Saturday, January 31, 2009

Soap Kills Donkey

I started this Friday morning for The Weekly Standard and finished late Friday afternoon, a really quick turn around . . . well quicker than the usual. For the time I had I'm pleased with the way it turned out, it was a fun piece to work on.

I did my part yesterday and recylced . . . the brick wall is something that I painted for one of my past jobs. Luckily I did the brick wall on a separate layer, so It was easy to work with and use again. I changed the color and shading on the brick wall to give it a whole new look. Saved me time and added some nice texture to the piece.

The text and writing was all done by The Weekly Standard.

Donkey - Detail

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Jorge Restrepo Sketch!

Sketch of caricaturist Jorge Restrepo . . .

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

In my new Studio.

A preview of a watercolor that I'm working on . . .

Today my daughter Isabeau spent some time hanging out with me in my studio. She was having fun playing around with my camera and took a couple pictures that I thought would be fun to share here.

As you can see I'm still working on my acrylic painting of Robert Bauer . . . I'm in the middle of a bunch of different paintings for various clients, so this painting has been a slow process. It drives me nuts to have to stop one painting and work on another. Sometimes it's hard to get back into the groove of that painting. Anyways, this painting is just about finished, I hope to finish it this week.

In this picture you can see my palette . . . for this painting I'm using Ivory Black, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, Titanium White and a bit of Ultramarine to add to my Black. I'm using a Masterson's palette to mix my paint on.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Illustration West 47!

I'm honored to say that two of my paintings were chosen to be in the Illustration West 47 show, Society of Illustrators L.A. Bogart and Saddam!

Also, I need to let everyone know that my friend Wouter Tulp has put out a book, "The Art of Wouter Tulp". I've got it and it's an excellent book, filled with wonderful sketches, drawings and paintings. If you're a fan of good caricature, character design, or just a fan of good art, then this book is a must!

To check out Wouter's book, click


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bernie Madoff for the New York Times

This is a finished painting that I did this past week for The New York Times. Sadly because of a number of issues (luckily none were my fault) the "editor" decided to use a photograph instead of my painting. I will try to explain a bit of what happened because I feel there's a lot of people who read this blog that want to have their work published and will eventually work with art directors and editors. What happened to me this week, happens and can be expected, it's frustrating to say the very least.

After seeing my sketch, the final art that is attached above was approved by the art director and editor. Before this final painting, I had to reduce the size of Bernie Madoff's nose several times, which is understandable, that sort of thing can be expected. When I handed the final in, the a.d. loved it and was excited about how the final turned out, she said the only thing she can see that might need changing is the "nose", yet again. About 45 minutes after I handed in the final version I got a call from the a.d. saying that the "editor" doesn't want Bernie to be wearing glasses? Please note that he had glasses on in every sketch and painting I did before he saw this final. Also, the editor wanted the nose trimmed down even more!

Long story short, I went back to the painting and did another version . . . I painted the glasses out and re-worked the eyes. I also trimmed the nose down for like the fifth time, and it no longer looked like Bernie Madoff!

After handing in the new version (which I won't post) The A.D. informed me that the "editor" doesn't think the eyes are quite the way he wanted so instead of printing the final painting that you see above, they're going to run a photograph. I think that the editor was afraid of offending Bernie Madoff, afraid of what he might do if he saw this painting of him in the New York Times?

Like I said above, these sorts of things can and do happen. For the record, I still get paid and through everything I was able to remain civil with the art director. She was very cool throughout the whole thing, the problems were not caused by the art director but by the "editor". The "editor" is the person you as an artist will have the most trouble from, not the art director.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying all editors are evil or difficult to work with. As an artist, we must learn to work with these types of situations and handle it in a professional manner. Editors are just doing their job. I find though that there's usually not much communication between the artist and editor . . . the a.d. plays the middle man. This is were things can be frustrating for everyone.

Below I will share briefly about my other drawings and sketches. I started this job on Wednesday and final was due Friday before noon.

This was my first sketch of Bernie Madoff. I like this sketch a lot, has good form and exaggeration while keeping a strong likeness. The purpose of this sketch was only to get a likeness. In fact, when I did this sketch, I hadn't yet talked to the a.d., I was just getting a head start on the likeness, trying to get to know my subject a bit.

I was first told that they'd like something a bit "creepy", full body pose . . . so this is the first sketch that I did for them. Notice that I had to reduce the nose size. I also changed the eyes so that they look towards the viewer.

Turned out that this was "creepy" and they'd now like to do something that's more subtle.

This is my rough sketch for the more subtle version. I thought it would be cool to have him sitting on a bench almost like a "secret spy" as if he knows something that no one else does . . . still a bit creepy, but more reserved.

