Saturday, November 15, 2008

Old Kentvcky

Headed to Louisville, Kentucky for a day or two. Will see an old high school buddy. While there I'll tip my coonskin cap to Dan Zettwoch's hometown, and ponder the ancient Romans' interest in seeing frontier Kentucky by rail. Poster: N.C. Wyeth, 1930.

Friday, November 7, 2008

New Look

My work has been moving in the direction of the handmade, and away from the digital. No implicit value judgment there, I hasten to add. It seems appropriate to head this way, that's all. I'll explore that in some writing soon. But the look of the blog has been seeming out-of-date to me. Moreover, with the launch of, my new studio site, I wanted to integrate the two.

This painting was executed for the MySci project a year or two ago. It's an American Woodcock. (How much wood could a woodcock cock if a woodcock could cock wood?) Like all these pieces, the painting was designed to be rebuilt in a vector language, which it was, for scalability and other reasons.

The animal, along with scores of others, was printed and placed on a shaped magnet, to be positioned by K-2 children in an environmental mural. (The environment part of the project was mind-bogglingly complex: an illustrator file with about a thousand layers and a zillion points.)

The typographic portion of the banner is set in House Industries' Rhumba, as is my name in the studio site logotype lockup.
Scott Gericke was kind enough to help me with the lockup. He told me not to use Rumba for anything else, and he was probably right, but I liked the visual relationship between the letterforms and the pointed plumage shapes of the bird. (I should also say the that somewhat clunky arrangement of the tables at will be addressed as time permits--pace Scott!)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Drafting History, in Graphite

The last of the election drawings are now up at the St. Louis Beacon. If you enjoyed the series, I ask that you leave a comment on their site. I would like to do more such projects, and more importantly, I am hoping to help jump start a return to the ancient tradition of the illustrator-correspondent in the new media environment.

I will present a complete set of all 23 drawings (possibly with a bracketing pair of intro and resolution pictures) next week sometime.

Meanwhile, I am curious: for readers and viewers, what if anything does this set of drawings provide that a cycle of photographs cannot? What light is shed by such images on the events they describe? Why use fashioned images to report on events?

I am truly interested to hear your thoughts on this--I have some ideas of my own, but yours are much more likely to be useful.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Closing Up, November 4

I was pretty played out today, and so did little. There are a total of four drawings left to post from yesterday's sketcharama--or what Dan Zettwoch has suggested might properly be called sklogging, which sounds to me like 1) an obscure winter sport, 2) a terrible punishment, according to which an offender is compelled to watch a head-grippingly poor production of an Ibsen classic, or finally, simply 3) something quite obscene.

I think the St. Louis Beacon folks are probably pretty played too. So we'll wrap this up tomorrow.

The image at the top: polls closing at the local VFW in Richmond Heights, Missouri, November 4, 2008.

More pictures, and more reflection, tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I survived my day as an election journalist. Started Tuesday at 5:00am; got home at 11:55pm. I am exceedingly pleased that Senator Obama has been elected to the presidency. I worked hard to keep my inclinations out of my reportage (as a card-carrying member of the media "elite").

I have two more drawings to scan and upload--both post-voting scenes. I'll deal with them tomorrow. But the long and short of it is this: 21 total drawings, a dozen finished today.

More tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy George Caleb Bingham's account of another Missouri election, this one in 1846.

Time for bed...

Democracy Illustrated: Election Sketchbook

Today I will be covering the election as an illustrator-correspondent for the St. Louis Beacon, an online nonprofit newspaper staffed by former hands at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. These veteran journalists are working to reinvest the delivery of regional news with the depth, focus and nuance that we used to expect of the P-D. And good for them--I hope they are onto something with the new model.

I began drawing on this project late last week. Most of my pre-election drawings are up already on the Beacon site. Along with my team of communication design students (Sarah, Maggie and David) I will be tramping all around the St. Louis metropolitan area today, covering 4 very diverse polling stations and more. Today's drawings will be uploaded here as they are ready. I would guess that today's first drawings will appear on the site around 10:00 CST, and then continue to roll in during the day and night.

Today promises to be a historic day, no matter what happens. We'll be doing our best to provide a slice of social history in this locale. Stay tuned.

Monday, November 3, 2008

New Site:

It's been an active stretch in my world. Soon I'll report on the transition that has been occurring in my work, visible in slow motion to regular GT readers. There's more to it than media or style, and I'll get to an explanation of it presently. But I'm in the thick of an Election Day project (a post describing it late today). So in the meantime, please have a click over to my new portfolio site which replaces Ulcer City. All of the work shown has been made since the end of July. All of it appears just as it looks, either drawn or painted on the open pages of my growing library of sketchbooks. One piece was made yesterday. Visual and personal fermentation aplenty.

Many many thanks to my intern Sarah Richardson for yeoman's work on this project!

Comment especially welcome.