Busy, Busy, Busy…

March 4th, 2013 | Posted in Freelancing

Clicky any to Embiggen…

This is going to be a killer week with a cover for the Utne reader due and trying to finish up a five page parody for MAD, plus the back cover of a trade publication that is going to be a really fun parody “homage” to a famous movie poster coming up right after that. There might not be a lot of time for blogging this week. In the meantime, here is my latest Marlin Co. workplace poster illustration. Final above, below the pencil roughs and inks.

The assignment…an illustration of a teenager multitasking on several electronic gadgets… gaming on the computer, texting, video chatting on a tablet, etc. ;ate at night. His parents are trying to tell him he has two minutes to wrap it up until they have the cable disconnected. cable guy at the ready. Weirdly they asked for a football referee to be there signalling the “two minute warning”.

Pencil sketch one: unplug

The referee was not a very strong idea. First off, nobody but a real NFL nut would have any idea what the hand signal for the two minute warning is, so I had to try and get that idea across using “layman’s” body language. Doesn’t work, too ambiguous. They decided to axe the ref and make the parents more gleeful about the impending disconnect.

Pencil sketch two:


A little better. The addition of the “12:00 MIDNIGHT” on the work order does the trick, that and the alarm clock time saying 11:58.

The inks:


It’s worth pointing out that ordinarily I would have had some fun with the teenager’s room and made it trashed with lots of empty soda cans, junk food wrappers, etc. I have a 16 year old son, so I know of what I speak. However knowing the client would not want anything negative about the kid as being part of the humor, I gave him an unnaturally clean and austere room.


  1. “greatness” is a demanding thing Tom.

  2. Obviously, you know our cable guy. Would you please ask him to stop hanging the yellow disconnect notices on our door knob?

  3. N. Gomes says:

    Brilliant work Sir. What fascinates me among other things is the strong play of light and shade in some of your work like in this work. Do you keep/ use a reference for that as well? or is it plainly from imagination and experience. secondly did you painted the moon completly or worked over image.
    Another thing- when you post the inking page i guess you mostly post it post cleaning. I guess your fans like me would love to see an inking page version of this marlin poster before cleaning in photoshop so to get an idea of the volume of cleaning even a master like you require and how much time it involves.

    • Tom says:

      Light and shading is just right out of my head… I’ve done that enough to be able to pull that kind of thing off without any references. This king of image is hardly photo realistic, so it isn’t that hard to make it work. The moon is an image I painted a while ago and have saved for whenever I need a moon in an illustration. I believe I did start with a stock picture of the moon, ran it through some filters, painted over it and ended up with a useable illustrated moon. Looking at it, though, I really need to do one from screatch as it still looks too “photo” like.

      Honestly the inks I scan in are not far from what you see on the finals. The occasional messed up line, some splatters, maybe a smear here and there. I do not do a lot of clean up.

      • N. Gomes says:

        Thanks ! and have you ever given a shot to adobe Illustrator as an inkingmedium/
        And since you know that a lot of people can’t get there way around with a crowquill have you satisfactorily tried any non-digital alternative..like say glass nib pen, Artist’s pen by Grumbacher.. something which isn’t as diluted as brush pens but has as dense thick looking ink which could hold the lines after scanning and pre-coloring adjustments, and still is as flowy and easy to use as say a marker, fibre tip pen……Maybe i’m asking for too much but something close?


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

Workshops Ad

Dracula ad

Doctor Who Ad

Superman Ad

%d bloggers like this: