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Archive for February, 2014

A few years ago my wife and I saw Philip Seymour Hoffman perform in,”Death of a Salesman”,on Broadway. The entire cast was unbelievable, but I particularly remember being affected by the final scene, which was a heated emotional exchange between Mr. Hoffman and Andrew Garfield. To say it was intense, would be an understatement. I was almost uncomfortable watching it unfold, but still I sat on the edge of my seat hanging on to every yelling word that was mingled in with tears of rage. I was beyond moved. After the performance, when the entire cast met on stage, held hands and bowed, Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Garfield were both still breathing heavy and in tears. At that moment I realized what an emotional toll a performance like this must take on the soul. I wondered what event in their lives did they bring up in their minds to draw such concentrated pain, anger and grief from. The experience stuck with me.

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First rough sketch and color study I did.

When I learned of Mr. Hoffman’s passing in early February, I have to admit, it came as a shock. The nature of how he died gave me a slight idea of where he drew his emotion from during his performances. He was obviously struggling with his own demons and I imagine that he brought personal issues to the forefront of his mind that ate him away slowly.

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This was the final drawing that I did followed by another color sketch. I wasn’t feeling confident about the likeness, so I did the color sketches just to make sure I was moving in the right path.

Anyway, I won’t even try to rationalize or pretend that I understand him as a person, because we never met. I can only say that he was an artist, and I’m sad that we lost one of our own. Watching him perform live was inspiring.

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I wanted the portrait to be understated. Nothing over the top. I just wanted to capture the emotion in his face.

PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN BY DAVID COOPER

Here’s to you Mr. Hoffman.

D.

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This is a sketch I did for the opener of Siempre Mujer’s Feb/Mar 14, Best Beauty Buys, written by Jess Torres. In this story we featured products that were “reader picked”. Thus, the concept of the prize crane picking the best beauty products out of the pile. Our creative director, Stacy Marchelos placed the sketch into the layout, which I then showed to our photographer, the ever talented, Jeff Harris and our prop stylist, Wendy Schelah.

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Here’s the prop she made based on my sketch.

And here’s the story. Much thanks to Jeff, who really breaths life into these idea’s, Stacy’s bold design and of course Wendy who translated my sketch into a real object. I’m in awe of you all.

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Thanks for looking.

D.

 

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A few months ago I walked into my creative director’s office at Siempre Mujer Magazine, where I work as the photo editor. She was in the middle of doing stock research for a story she was designing. If you don’t know, stock research is the process of finding pre-existing art to use for publication. Anyway, she wasn’t having much luck in finding a suitable image, so she asked if I’d be interested in doing an illustration for the article. Being that I’m the photo editor at the magazine, this really isn’t something I do too often for them, but I found the topic of the article interesting, which was why meditation and good eating is good for a healthy heart in women. I also thought it would be a good idea for me to add a womens’ focussed piece to my portfolio, since it lacks those kinds of works.  The illustration was slated to run as a FULL PAGE, which was also an added incentive to do the assignment. I immediately saw a few images in my head, so I sketched them out really quickly. (See the sketches below.) When I do sketches for assignments or personal projects, I always try to think up at least three different concepts, to help fully explore the topic. I try to keep the drawing very loose and rough. This helps me to not commit to any one idea too soon.  When presenting my sketches to clients, this technique also helps to move the discussion forward quickly because I’m giving them options. Clients LOVE options.  Here’s a little side note. I’m an illustrator and I’m a photo editor, so I have the unique opportunity to place myself in the shoes of the client/art buyer and the artist. Having a foot in both worlds really gives me valuable insight into each one. Anyway, I digress.

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SKETCH #1: For this idea I wanted to create a light atmospheric mood, by showing heart shaped balloons rising into the sky. The main character grasping the balloon affectionately is symbolic of her taking care and loving her heart.

SKETCH#2: For this idea I wanted to evoke a sense of power, which stems from a healthy heart. I was planning to make the heart look like an ornate tattoo design. I added flowers to the composition to represent life and the beauty of living.

SKETCH#3: For this idea I wanted to make the role of the woman be a super hero, her heart being her super power deflecting off danger.

The creative director and editor-in-chief approved SKETCH #1. They also requested that I do a RUN-OVER image to accompany the main FULL PAGE illustration. RUN-OVER illustrations usually appear much smaller than the main piece and they usually echo the idea of it.  So, I drew up this tighter sketch along with an idea for the RUN-OVER illustration, which was a bowl of salad floating on a heart shaped balloon.

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At this point I had to show the tighter sketches to my creative director to get approval to move to the final illustration. Once I got her blessing, it was time to get busy.  My illustration technique is made up of a combination of  traditional and digital techniques. I printed the sketch onto a clean sheet of water color paper and then I inked it using waterproof india ink and a brush.

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Then I scanned my drawing into the computer so I could start the coloring process in PHOTOSHOP.

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These are progress shots I took while working on the piece. Naturally there’s a lot of back and fourth during this process such as figuring out colors and in this case, I changed a few elements in the characters face, hair and the clouds in the bottom right corner. I also added a set of buddhist prayer beads to the main character’s wrist, which is a tiny detail that I thought would re-enforce the idea of meditation, which this piece is ultimately about.

Finally, the piece was finished and I delivered it to the client aka my boss.

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Here’s how the story turned out in the end.

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Thanks for looking!

D.

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