Columbia Blue
posted: September 29, 2013

Spent the better part of this September travelling. Just got back into my studio. I looked online to see if an assignment I did a couple of months ago ran. Happy to see it did, seems to have just come out. It's an illustration for the Columbia Law School magazine. The article is about corporate law on the international stage. Art Director was John Goryl at B&G Design Studios. John & I approached the subject fairly directly. I executed the image with vector software.
Progressing Back
posted: March 24, 2011
This month's April cover is about the struggles of unionized workers. It's interesting that at the beginning of the twenty-first century, it feels like the nineteenth. The very upper levels of American society seem set on draining every last drop out of the country. It's the teachers, firefighters, police, and other unionized labor that are the bones of a civil society which are now again under attack. As their voices are stripped away, tax breaks for the upper incomes over $200,000, are renewed. The common good of a community seems too much of an expanse for the wealthy to contribute to on a proportional basis. It's playing out in the state capitals across the USA. The cover story is about the events in Wisconsin.
April Cover art - Art Director; Nick Jehlen

I've worked with Nick Jehlen at the The Progressive a number of times over the years. Quite often regarding the subject of workers, and the struggles of laborers.
For The Progressive's Hidden History calender. First United Auto Workers contract 1937, sit down strike. Art Director; Nick Jehlen.
1932 unemployed march on grocery stores in Toledo Ohio. For The Progressives Hidden History calender. Art Director; Nick Jehlen.

Another Wisconsin struggle, as Workers fight to keep their town alive. Art Director; Nick Jehlen.

Less Than Half
posted: February 22, 2011
Spots, icons, ding bats, secondaries, less than half a page or smaller, while working on smaller assignments I've heard them called many things. The do present their own set of unique demands, and are usually swimming in type. Here's some of my recent efforts. The illustrations below printed less than half a page;
For Popular Science magazine. Protecting your smart phone from viruses. Art director; Matt Cokeley. Oils on paper.

For Motor Trend magazine. Politics in the automobile industry. Art director; Andy Foster. Vector artwork

For Motor Trend magazine. Viruses in a car computer systems. Art director; Darren Scott. Vector artwork.

Above - Icons for article about jobs with a future in Germany. For the magazine; Wirtschafts Woche, art director; Holger Windfuhr. Vector - artwork
posted: February 16, 2011
A subject I dealt with before leaving for a winter break from work, was somewhat timely. The subject of violence in the workplace. The art director for the assignment was the every open, and insightful, Roy Comiskey. The signs for possible violent events seem to be there, yet can happen without warning. I can say that the subject was interesting, and as someone who works alone, it's a curiousity. An employer it would seem has to maintain a vigilence. I wanted a darker tone, offset by a more banal setting. The cubicles I've seen in office spaces always leave me with an odd feeling. I enjoyed the subject manner as it delves into the struggles of contemporary life & work. Working with Roy is a pleasure. My winter break is over, and it's back to it in a none violent manner.

In my pencil sketches I'd developed a split panel approach to crop in on some telltale signs.
Feedback from Roy & the editor had me developing sketch #1 further. The finish is a simpler split.

Illustration into Roy's layout for Security Management magazine

posted: December 3, 2010
Dog is a noun, and can be a descriptor. Recently I did an illustration of a dog. It's a subject I've dealt with over the years. It's funny I've always had a picture in my mind's eye of the dog symbol. I'm not a big fan of small dogs, sorry Cesar. In my most recent dog themed assignment the art director, Jennifer Bumgardener was quite specific in her concept for the cover. Instead of chasing my tail, and her concept was fine with me. The issue is the December 2010 which covers the ninth-annual Industry Recognition Awards. So a magazine with the title of Pet Business, wanted a dog with a trophy. Oh yeah Jennifer asked for a coat on the pooch. Now it's not world politics, but people love their pets, and it's a cover. Covers can be a mixed honour, as area for type can really squeeze the art. The two sketches show a dog with a different attitude. Sketch number one was of a dog with an aloof presentation of the awarded trophy. Number two sketch is of a more triumphant K9. I actually liked the deadpan tone in number one, but the celebratory tone of number two was waved through. I've also attached several dogs from the past for some reference. Yes, I've painted a few dogs.

Vector art
New York Times - Sports - betting on underdogs. Brush & Ink. 2007

Warner Books Publishing - sometime back in 90's. Oils on canvas.

