined). Now, sci-fi is definitely my thing, so this wasn’t going to be a tough one; the only thing that would be difficult would be choosing from among my many interests!

I finally decided to capitalize on two of the most popular triologies in sci-fi history: Star Wars (Episode I of which was still in the forefront of everyone’s minds) and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The fusion of the two unrelated trilogies lends a bit of insight into my warped sense of humor.

 

This early project in my time at Purdue is also featured on my drafting page, as the original version was just that. The assignment was to create a vector-based architectural rendering. Having taught myself enough DenebaCAD to use it to design my wife’s and my dream house, I decided to vectorize and colorize a shot of the breakfast nook in the morning. In the end, it reminded me of the sunrises my wife and I often watch over the Atlantic Ocean while vacationing at my grandparents’ beach house. From thence came the title Sunrise on the Beach.