Friday, February 27, 2009

Art and design for Texstar Plastics

Jim Donahue, the Advertising Manager of the Premier Corporation commissioned me to do the design, art and photography for a brochure for one of their companies, Texstar Plastics. I flew down to Grand Prairie, Texas to photograph the company's various operations. Texstar was engaged in manufacturing military aircraft canopy tops and the visors used by astronauts as well as a host of other items. They even made a full size plastic mockup of the Navy VFX aircraft, a fascinating project.

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For the cover of the brochure I did a large abstract painting depicting the vacuum forming process, which they later hung in their offices.

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One of the page spreads in the brochure.

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Some of the ink line illustrations done for the brochure.

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It was an interesting, fun assignment and they were very pleased with the brochure. One evening the executives invited my wife and me out to dinner, we ended up in the company airplane and headed down to dine in Piedras Negras, Mexico! They entertain in a big way down there.

HB Texstar

A rare occurrence, Texstar even gave me a very nice credit in the brochure, a great client.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Art and design for the Premier Corporation

Early in 1972 I got a call from Jim Donahue, he wanted me to design and do the art for a brochure. I first met Jim when I was a fifteen year old kid working in the art department at Brophy engraving Company in Detroit, Michigan. Later, sometime in 1947, I joined Jim's new art studio, Allied Artists. Now Jim was working for the Premier Corporation as their Advertising Manager. Premier owned several companies and were also involved with breeding Black Angus cattle at Meadowbrook Farms. Below is an illustration I did for one of their newspaper ads.

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This illustration was painted on a canvas-surfaced board using washes of acrylic paint. Jim wanted a loose fine art feel to the image, rather than a hard-boiled illustration.

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These are my first rough sketches for the Premier brochure cover which I did to show Jim.

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This is the marker comp layout of the cover which was approved and below is the final printed piece. The brochure had a lot of photos as well as art on the interior pages. This was a very interesting assignment as Premier was shipping Angus cattle to Japan and wanted me to fly along to do the photography for the brochure. Yes, I actually flew on the cargo plane with the cattle to Japan ! They wouldn't let my wife Jeanne fly on the cargo plane so they flew her on a regular flight. The only photography involved was of the actual unloading of the cattle, so after that Jeanne and I had a great vacation in Japan. On the way home we decided to stay in Hawaii for a few days. I wish every assignment were this good, although I have been very fortunate to have many interesting perks throughout my career.

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Here is a sketch of us approaching Japan, that's Mount Fuji straight ahead. Originally I had a seat inside the cargo area where the cattle were. It was so cold in the cargo hold that the crew let me stay with them in the cockpit. The fellow with the pipe is a doctor that was along in case the cattle got wild and he would have to sedate them.

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A sketch of the actual unloading of the cattle. I took quite a few photographs as well. After the unloading I stayed at the airport and waited for Jeanne's flight to arrive.

We had a great vacation and even went to Kyoto, this is a sketch of our ryokan (Japanese Inn). In Tokyo I had the hotel arrange for us to visit a Japanese art studio which was very interesting. One of their accounts was Honda who were only building motorcycles at that time.
I did quite a few other interesting assignments for Premier which I will show on the next few posts.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Assignment: A poster done in ink line and color

Around 1997 my old friend Tom Clarke ended up in Las Vegas where he was working for Ron Bell Associates as the art director. Among other things, the agency was doing the advertising and promotion for the Glory Hole Casino in Denver, Colorado. I got a call from Tom one day, he needed a poster done for the casino, it turned out to a great assignment. Below is the rough sketch that he faxed me, we didn't have computers at the time.


Above is the first rough sketch I did to see if I was on the right track. After faxing it to Tom we had a couple of discussions on the phone and the direction became a bit clearer. I did a new quick rough sketch and he agreed that it was now working pretty good.


Below is the tighter pencil sketch which was faxed to him very early in the morning. If I remember correctly, we were on a tight deadline schedule and I had to get started on the art before he saw the new revised sketch. Tom would be calling me when he got in the office at 9 AM Las Vegas time to give me his final OK on the new sketch.


The finished pencil sketch for the poster.


Some detailed drawing I did of the various figures.



The finished art was done using a crowquill pen and brush with India ink on illustration board. This actually was the last ink line art assignment I did. I specialized in this type of art for about 40 years.


A film positive was made of the art and the color was painted underneath on illustration board, the same process that we used to use when illustrating Chevrolet ads years before. Incidentally, I did a great deal of work for Tom when he was art director on the Chevy account at Campbell Ewald in Detroit.


The final printed poster.


Recently I adapted part of the original ink drawing to create this comic book cover parody. This was done on the computer as are my other parodies in this series of limited edition prints.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Caught in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war

My wife Jeanne and I were in Luxor, Egypt when the Yom Kippur War broke out. Everyone was making a mad dash to the train station to get back to Cairo where we could hopefully catch a plane to get out of the country. These drawings were done for an article about our adventure that appeared in the Detroit Free Press.

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Jeanne had bought a man's robe and was wearing it when we left, not sure that was a great idea. She was the focus of all the men's curiosity who had probably never seen a woman in a man's garb before. With hundreds of people trying to get out of Luxor it was a real nightmare at the train station as the airport was closed.

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It seemed like hours before we finally left Luxor. During the trip I remember passing an airport and seeing Egyptian military jets taking off. When we arrived in Cairo we were taken to the Sheraton Hotel until preparations could be made to get us out of Egypt.

