Wednesday, January 28, 2009


George Bush - Frankenbush!...

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.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mr. Pitiful...

I did this drawing a couple of weeks ago. This sketch of Otis was a little less than a year ago about 3 months before I started Seiler's class.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama Sketch

Yesterday was a milestone in history, not just for America but for the whole world. To see a dream realised, which would have been absolutely inconceivable 40 years ago, shows us that anything is possible in this world.

I started this as a sketch, but as I was feeling inspired, I worked on it a bit more and I'm really happy with the result, I might even paint it eventually! I haven't done any political caricatures before, mainly because I mostly like to draw people who I admire in some way, and I find most politicians quite loathesome. But for me, Barack Obama is a symbol of hope, and the limitless potential in all of us. Maybe the world is coming to its senses...


Barack Obama caricature

For that 'special' smell

I'm afraid I haven't been working on anything topical like the Obama/Bush presidential caricatures, which are all amazing by the way.

I have been doing this picture of Nicole Kidman over the last week or so; it was sort of inspired by my falling into the Grand Union Canal on my bicycle last year, it wasn't very deep fortunately, but I came up smelling of .... well not exactly roses.

My wife has a bottle of Chanel No 5 which on the other hand smells really nice. ( I think that should cover me from legal action by Chanel!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"Get to da choppa!"

I was sitting on my computer earlier today checking the usual sites and blogs... when I caught a glimpse of George W. Bush get into a helicopter on the T.V. ... I then started to think... I've never done a caricature sketch of GW yet..., so here you go... here's a rough sketch of our former President. 
Obama Sketch...

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.

am i late?

Well,i've been working on that one for a year or so(lol)...
but hey,it's just a wip...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

President Obama (yes...another one)

As an editorial cartoonist, I anticipate having to draw this guy quite a bit over the next 4 to 8 years or so. This one is for an editorial illustration this week.

Seth Bulloch

Deadwood is my new favorite show. I got the three season set and I'm having to ration them out. I believe I could watch all 36 hours at one sitting. Definitely put the kids to bed before turning it on. It's raunchy.

Friday, January 16, 2009

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 . . .

Thursday, January 15, 2009

just a few sketches...

whats up all, im Torren and im currently working on the last assignment for jason's caricature class. i got sick of working on my project last night and decided to do some sketches just to get my mind off of it. anyway these are what i came up with, and just in case some are not familar with the subjects they are rapper plies, biz markie, and of course bill cosby.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Spielberg WIP


Here's my first post since doing Jason's course... it was such a great learning experience!

It's a bit small, but its still a work in progress so its pretty loose in certain parts....
All comments are welcome!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Robert Redford Sketch...

A quickie sketch I did last night...

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 9, 2009

Madoff Sketch

Wanted to do a loose sketch, just for fun... but went overboard in the end. It was fun. =)

Bernard Madoff (ref. pic.), former chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange and a "Wall Street legend", arrested and charged with perpetrating the largest securities fraud ever committed by a single individual, amounting to over US$50 billion.

On the day prior to his arrest, Madoff told his sons that he was "finished" and that the investment arm of his hedge fund company, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, was "basically, a giant Ponzi scheme". He was turned in by his sons.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The new Dr Who - Matt Smith...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Bruce Willis Caricature - Jon Moss

Happy New Year to all. This is my first time at posting on the blog so go easy on me! I'm currently enrolled on Jason's course and into the final assignment. Hello to all who've gone before me. I am sure that like myself you've been nothing less than impressed by the quality of instruction and feedback. This course has been without doubt the best money I've spent on anything art related even in these days of the weak pound (£).
I have decided to make Brucie here my first submission to the blog. I painted this initially as a finished black and white value painting. The technique I used to colourize (colorize, for the americans) was to paint a new layer in the colorize mode using a split complimentary palette and then quickly revert to normal mode on a new layer and paint in a more direct method.
After some last minute structural changes (horizontal flip, thank you) I was happy Bruce no longer had a head similar to that of a squashed potato and was pleased with the final results.