Category Archives: 12 Week Challenge

4 Week Challenge: the Wrap Up

3 Images ~ 4 Weeks

I wanted to share what I’ve been up to for the last few weeks. Recently I participated in another challenge hosted by Jonathan Woodward and the Zero2Illo crew. The first challenge was the 12 Week Challenge, and to be honest I fell off the wagon at about week 8 when the challenge was “Build Your Own Website.” While I wasn’t able to finish a site in a week, it did finally get up and running, and so here it is! Tah-Dah!

Feeling a little like I’d left some strings dangling loose in the wind, I was happy to dive back in with the 4 Week Challenge. This challenge was specifically focused on creating new images. Bam. Simple as that. I can see myself bringing in more “editorial” type of work and so, I chose to bolster my portfolio with some appropriate images. Given the week turn around time on the images it seemed like a good fit. Now, having said all that, while I wasn’t able to do 4 images in 4 weeks, however I did manage to complete 2 new editorial images, and to finish up a wrap around book cover that I’d been working on, as well as creating a small video of 20 minute watercolors to accompany an essay I wrote on the subject of Craft.


As Fate would have it, as the challenge began a rather big news story hit, the repeal of Proposition 8 here in California, which basically has to do with people’s rights to marry whomever they wish. I definitely fall into the “human beings living in the 21st century camp” on this issue, and saw an opportunity to create a piece that was “of the moment.” There is a quick blog post where I’ve written more about this and it also includes a local news article on the topic. So, the 4 Week Challenge began on a note about love. (…eesh, sappy right?!)

Next up on the ol’ drawing board was a wrap around book cover for a Noir Anthology entitled “Send My Love and a Molotov Cocktail.” I’d been working for a while on this one, and the original concept was way more generic. You know, the woman in red with a molotov cocktail behind her, or something like that. All the ideas that I had seemed so unappealing to me. So, I took a look at these more object oriented pieces that I was creating and chose to try to boil (Hard Boiled that is…) this Noir Anthology down to something that is more emblematic of the genre and put a big effort into trying to create the feeling of the book.

Send My Love & A Molotov Cocktail: the full wrap around cover image

Because it is an Anthology, there were of course numerous Authors and Editors. Knowing that in the beginning helped me while designing the book cover. I can’t wait until this one hits the stores!

The Final Cover Design

The third and final image that was created specifically for this challenge was inspired by a talk that SooJin Buzelli gave at the ICON 6 conference. When listening to her as she described her art briefs, and showed the corresponding works, I was really struck by prosaic way that she presented the problems to the illustrators as well as the incredible caliber of talent she works with. So, I emboldened myself and contacted her through Facebook, and bluntly asked for some old art briefs, what I like to think of as “art poems.” She was very gracious and sent me 5 different themes. The one that I settled on was “Measuring Something Impossible.” I mean, wow, there’s just so many way’s to go with that! This is the way that I’ve chosen.

"Measuring Something Impossible"

It was sure fun hanging out on the Zero2Illo message boards and working there with some really nice folks. There is some really great work being done there. I have to admit that through out this year, and my travels, I have been really struck by  the sincerity of practice that I’ve encountered from being in contact with other illustrators. It does a lot for me to be exposed to others who share this same passion for illustration. If that’s you, and you know who you are, Thank you!

So, stay tuned, there will be another process post about “Measuring The Impossible” coming soon. That was a really great problem to solve, and I’d like to share some of my thoughts behind the image. Thank you for reading along, and as ever, I am loving hearing from folks, so feel free to comment here or to shoot me an email.

Also here are some links to items mentioned in this post:

Zero2Illo: A Blog For Aspiring Illustrators

Craft is Not A Dirty Word: A short essay by Brian Bowes which also contains a short video of 20 mintute watercolors done as a daily exercise, or you can also see it on YouTube: It’s Only 20 Minutes

The blog post for the Lovebirds A Time For Love

Other posts regarding my experiences and images that were created during the 12 Week Challenge: {here}

You can see SooJin’s talk at ICON 6 through the Escape From Illustration Island podcast: Creative Directors who Dig Illustration Pt.1

12WC: Week 2: OGSM

12WC: Week 2: OGSM

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Up to the Challenge

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Watercolor Process