Financial Times - Dog Eat Dog. Oils on heavy stock. 1992

Hands Up
posted: September 15, 2010
for The Wall Street Journal
Over the last few years the symbolism of a hand has stood in for that of a figure in my work. In quite a few of my recent assignments the need to indicate an individual can be fraught with questions of nationality, race, and others. For many years I developed a figure with a generic structure purposefully. There was, and have been questions when I worked of making sure that the figure was not too "scary". Use of shadows, and usually requested powerful figures made some clients uncomfortable even though it was that very quality that had them calling on me. After working through many sketches, the simplicity of the hand as a representation of a group with the fingers, or just a lone individual, and many of the nagging questions went away. I do enjoy working with the figure still, but … well in many cases it's ended up being a hand. This last week it was a hand for the Wall Street Journal. An article on investing in power & utilities, and the editors wanted POWER. It was the art director, Orlie Kraus who called. Hell we even talked on the phone! Not just email, and text. Well Orlie & I worked hard to offer the editors(word people) solid choices. The first round of my sketches were sent, and well so it went. The Hand was the editor's pick. Next was the request for "Show Me The Money", dollar sign, and dollars added. With the second round, Orlie tried to offer our favourite of the utility towers for reconsideration. Nope, it was POWER that was wanted, and the hand was waved through. I went at the hand to make it as powerful as requested!
First round sketches.
Second round sketches.
Another recently published hand based illustration done for the National Federation of Labor. Subject; Organize The Unorganized!
Prius & Porsche
posted: August 23, 2010
Couple of recent assignments were car related. First one was a cover for an international edition of Newsweek. The title was the Flying Prius about the never ending dream of the flying wing. It's the pursuit to bring the energy efficient qualities of the flying wing shape to the mainstream commercial aviation industry. Creating a version of the Prius for the airline industry. Art Director; Adolfo Valle.

Final direction


The next one was for Motor Trend. Its a regular column with a roving subject. This month's about the enjoyment and build of a classic Porsche replica. These newly built replicas are mechanically superior to the original,  while retaining the original classic lines, and interior look. Allowing the owner peace of mind of not putting an original in harm's way while driving in the real world. Personally I'd still be sweating as these high quality replicas are not cheap either. Title for the column was; Auto Avatar, the bathtub Porsche reimagined in Cameron-grade HD/3D/CGI brilliance. Art Director; Andy Foster.
Yes, that's a Navi at the wheel.

posted: August 2, 2010

Illustration for Research News 2010 summer issue. The idea for this illustration was to simply indicate the piercing of a cell membrane. In an article about taking apart an infectious disease, the subject of Dr. Stefan Pukatzki, who has uncovered a new method that bacteria use to cause disease. The art director for this assignment was Lara Minja, of Lime Design inc. Lara, and I aimed for a simple graphic. I worked in a vector based approach as it lent itself to a clean image with rich colours. The precision of piercing a cell, and injecting material is the work of a labratory, and medical research. I enjoyed the opportunity to explore a somewhat abstracted way of designing the image in my sketches. There is space in the upper area for type as well. I enjoyed working with Lara.
Pencil Sketches

Muscle & Shadow
posted: July 21, 2010
Couple strong guys for recent assignments. A full page image about labor costs for Convene magazine. The next one is for National Geographic online, and about reducing energy use, that's belt tightening. Another one for Motor Trend, well it's shadowy, and about an American "muscle" car. The Mustang, the original pony car becomes a thoroughbred.

World Cup
posted: June 7, 2010

Well it's been awhile since I've done a TIME cover. D.W. Pine emailed asking if I was available over the Memorial Day weekend. No one phones anymore, and maybe D.W. needed someone who wasn't going anywhere for the weekend, Ha! He thought a very strong graphic, poster-type cover with a player and ball would be cool in my style. Very straight forward, and to the point. Fine with me, as I enjoy the opportunity to really explore a object in it's structure. One of the bigger choices for me was whether to portray the traditional black & white soccer ball. I went with a more contemporary looking ball as it describes more appropriately the feeling to the event held in South Africa. As with any current cover work, there is the need for providing space for the necessary text, and masthead while maintaining the energy. Originally the text was to be on the left, but after an Editor review it was now on the right.  The Editor wanted a single player making a kick from the back, as I had done with another sports image of a baseball player. Not highlighting any one player was the goal.
First round of sketches with text in the lower left.

Text moved to the right. The energy was not going in the 4th sketch. I sent D.W. another even before he responded to #4.

Base drawing for paint. The number 19 is for the 19th World Cup. On to finish, and back to the top.

All images copyright Douglas Fraser