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Not unlike a platypus, but ya know…
Deep in the recesses of my brain…
a tiny red-hot little flame began to grow.
Something had happened.
A fuse blew and I had gone out of my skull.
I’m telling my dad!
Beat him up! Beat him up!
Did you hear what he said?
I have since heard of people under…
extreme duress speaking in strange tongues.
I became conscious that a steady torrent of obscenities…
and swearing of all kinds was pouring out of me as I screamed.
Ralphie!Add a Comment
A few years ago I teamed up with a good friend of mine to work on some children’s book illustration for Random House and Nickelodeon. We were hired to create two different Umizoomi books, one for Christmas and one about a lost kitten. Umizoomi was completely new to me and when the request came in I actually had to look the characters up on line. When I was younger my children used to watch all the kid shows so it was easy to get familiar with them. Now that my kids are older I have to watch them all on my own. I must admit it’s not nearly as fun but I do still enjoy working on the books.
Putting together illustrations like these was a bit of a challenge because they were originally created in 3D animated and I work mainly in 2D. Even though we had to imitate a 3D look the creation process is basically the same no matter what kind of book it is, starts with sketches, ends with finished art. To build each illustration requires me to become familiar with the characters, the sets, their personalities, how they move, the mannerisms they use and all the other little things the animators masterfully build into the property to bring it to life. That means reviewing each episode over and over again until I’m sure I’ve got it right. By the time the project is complete I’ve probably watched each video 50 times or more but it all pays off when I get to see the printed book sitting on a shelf in the book store. I love working on licensed properties and am always looking for something new. Each one holds a separate challenge and requires a different skill set. My ultimate goal is for my work to match the original so closely no one can even tell it was illustrated by me. Unlike my other books the best compliment I can receive when I working with a licensed property is when someone looks at it and says, “You did that? That doesn’t look anything like your work.”
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The weeks of drinking gallons of Ovaltine, in order to get…
the Ovaltine inner seal to send off for my Little Orphan Annie…
secret decoder pen, was about to pay off.
Remember, kids, only members of…
Annie’s secret circle can decode Annie’s secret message.
Remember, Annie is depending on you.
Set your pins to B-2.
Here is the message.
12. 11. 2…
I am in my first secret meeting.
…25. 14. 11. 18.
Pierre was in great voice tonight.
I could tell that tonight’s message was really important.
That’s a message from Annie herself. Remember, don’t tell anyone.
Ninety seconds later I’m in the only room in the house…
where a boy of nine can sit in privacy and decode.
Ah! “B.” I went to the next.
“E.” The first word is “be”!
“S.” It was coming easier now. “U.”
“Be sure to.” Be sure to what?
What was Little Orphan Annie trying to say? Be sure to what?
I was getting closer now.
The tension was terrible. What was it?
The fate of the planet may hang in the balance.
Almost there! My fingers flew.
My mind was a steel trap.
Every pore vibrated.
It was almost clear.
A crummy commercial?
Just ordered my new stamps for the holiday season.
It’s been quite a busy weekend full of baptisms and weddings and creative events. So exhausted, but it was all worth it.
This past Saturday we attended the Carousel for Kids event at Dixon Place (NYC) which was hosted by R. Sikoryak and Neil Numberman. It’s a yearly event where these wonderful writers and illustrators read their zany comics and other creations to kids of all ages! It was pretty entertaining!
The best part was when they picked some kids in the audience to help them read their comics. And most of the kids were so gung-ho about volunteering.
This past Sunday I attended my first ever CBIG portfolio review where we were all given the opportunity to speak with 2 editors or art directors of our choice and share our work with them one on one. What a great experience!
An editor from Penguin Group suggested I venture into drawing for older kids and experiment more with lettering. It’s actually something I’d been meaning to explore a bit more so you might be seeing more tweens and tween themed illustrations in the coming months.
My favorite part of the afternoon was seeing other peoples work and book dummies. It was all so inspiring. Here’s hoping I get inspired enough to write a story myself soon!
