Friday, May 17, 2013

Covering the Beer Revolution

Sometimes work finds you. Usually when you already have more then enough to do. I was in just that state of heightened activity when my old friend, Jeff Maisey, owner/publisher of VEER Magazine approached me to create an illustration of George Washington raising a pint for the May issue. "When do you need it?" I asked him. "I don't need it until May second. That gives you plenty of time". "I'm leaving for Scotland on April twenty-fifth, so I'll have to have it to you by the twenty-fourth". And so it began.
Jeff's idea to have Washington raising a pint came from another venture of his, a new web site promoting Virginia Craft Beer, and with Virginia being strong in the "Founding Father's" department and George being such a recognizable figure, it was a natural. I decided to take a pop art approach to the piece, with bold colors, heavy lines and starburst background. Jeff approved my concept and I was off and drawing. I only had to reach into my pocket and pull out a dollar bill to use as reference for my portrait. I also served as my own hand model and used the camera built-in to my laptop to shoot a few images of my hand holding a pint glass.

I decided the final work would be done as a vector image in Adobe Illustrator, so that I would have maximum flexibility with color and scalability. I scanned in my drawings, George and the hand holding the pint were separate pieces and placed them in my Illustrator document. I tried the auto-trace feature on my scans, but my first drawings of George were too rough and I couldn't get the look I had in mind, so I created a larger, cleaner drawing of George (shown above) by doing a quick tracing over a blown-up image from the dollar bill and finishing details by hand. This image yielded better results with the auto-trace. I cleaned-up any unwanted artifacts and modeled the mouth into a smirk. All the coloring was done on separate layers above and below the outlines using the paintbrush tool controlled via mouse (next time I'll have a Wacom tablet). I finished the illo with the starburst background and sign plate with the tagline, "a revolution is brewing" and delivered my files via dropbox. In the final printed version, they added the Virginia Craft Beer title. The printed issue is available in the Tidewater region of coastal Virginia through the month of May.