2017 Carolina Hurricanes Homegrown Series

2016-2017 was a crazy time. I was glad to be a part of the first Homegrown Series put on by the Carolina Hurricanes. The fact that I was offered an opportunity to assist on more than one occasion had me above the clouds. The Homegrown Series is an idea that started last year that introduces fans to enjoy local food, beer, As their 20th year anniversary as a hockey club was approaching, I wondered if they were going keep it going for this anniversary year. I wondered how much it'd change based on last years reception. I was reached out to by Kyle Fowlkes (Carolina Hurricanes Graphic Designer) and was asked if I'd be able to return and contribute a poster design alongside this year's new lineup of amazing artists.

This years design is quite similar to direction as last year's PNC Arena poster. The concept this time around was to bring more of a personal approach to the design. The idea was to bring in the teams Captains and leading goalie into the eye of a storm. I wanted it to be intense, powerful and convey the team and fans unwavering spirit. I used a few symmetrical composition tricks to help set up the poster for the most impact.

Below is a timeline on how this poster came to fruition. I want to thank Kyle, the Carolina Hurricanes and everyone who had helped with personal critique of this poster. As one of my close friends said recently: "We operate in a profession that contains constant critique. Our world is much different than a traditional artist who sells their skills and particular image. Sometimes we need to step back and realize not all people want to be critiqued." 

I gladly took it and tried to better this design. What do you all think? Does it succeed? Does it improve upon the work from last year's Homegrown Series?  I'd love to hear your thoughts! Come out and see the poster with your own eyes on March 31st, 2018 when the Hurricanes play the NY Rangers at PNC Arena! You can check out the Homegrown Series page here

Warrior Transition Battalion-Stamp

Christopher Altman, a fellow Cary Area Disc League member, approached me to offer him some help. He wanted to host a tournament to get soldiers involved with disc golf. To do that, he was going to organize a tournament for the Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) down at Ft. Bragg, NC. The overall goal of the WTB is to provide the commensurate quality of life, quality of healthcare services and quality of leadership which matches the quality of service and sacrifice made by our sick, injured and wounded warriors in transition and their families. 

The goal of the stamp was to include a mixture of 4 different elements. The WTB logo, St. Michael, and a soldier helping a wounded warrior off of the battlefield. Lastly, the words "Find New Strength". The only image supplied to me was the soldier helping another soldier. The Airborne's St. Michael artwork someone had previously done. The styling of St. Michael was inspired by religious iconography from both Google searching and my wife and I's trip to Rome and Greece a few years back. With the combination of 4 elements, It was my job to do the best I could to incorporate them into one design. 

In the end, it took a little bit to finish up. I was working on this design during my off time while working a full schedule. I'm very happy to support a great program and a great cause. I hope the tournament go'ers enjoyed this event and continue playing disc golf. 

30th Anniversary of the Roc

Excited is an understatement. Jeff Panis (Marketing Director of Innova Champion Discs) reached out quite a while ago when he assumed his new role. A lot of things were on his plate at the time, so we talked briefly and got back in touch a few months down the road. An opportunity was in place to design a commemorative stamp honoring 30 years of the Roc's existence. The Roc has been one of Innova's most popular molds without question. This was a huge opportunity that came with a lot of weight.

In the initial sketches I proposed, there were some good things to build off of. I had awesome friends who helped me out in critique. One of the main things I overlooked that they quickly pointed out was the silhouette strength of the head. My goal was to have this Roc reach a point of near weightlessness. For example, If you stretch your back out in your chair (I do this from time to time) , you arch the back, the chest protrudes out and your chin tips up. This pose is something I tried to capture. As Innova and I progress through the development of the stamp, The head tips back down a bit to give the bird more shape. The wings extend out to give some symmetry to the stamp. The body develops all the way to it's last and final version and the final is the result of of multiple revisions for the better.

If it wasn't for my friends and their fresh eyes to give me critique, the direction of Jeff Panis, Levi Wilcox and the crew to keep pushing this stamp, it would've honestly turned out to be less than what it should've been. What do you all think?  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading.

19th Annual Great 8

The Great 8 tournament is in its 19th year. It's a one day, 8 courses, from sun up to sun down event that only the crazy dare to do. I had the honor of doing this year's stamp and was really excited, even though it was down to the wire (totally on me). We've returned to the nautical themed roots to have something pair up well with the dual octopus stamp that was done a few years ago. 