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We were told to stay in the hotel where we would receive instructions about how we would be evacuated out of Egypt. Jeanne and I were having a drink in the bar on the roof of the hotel when suddenly two rockets were fired into the sky, the Israeli Air Force was overhead. We were told to all get back into our rooms, not to turn on any lights that night and to have all of our luggage packed and ready to go.
From our balcony we could see a steady stream of Russian transport planes heading for the Cairo airport. It was a strange experience and we had no idea if we would actually be able to leave in spite of the assurance of the US consulate. Leaving by air was impossible as the Cairo airport had been closed down for commercial traffic.
At about 3 AM we got a frantic call to get down to the lobby with all of our belongings, we would be leaving at any moment.

War 5

I think there were six buses in our caravan, all had large green crosses painted on their roofs, we were on our way out of Cairo, headed for Bengazi, Libya. Along the way, we saw a few Egyptian jets fly low overhead.

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We stopped at El Alamein where we saw the remains of World War II German tanks, this was the location of two major battles in the war.

War 1

When we reached the Libyan border it was total chaos, many cars , trucks and buses were trying to leave Egypt. The Libyan government refused to let us through unless we had each of our passports translated into Arabic. Naturally, this took hours, but we finally were on our way again. The officials told all the women not to leave the bus as there was the possibility of them being kidnapped, no one questioned it and they all remained on the bus.

War 3

Sometime in the middle of the night we reached Derna where the buses gassed up, then we were on our way again. soon after dawn arrived we were in for another experience, we were caught in a terrible sandstorm which made driving almost impossible. After a few hours we finally reached Bengazi. The officials there took my cameras away and left them on the floor of the bus near the front door. I protested, not wanting my equipment to get stolen. They said that would not happen here as the punishment for stealing in Libya is to have one's hand cut off. So there was my Nikon equipment just laying on the floor of an open bus in Bengazi, Libya.
At that time we didn't have a consulate in Libya, but the US sent a representative to help us get hotel rooms and to get us out of Libya. A day later we were flown to Rome on a Bulgarian airliner and I still had my trusty Nikon with me. Needless to say, by this time we were all worn out, Jeanne even became ill and could not enjoy her stay in Rome.


This is a map of our trip to Bengazi which I estimate was about 700 miles. Near the end of our journey, somewhere between Al Bayda and Bengazi, is where we got caught in that terrible sandstorm, as if we needed more problems.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

African watercolor sketches

Africa 1

Early in 1971 my wife and I roamed Africa, a place of incredible contrasts. It was actually a long vacation and we visited Ghana, Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. I shot this cover photo in my own backyard using a sketch that I did in the Makola Market in Accra, Ghana. The Coke bottle was from Addis Ababa with the Coca Cola logo in Amharic.

Africa 3

Makola Market is one of the largest in Africa. The women vendors were highly superstitious, when I began photographing the various stalls, they rapidly covered up all of the food. When I began doing sketches they reluctantly posed.

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The market is dominated by women who seem to do all of the buying and selling, elegant women with fantastic postures from carrying heavy bundles upon their heads.

Africa 4

We stayed at a handsome government lodge at Ngulia Hills in the Tsavo National Park in Kenya. There was a water hole nearby and we saw many wild animals there at all hours of the day and night. While I sketched these elephants, 22 more ambled over the hill.

Africa 3

This sketch was done in Khartoum, the capital of the Sudan. The British built a large pumping station when they were here and even though this is a desert city, there are many trees growing everywhere. It's a strange city, very exotic, unfamiliar.

Africa 2

Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia, a charming, sophisticated city. The scene sketched here is only part of the remarkable panorama we could see from our balcony. It's located so near the equator that you'd expect it to be miserably hot. Instead, because of its 8,000 foot elevation, it's always cool in the shade.

Monday, February 16, 2009

More travel sketches

More travel art for Transcontinental Travel and Universal International Tours.

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Above is an ink line sketch of the elegant lobby in the Beirut Holiday Inn. We decided to use it in a newspaper ad, but I had to flop the image to make it work as a better design in the ad below.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Fun with travel art

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My rough layout sketch and the finished newspaper ad.

Typical of the newspaper ads that I designed for Transcontinental. The art was done using the scratchboard technique which creates a very strong image. You couldn't miss these ads, they really popped off the page which was cluttered with other travel ads.

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These are more examples of some of the art that I did for Transcontinental's ads and Universal International Tours brochures.

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These sketches are based on photos that were taken on various trips. The drawings were interesting touches for Transcontinental's ads and brochures.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More travel ads and art

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One of the illustrations that I did for a Transcontinental Mexican brochure.

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I adapted the girl from the color illustration to use in a newspaper ad.

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Another black and white newspaper ad illustration..

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Transcontinental needed very strong black and white newspaper ads and these are part of of the series that I developed for them. These strong ads really popped out in the newspapers. At the left is a rough sketch, the right is the final ad. The artwork was done on scratchboard which creates a strong, black image, a great technique for small newspaper ads.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Transcontinental Travel Bureau art

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Here is a cover illustration for a Hawaiian brochure. This was drawn in pencil and the color was added with acrylic paint.

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These are the interior and rear cover illustrations for the Hawaiian brochure. I had great fun experimenting with these pieces.

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This illustration was for a proposed brochure cover, however I don't believe that it ever got printed. Transcontinental pretty much gave me a free hand in what I did for them, a perfect client for an illustrator. Actually, I was more like their advertising agency as I not only did their illustrations I also designed and created all of the ideas for their newspaper ads and brochures.