Guess what? They liked this and approved it to go to final!

So this is my painting which I spent about 7 hours painting. I was very happy with how this piece was turning out, I like the pose and was happy with my painting. I emailed it to the a.d. to share how it was coming along. She wrote back and said that the editor doesn't think this is "creepy" enough that it needs to be more sinister. So we're back the the "creepy" thing again! And so I had to start over again from scratch . . . the next version I worked on is attached above, Bernie behind a computer, in the dark.

This was an awful lot of painting and drawing that won't see print. While being frustrating, I did learn quite a bit and I'm proud of the work that I did. I'm also a little tired and require a nap today, as I had to pull an all nighter on Thursday to finish the "Bernie-computer" painting.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A day to remember!

This is a historic day, will be watching the inauguration pretty soon . . . it's funny, only three years ago I was in New York meeting with art directors and no one in New York seemed to know who Obama was? Everyone was talking as if Hillary was going to be the next president, the buzz was everywhere. Being from Chicago, I knew who Obama was . . . at the time he was a new Senator and there was talk of him "possibly" running for President. I remember every once in a while for the sake of conversation with the A.D.'s I would ask . . . "What about Obama, Chicago thinks he has a shot"? And every time the response would be . . . "Who's Obama?" This was only three years ago. I also remember the day Obama became Senator, it was the first I ever heard of him, it was a big deal then for him to be Senator . . . interesting how in just a few years time, a lot can happen.

OK, to my painting.

As you most likely can tell, this painting was done from my quick sketch on the previous post. I think it's interesting, the idea of a "sketch" vs. a "drawing". The way I look at "sketching" may be a bit different then others, but I don't really think so? For me sketching is like taking notes, scratching down information in prep for a "final work". "Drawing" would be taking a "sketch" to a final tight drawing . . .

Like my Obama sketch, a sketch sometimes only needs to enough of the "right" information for me to be able to take it to the next level, being a finished drawing or painting. I knew that my Obama sketch wasn't exact and it wasn't what it could be, but that's OK, because I also feel it's important to share my process even if it's in pieces here and there.

Sometimes a sketch can be a final piece of art, but for me, most of my sketches are practice, a place for me to experiment and try new things . . . and not everything is up to par with what I'd like to label as a "Seiler". But that's what sketching is for right?

I decided I would save my steps or at least a few of the steps while working on this painting. I started yesterday afternoon and spent a couple hours this morning on it, in total, about 6 hours of painting. My first intentions was to paint loose and paint enough for me to get the likeness the way I had intended. I ended up painting a lot longer and decided to do something more finished.

You can see from the steps that I started off by painting my entire canvas with an orangy-brown and then from there started putting color down . . . mostly greens and yellows.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The 44th!

Quick sketch I did this morning. I'm still experimenting with Obama's features, I've drawn and painted him more than a few times now, and every time I draw or paint him I try to do something different.

I spent a bit of time this weekend painting over my previous sketch of Bush, see updated sketch-painting below.

* I need to let everyone know that my next class on Caricature is filling up, there are only 15 seats available per semester and they're filling up. My next class starts on January 23rd. To learn more about my class at Schoolism click here. Remember, there are limited seats available for each class. *

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sean Cheetham Sketch!

Busy with a lot of things right now, but still trying to get some sketching in every day. This is a quick sketch I did this morning of artist Sean Cheetham. If you're not familiar with Sean's work, you're missing out. He's a fantastic painter, I absolutely love this guy's work.

*I'm getting closer to finishing the "Bauer" painting so stay tuned for updates on that.

*I'm working on updating my website, so i'll be sure to let everyone know when it's been updated. Also, I'm moving into a new studio space which I'm very excited about . . . more work to come!!!

Adios Y'all!

Farewell Georgie! Well, even though I only did a few GWB's for publication, they were some of my favorite pieces to work on . . . I'm going to miss drawing this guys face! Similar to Nixon, Bush looks like a living cartoon and is a lot of fun to draw and paint! When drawing Bush, you can exaggerate, or not exaggerate, it doesn't matter because regardless of what you do, it will look funny. The challenge is trying to draw him not looking funny . . . which is something I'm working on for something I'll hopefully be able to share in a couple months.

So as a farewell to the 43rd, here's a little sketch I did in my sketch book last night, i then painted on top of my sketch in photoshop . . . a study in values.

I'll leave you with some fun "Bushisms". When you read these, think of "Michael" from the show "The Office".