The major hurdle with this stamp is what you can see in the early stages. I wanted the huge whale to be coming out of the water and landing on top of the ship. To make that read clearly was definitely a challenge. After much debate and great advice from my friends, the whale was flipped the other way. I couldn't agree more with the move. 

I want to thank Jay Pontier for always giving me an artistic freedom when it comes to doing these stamps. It makes it so enjoyable. 

MVP "Limited Edition" Teleport

The MVP Teleport is the first one out of the gates for MVP Disc Sports 24.5mm class of high-speed drivers. To commemorate the release of this disc, MVP came to me wanted a limited edition stamp.  My job was to portray teleportation while sticking with what MVP's brand identity is and to create this design using their three foil stamping abilities. 

Mathematics, science, and technology take the forefront of what MVP's graphics have always been about, My mind started there. How would I depict teleportation in a way that worked well? That was tough. If you take a look at my thumbnail process in the very first gallery image, you see the spectrum was pretty wide. Anything from math grids and charts to space pilots entering a warp tunnel. My main hurdles with this design were turnaround times and getting the funnel graphic and perspective to give off a disorienting point A and B. Hot stamping has a limit to line width that will be transferred to the disc successfully. What I wanted to do is convey these two portal entry's that disappeared to the disc color while keeping the main and important element (the Teleport name and MVP logo) bold and black. 

All in all, I'm super grateful for the opportunity and learn the most when I step outside my comfort zone. The Limited Edition stamp will be available through most major retailers that carry MVP Disc Sports merchandise. What do you all think? Does it keep with the brand? Leave me a note in the comment section. Thanks for stopping by. 

Out of Bounds Series #1

The Out Of Bounds Series was an idea drawn up by a fellow MVP Gyronaut by the name of Brian Sweet. He came to me with an interesting take that I've never thought about before. Tight fairways, landing areas and almost impossible pin placements exist somewhere in the disc golf world. His idea is to shed light on these situations. 

This idea stems from fantastical ideas about what lurks hidden, as your disc takes a plunge into the unknown. Out Of Bounds Series #1 explores the depths of an impossible landing area. The disc is now belonging the keeper. A mix of Cthulu/Kraken/Squid vibes. I wanted the eyes of the creature fixated to the onlooker. The eyes had to adjust from the sides of the beast to more in front to convey the idea. The introduction of the second foil to bring the viewers attention from the bottom of the stamp up toward the poor fellow on the cliff side. 

I want to thank Brian Sweet for having the faith to let me run with his napkin sketch and go for it. These are available in a dual foil set up exclusively on MVP/Axiom/Streamline Discs plastic.

Please let me know what you think in the comments and share with your friends! 

Mercury Lounge

The beginning of the year has started off strong and I apologize for the lack of updates. Here is one of the many projects I can share from January.

I've been working with the band Mighty Kind for the past year. I've helped them through their logo design and various show posters. Starting 2017 right, I was offered the chance to created their first show venue poster of 2017. The common theme up to this point has been the "MK" logo smashing into either the venue or something that relates to the showplace. Mike Murray (drummer for the band) states that "the band always jokes about how our sets are going to destroy the venue, because we feel that we pack a whollop of rock n' roll punch into each set and performance."  He goes onto state that the smashing theme helps to convey the power that they bring to each show. 

As soon as I got the go on a space theme and Mercury. I couldn't wait to jump in and paint some destruction. Illustrating an impact of this magnitude took a lot of reference gathering and it's something I don't paint often. I wanted the viewer to be drawn to the arrow tip impacting the top of Mercury. I wanted the lighting of the earth's core and spray to feel real and contain the energy the band thrives on. I am super stoked on how this came out and again, can't thank Mighty Kind for trusting in me to do this work for them. 

I am always willing to grow as an artist. I'd love to see your comments and hear your thoughs on what you like or dislike about this poster!

2016 Basket Bashers

Soon after I finished the Jen Sawyer "JSaww" stamp, I received a buzz from Jerry Pectol, owner of Basket Bashers Disc Golf. Jerry just wanted something that was going to spark interest within his community of clientele. Didn't matter what, but he mentioned the previous artwork that I've done and just had to stay tasteful, as his demographic stretched a wide variety. 

Going into this stamp, I wanted to improve upon his Basket Bashers logo immediately. I was lucky enough to hit it on the first go and it was smooth sailing from there. I want to thank Jerry for giving me the creative liberties few actually get. If you're interested in getting a disc with this image on it, please hit up Jerry at basketbashersdiscgolf@aol.com

UFO Glow creation

Tim Robbins and Will Davis of Disc Hunt approached me for a product they were getting ready to market called UFO Glow. They loved the art I used for a disc golf doubles event last year called "Crazy Chain". I love creating that type of style and was happy to be aboard to help them all out.