Oh and don’t forget to check out the December issue of Highlights for Children to find this little dittie I did over the summer!
Wishing you all a Happy & Creative Week!!
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I discovered Jon Contino by following the work of Jessica Hische and Drew Melton (the typography world is very small). The first two things that resonated with me was the fact that he, like me, didn’t go to art school, and that he also used his musicianship as a passageway to his passion for design. As much as I’ve grown to love digital illustration and type design, I’m always the most drawn to analog aesthetics–and Jon prioritizes them in his work.
Jon Contino is an award-winning designer, illustrator, art director and self-professed alphastructaesthetitologist. His style is strongly inspired by contemporary street art, his native stomping grounds of New York, and the grit of hand-drawn type. He’s worked with clients like Ogilvy, Nike, Whole Foods, McSweeney’s, Target and The New York Times. He’s also an ADC Young Gun 9 winner to boot, and happens to possess a heartwarming Long Island-born accent.
Jon cites his family as being vital in governing his design and illustration aesthetic. His mother and grandmother happened to be artists, both supporting and assisting in his pursuit of his craft by bringing home reams of butcher paper and instructional drawing books (more about this in the wonderful Shoptalk interview here). He discovered that the lettering he was seeing in movie posters and baseball adverts still counted as typography–even at a very early age. It took me much longer to figure out that illustration and beautifully drawn words weren’t just for books–the marks of our handiwork can truly be found anywhere, if you just slow down and take the time to look.
As a teenager, Jon got his freelancer chops very early on. As a designer geek and drummer in a hardcore band, he was constantly relied upon by his band (and friends’ bands) to supply flyer designs, gig posters and the like. Soon enough, he realized that he could actually “make money at this thing,” and he was preparing invoices and freelancing by the ripe old age of 15.
In 2006, after working for a few different companies and design houses, he opened his own creative studio and has been working for himself ever since. He’s constantly turning pet projects into mini-businesses–most recently, he started up Contino Brand. And even amidst his successes, he’s learned the art of saying no for the sake of self-preservation.
Jon has spoken about how his preference for modern minimalism and his hand-drawn gritty aesthetic meets with a clash. That clash has governed a unique vision that brings the best of clean design and true-to-form drawing together. I’m enthralled by this intersection, and so clearly see the passion and determination that stands solidly behind Jon’s work. His personal history only continues to illuminate it.Add a Comment
Thank you Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine for featuring my cow night light with Oopsy Daisy in this month's magazine.
Someone’s gotta eat all those sea chestnuts.
If you’d like to know what SkADaMo is, check it out here.
Designer Todd Oldham, who has compiled impressive monographs on mid-century illustrators and designers like Charley Harper and Alexander Girard, looks to have made something special again with his book on Ed Emberley.Add a Comment
A selection of illustrations from "La Collina dei Folletti" published in Italy by Edizioni EL
More fun designs just because its Friday with a selection from Pablo Rueda or ‘Pintachan‘ as he calls himself, an illustrator based in in Northern Spain. Pablo collects children's illustration books and loves vintage sci-fi. His clients have included Anorak Magazine, 1973, and Jamie Oliver. Open for commissions you will Pablo online here at Pintachan.Add a Comment
… or maybe Moocaws.
What do you think?
If you’re wondering what SkADaMo is, check this out.
I've been busy at college. Started learning metalwork recently and it's wonderfully fascinating. I've done a couple of rough, small pieces and will show them off soon. Meanwhile I've managed a few doodles when time permits, adding colour to my Float Like A Balloon drawing and sketching a few ravens for fun, all in my moleskine blank book ...
So yes, I'm still fascinated by the black birds and their mythologies and fables, so will pursue that further whenever I find spare moments to do so. Right now I'm occupied with filling in college sketchbooks and drawing tons of shoes ... so expect to see loads of footwear up here soon.
Wishing you a week full of blessings and lightness. Cheers.