"I can press when there needs to be pressed; I can hold hands when there needs to be -- hold hands." --George W. Bush, on how he can contribute to the Middle East peace process, Washington, D.C., Jan. 4, 2008

"I got a lot of Ph.D.-types and smart people around me who come into the Oval Office and say, 'Mr. President, here's what's on my mind.' And I listen carefully to their advice. But having gathered the device, I decide, you know, I say, 'This is what we're going to do.'" --George W. Bush, Lancaster, Pa., Oct. 3, 2007

"You know, when you give a man more money in his pocket -- in this case, a woman more money in her pocket to expand a business, it -- they build new buildings. And when somebody builds a new building somebody has got to come and build the building. And when the building expanded it prevented additional opportunities for people to work." --George W. Bush, Lancaster, Pa., Oct. 3, 2007

"As yesterday's positive report card shows, childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured." --George W. Bush, on the No Child Left Behind Act, Washington, D.C., Sept. 26, 2007

"I heard somebody say, 'Where's (Nelson) Mandela?' Well, Mandela's dead. Because Saddam killed all the Mandelas." --George W. Bush, on the former South African president, who is still very much alive, Washington, D.C., Sept. 20, 2007

"I'm going to try to see if I can remember as much to make it sound like I'm smart on the subject." --George W. Bush, answering a question about a possible flu pandemic, Cleveland, July 10, 2007

"You know, I guess I'm like any other political figure: Everybody wants to be loved." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., July 12, 2007

The following are some Bush Caricatures that I've done over the last couple years . . .

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Quick sketch . . . CONAN!

Too cold in my studio to paint . . . absolutely freezing here in Chicago! Here's a quick sketch I did this morning, sort of cartoony. Would be fun to maybe develop this a bit more and from that do a nice painting?

Even if you can't do painting or finished drawings every day, I feel it's important as an artist to sketch at the very least. I find that these little sketches I do everyday help keep me in the game. Drawing and sketching is not like riding a bike.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Progress of an Acrylic Bauer!

As I've mentioned on previous posts, I am currently in the middle of a few different paintings for various clients. Hopefully I'll be able to share some of those soon.

For now, here are two steps or phases I have saved of an acrylic that I'm painting for Robert Bauer. The image on top is basically my block in, and the second image is as far as I got today painting.

I'll continue to post my progress with this, I hope to finish this one soon.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sketches for The Weekly Standard

This was another quick turnaround for The Weekly Standard. The a.d. liked the look of "The Office" sketches I've done lately and thought that look would be cool for this article. Also since I only had one day to do three small illustrations, my more "sketchy" style made it possible to finish in such a short time. I started yesterday morning and finished last night. Even though I did these in a looser style compared to what I normally do, it took me a bit longer than I thought it would. I ended up spending too much time on this first one, leaving me little time to finish the other two.

This one was done in about half the time of the first one.

This last one was done in about an hour and a half . . .

The following pictures are just a few that I had taken of myself for some quick reference for folds and expression.

Friday, January 09, 2009

More Marcelo Guerra sketches.

This is another quick sketch of Marcelo, trying to get a better feel for his face as well as character. These sketches were done with a bic ball point pen.

Another go from the same photo reference as posted before . . . I wanted to make some adjustments to his character.

This is just a goofy quick sketch that I did of my Dad while visiting this Christmas . . . it was done purely for a laugh, my Dad isn't fat, I just thought it would be funny! The way he was slouching on the couch made his face appear to be larger than it really is, all the more fun for exaggerating.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Pencil Sketch. Pope Benedict XVI

Whoever smelt it dealt it. Another little sketch from my sketchbook.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Ricky Gervais Steve Merchant Sketch

* I need to let everyone know that my next class on Caricature is filling up, there are only 15 seats available per semester and they're filling up. My next class starts on January 23rd. To learn more about my class at Schoolism click here. Remember, there are limited seats available for each class. *

If you're not familiar with Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant, you should be! They're responsible for the "original" show "The Office". Ricky and Steve also started another show called "Extras" which is also a MUST SEE . . . hilarious and very well written!

To the drawing . . . this is a pencil sketch in one of my smaller sketch books. One of my Christmas gifts this year was the box set of both season one and two as well as the two hour finale of "Extras". I've been wanting to do a drawing or painting of both these guys for a while now . . . for now I'm settled with a little sketch, but eventually I'd like to do something more with them. They both have such great features, it's hard to resist getting a sketch book out while watching them. Because I sketched both of them on this single small sheet, I wasn't able to show Steve Merchant's long and gangely body . . . if I were to do a painting of the two of them, I'd have Steve Merchant at least half a body taller in height above Ricky Gervais.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


This is a quick sketch I did for Marcelo Guerra. I will be doing an acrylic painting for Marcelo, so in prep for the painting, I like to do few sketches to get a feeling for what I'd like to see in the final painting. More sketches soon . . .
All artwork © JasonSeiler 2006 unless otherwise stated. All characters are copyright to their respective owners