After seeing early product prototypes, What instantly came to mind was something dealing with UFO's. There were also some other ideas to play around with like the Nuclear Power plant since we're based and live rather close to the Harris Nuclear Plant.  Not saying I've been abducted by aliens in the past but many of my family members can attest to my infatuation with Aliens. I knew this is what we had to do. 

I had to overcome a few obstacles after seeing that the low camera angle would not have shown off the UFO Glow tape like I was planning to. A friend of mine really helped me get it back to what really mattered. The product itself.  I had too much going on in the first initial roughs. Your eye focused more on the disc golf basket, and UFO while the intended focal point was left to be picked up as a secondary or third read. I took the idea into Google Sketchup, nailed the camera placement and took off from there. I needed to forced the field of view more and get the product and contrast working in the foreground. 

In the end, mixing the crazy chain style of illustration with that classic B movie/ Mars Attacks! influence was the right way to go. The customer couldn't have been any happier. 

Jennifer Sawyer 2016 Tour Stamp

Team MVP Women's Pro: Jennifer "JSaww" Sawyer reached out to me for her first fundraising tour stamp. My first booked stamp of 2016!! The exploration process was fun! Her professional occupation is in construction so immediately our idea was to create some sort of saw graphic. The images below show the different stages of development.

After a few saw iterations, my mind jumped to Jennifer, as a human being. I've never met her so I asked questions about what she did in construction, her favorite movies, era's that she enjoyed.  1930's & 40's, vintage fashion, construction, & graphics from that era.  I wanted this stamp to be enjoyed by everyone but most importantly, reflect the person's name that's on the stamp. 

After a few ideas and conversations, the decision for a universal stamp was the ultimate winner and a full saw blade stamp would solidify and fit within the budget and timeframe. We were able to get a double stamp option in time, so breaking the stamp up into two different foil choices was the way to go. During the process of showing Jennifer the design update, I will quickly mock up what it would look like with two different types of foil. I think it's always important to see how the hot stamp looks in both a negative and positive form. I'm very happy with how the stamp came out and look forward to more opportunities down the road.  Thanks, Jen! 

To support her 2016 tour, you message her at:
jsawyer0211@yahoo.com

2015 In Review

The end of 2015 is near and it's been an adventure. After Christmas when all the stress is out the door, I like to think backwards to January, 1 and think about all the projects I've been a part of. Did I truly maximize my output?  I know the answer is going to be no.  Every artist is going to tell themselves that. They'll try to build on lessons they've learned and continue pushing onward. 

I'm fortunate that I had a full time position for a good 75% of this year. Freelance is a tough. You won't ever realize until you're in the thick of it with no other assurance underneath you. It makes me want to thank all of those who gave me a kick in ass this year. My friends who've stopped what they were doing to give me a fresh take on a 3rd logo attempt, Bosses who knew that you were wasting away time, experience and then pushing you to go forward instead of stalling out.  

I wouldn't be where I am today without them, without my wife's patience for all the late nights up in the office because of a quick deadline. To all the people who had faith in me to help them with a project, or an idea they needed me to see through.  Thank you. Here's to a more productive 2016!

2015 Tupelo Bay Open Hot Stamp

I received a call from Phil Lawrence, Tournament Director of most disc golf events up in Greensboro/ High Point area. He had an idea, but needed me to pull it off.  Working with a 5 inch radius, some of those ideas didn't make the cut. I fit in what I could, to make sure the stamp resemble the overall story. 

The annual Tupelo Bay Disc Golf tournament is set up on a professional golf course located at Tupelo Bay Golf Center in Garden City, South Carolina. 9 holes I believe, are permanent all year round. The rest of the course is set up with mobile baskets. It's one of the few events with an area so large, that participants are able to use golf carts.  At the end of the tournament there is a little competition to see who can grab the most baskets with their golf carts. 

The main idea was to have some of these items:
The name of the event/ golf cart/ baskets being transported/ a resemblance to the Tupelo Bay course/ and the Tournament Director, Kirk Yoo in the fairway with a measuring wheel.  You will see on some of the less successful attempts I try to cram all the ideas in the design but they always feel too busy.

I appreciate Kirk Yoo, Chris MacLeod, Mike Norris and Phil Lawrence for giving me trust in this tournament hot stamp design.