Friday, January 30, 2009

It's the weekend. Bird lives, man.

A sketchbook page raises the question: what is thingness? What makes a drawing of a thing more interesting or iconic than the thing itself? How it sits, how the lines intersect, how the lines vary in thickness, the angle of repose? I've done colophons for book series, for publishers and companies. Tiny images of things, for which I draw pages and pages of the same thing; they pick one. That one little drawing had thingness the others didn't have. What was it? Art directors must see things. I think I can too, but it's a trick.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I painted this little cowpoke for a public transit campaign last summer.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Painted for a financial magazine. Prospectuses (prospecti?) are those brochures full of numbers that investors wish they'd read more carefully. I find the Hindu deity Shiva is very useful sometimes.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This appeared in Travel & Leisure, one of a dozen illustrations I did for a fun article about San Francisco––where I'd love to be right now.

Monday, January 26, 2009

This was also in the Atlantic. One of several spots I did for an article about the Mall of America, an enormous shopping bazaar not far from where I live, which I seldom visit. The art director was Mary Parsons.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A sketchbook drawing that wound up in the Atlantic and also in an illustration annual. I think it looks like Carl Sandburg, but I wasn't trying to do Sandburg. For me character portraits begin with the pose, the plant of the feet, the way the arms and legs have settled. People are most themselves when they are relaxed and relaxed poses are always awkward. They twist themselves into odd postures when they are happy, like dogs when you look at them affectionately or move toward the door. When nobody is looking people slouch. Their hands twitch and clutch and grab hold of things.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It is eleven below outside. I did this illustration for a travel magazine a couple of years ago, but it might serve as a portrait of the two people who can still afford to go on luxury cruises in the winter of 2009. Nostalgia is cheaper than gas heat.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's cold here. The kids came back in after one trip down the hill. It reminds me of how cold I used to get when I was young and actually had to go outside. This picture isn't that different from the suburbs I grew up in. Fewer trees, but the same cul-de-sacs and fifties ramblers, a mazelike pattern that would look good on wallpaper. Now I live in an old city neighborhood with old trees and two lakes.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

When I was a kid I wanted to be an architect. I don't think I would have liked the long gestation period and the infinite details and negotiations. But I love good buildings and I enjoy drawing them. This is Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. I've never been there, but I remember the rooftops from the 1964 Jules Dassin film. They are a landscape in themselves.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

This drawing is from a story I first told to my daughter at bedtime. It was a series really. I titled it THE TERRIBLE TRUTH ABOUT GROWN-UPS. It describes the things parents really are up to. For instance throwing parties as soon as the children are off at school. I am looking for a publisher. It's a fairly subversive book, but my daughter loved it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Not a bad image for today. More Malcolm X than MLK or Obama, certainly. But after eight years of this bad old, a fist pump feels good.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Another sketchbook drawing of the president who is about to leave office. I should add that I drew this when he was very popular.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I did this for the Wall Street Journal the other day. They called at noon and needed it by four. Nothing focuses the mind like a deadline.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


This image describes our last eight years of leadership pretty well, I think. The drawing began as a still life of a ceramic horse I saw in an old House & Garden.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I did this illustration for the Boston Globe. The topic was the odd assortment of guys who comprise the dating pool.

Monday, January 12, 2009

This diagram began in black and white at around the time of Abu Ghraib. Several versions were shown and discussed and revisions suggested at various meetings at the New Yorker before it was shelved. In 2007, when Scooter was awaiting a verdict, I was asked to paint a cover of it, but it was never used.

I thought I'd reprise a few images from the Bush years. I did this one for the Washington Post, right at the beginning of the regime, when the White House was busy undoing all of America's foreign agreements.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I remember going to the rink with my dad on a windy day, and when my ankles got tired he sat me down on our sled with him standing up on it, and the wind blew us across the rink. It was pretty amazing. We never got around to trying the umbrella technique.

Brushed Landscape

This is what it looks like out in the country, but the country is a long way from here. Somewhere there is a picture I drew thirty years ago of winter in Minneapolis. I'll try to find it. I used to draw with a pen, now I use a brush.

Friday, January 9, 2009

One of the drawings I did this week for a fashion client in the Netherlands.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Skier With Accordian

I found this accordianist in a book of photographs from prewar Germany and Austria. I put her on skis, but most of the images in the book are of skiers and apres-skiers. I have a library of old books on skiing, a useful archive of images for my book Winter Playgrounds.