or, The Whale

Came here to post an update on an old piece, only to discover that I’d never posted the original piece in the first place.  As part of a Rivalries insert set in the 2010 release of Topps Tribute Baseball, I painted a depiction of Captain Ahab locked in battle with his great white nemesis.  The company needed the image on a 24-hour around, but I was drawn to the concept and wasn’t ready to cut the umbilical just then.  I converted the composition into an oil painting, which I was content with for a period of time; however, I recently revisited the piece for a third and, hopefully, final time.  I’m increasingly finding that working in digital media and working in traditional media present different but equally frustrating limitations.  Lately I’m most satisfied with my results when melding the two.

The final:

The stages:

The Mick

1953 Topps Baseball – The standard for Hero worship by any measure.  The set featured individual oil paintings by artist Gerry Dvorak.  Here’s my copy – also in oil.

Sketch cards | Topps Baseball

I’m new to the world of trading card collectors but I’m trying to stay ahead of the learning curve.  If you happen to be a collector, then you’re no doubt familiar with Topps Redemptions, a program wherein a lucky collector can pull a “winning” card and redeem it for various prizes, including autographed memorabilia and artists’ sketch cards.  That’s where I come in.

I recently lent a hand, helping Topps to fulfill some of their 2009 Baseball Series 1 redemptions (I guess they’re a bit behind schedule).  Below are the 25 cards that I completed on commission.  In addition I was allowed to keep 5 cards for myself (though I’ve yet to tackle those puppies) – I’ll probably execute those five in full color and sell them off right here on the site, so stay tuned.  Until then… Scans below.

2010 Topps National Chicle Baseball

I’m very proud to be a part of the upcoming all-painting 2010 National Chicle baseball trading card set from the Topps Company. On Friday, Topps gave Beckett Media a sneak peak at some of the cards from the set, including my artwork for the Gordon Beckham/ Evan Longoria Dual Autograph card (right).

In truth, neither of these are my strongest work from the set. Moreover, had I known the artwork would be cropped in this fashion, I would’ve approached both compositions differently. I’m probably just being picky, however.  At least one blogger thinks the card’s alright, and the fans are what matters.

Hopefully in the coming weeks I’ll be able to showcase some of my other work from the set. In the meanwhile you can gander at the below artwork featuring Indians rookie Carlos Carrasco. The below image is NOT one of the pieces I produced for Topps, but it should give you a sense of what to expect from my work on Chicle. Hope you dig it.

Happy Holidays

Bit late in posting this – Best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year. Here’s hoping 2010 beats the heck out of 2009. Not holding my breath though…

Sketched in pencil, painted in watercolor, finished and tweaked in Painter and Photoshop.

And a detail…

SANTA-detail

Logo design | Sirana Partners

Sirana Partners is a New York based commercial real estate investment and advisory firm in the process of opening its doors for business.  Below, the logo I designed for the firm, as well as a web banner designed for the impending launch of their web site (Coming Soon).

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metamorphosis by moonlight – REDUX

I really thought this was done… but I was wrong. While I really loved the rendering in the original version, stepping back for a few days I realized that I lost the “story” somewhere along the way. Hey, it happens. Here’s the new version, which I think does a much better job of conveying the protagonist’s metamorphosis.
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metamorphosis by moonlight

This is another scene from my story The Reaper King (which incidentally has hit a major road block around the 100-page mark…). I’m calling this one “metamorphosis by moonlight.” I really like this one. I don’t use watercolors, but it has a watercolor-feel to me… if that makes sense.

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And… EMBIGGENED!

Gaia, or, bringing the portfolio up to snuff

It recently occurred to me that I have a lot of older work that, while amateurish to my eyes in the rearview mirror, showed a lot of potential, and I wondered, to myself, if there were some salvageable concepts in the lot.  Turns out, there are quite a few, and I’m having some fun revisiting these old bits and polishing them up.  Added benefit: The portfolio thickens…

I forget the impetus for this one.  It’s probably long forgotten me as well.

Here’s the original, circa 2004.

And the new.  Click to embiggen.
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Hugo Awards Logo Contest

So in case you’re unawares, the World Science Fiction Society is holding a contest to design the official logo for The Hugo Award.  In there own words:

“Although the rocket atop the Hugo Award has been one of the most visible signs of excellence in science fiction and fantasy for more than fifty years, there has never been an official logo to designate works as Hugo Award nominees or winners. The World Science Fiction Society now aims to change that by soliciting designs for such a logo, with the winning design to be the official logo suitable for use in the publishing and film/television industries.”

I probably would have jumped at the opportunity regardless of the circumstances, but when I saw that two of my favorite people, Neil Gaiman and Irene Gallo, are on the Judging Panel, it became an opportunity I couldn’t ignore.  You can learn more about the contest here, and find the submission guidelines here.

The deadline for entries passed on May 31st, and as we eagerly await the judges’ decision, you can view my submission below.

Zachowski_Hugo_Award_colorZachowski_Hugo_Winner_color

BRONKO!

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Did this one on spec.

The task was to recreate this 1935 trading card featuring former football player Bronko Nagurski, see right.

As usual, sketched in pencil, scanned and painted in Photoshop.  I’m happy with the way it turned out. It’s a shame that things didn’t work out with the client.

Click to enlarge.
zachowski_bronko

Painting with condiments

This sketch is about 3-4 years old, but I only just rediscovered it. If I remember correctly, it was inspired by a magazine cover of Rachel Weisz, though damned if I can find it now. I remember, in the absence of any art supplies (I was staying with my mother at the time), it seemed a fine idea to raid the fridge and see what I could achieve with ketchup and mustard.  I believe white-out was employed for the highlights and I upped the saturation in Photoshop afterwards.  The whole thing made for a funky afternoon.

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DWright Likes my Art

dwright_autographed_webWell, I teased it on Tuesday, and here it is. My darling wife was able to take part in a meet & greet with Mets third baseman David Wright, and I finished a special portrait for the occasion. Check out the gallery below for photos from the event.

For those keeping score at home, this is the second portrait I’ve painted this year that I’ve been able to have signed by the subject. In the first instance it was my literary hero Neil Gaiman, and in this instance it’s my athletic hero DWright. There aren’t too many people better than me right now. Maybe a couple, but not too many.

David

Much excitement in Jeffville today.  Just a short two months after my brush with Neil Gaiman, I was able to get another of my portraits signed by the subject, in this instance, Mets third baseman David Wright.  No, I didn’t get to meet David myself, but my wife was able to take part in a meet & greet this afternoon and Mr. Wright was kind enough to sign a new painting I whipped up for the occasion.  I’m pretty pumped and can’t wait for her to get home so I can scan it and post it.  In the meanwhile, here’s the portrait.

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And here are the original sketches, pre-photoshop-paint-job. Click to enlarge.
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Web Banner Design

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public-health

Recently completed this graphic for a Health Literacy Lab.  They’re currently re-designing their web site and this banner will be featured in the site’s header.  We went through a few variations on the text.  The graphic at top is the one the client ultimately chose, while below are a couple of other variations.

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Faer Game

Our theme this week appears to be revisions. If you’ve browsed around the site a bit, you’ll be familiar with the illustration below. It’s a scene from Chapter Two of a bit of children’s/YA fiction I’m working on.  I was initially quite pleased with it, but the longer I let it sit, the more its flaws seemed to grow.  In any event, I much prefer this version, and I hope you do as well.

Click to enlarge.
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A detail.
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