This pencil drawing was commissioned by Ryan O'Rourke, the owner of Ironclad Coffee Roasters in Richmond, Virginia. Ryan wanted a label for the launch of his new Mariners Blend coffee, which would be a nod to the heritage of the port of Grimbsy, England. I based the drawing on several old photographs of the port and as a special request, Ryan asked me to include his grandmother, who was a native of Grimsby, in the drawing. (Scroll down this page to see the coffee packages with the labels I've done for Ironclad Coffee Roasters.) This was the first time I ever drew faces in my artwork (other than cartoons and art noir) and I was happy with how realistic the peoples' faces turned out in this drawing. In my industry-related illustrations now, I am increasingly focusing on the human element, that is, the people who work in these industries.
Someone posted the original photograph of this railroad worker washing out the ashpan of a Pennsylvania Railroad steam locomotive on a forum. Sometimes, when I see photographs, I just know I have to draw them, and that was the case with this one. Aside from all the pipes, the wheels and the fabric of the man's clothes, I knew the greatest challenge to making this drawing look authentic would be to provide a detailed forground. In the past, after getting the main subject of the drawing completed, I would often hastily do a background, not realizing how important the background is as a frame for the subject. I think the gravel, mud and water, though not the main subject, are some of the most important elements in this drawing.
Not long after I made this website to display my artwork, the owner of a small coffee roasting company in Richmond, Virginia was searching for a classic image of a steam locomotive for their flagship blend of coffee, called Steam Engine Blend. When he saw this drawing, he contacted me and told me this was exactly what he had been looking for.
Here are the two labels I've done for Ironclad Coffee Makers.
This is one of several drawings I did when making a portfolio to apply for an illustrator job at an advertising agency. I drew various commericial and advertising subjects like cars and food products.
I did this drawing for the cover of my uncle's 90th birthday card. He's a World War II veteran who was in the Battle of the Bulge. For more information and to read parts of his book see the website: I Was No Hero.
This is another ballpoint pen drawing, this time in the art noir style. The point in art noir is to create a mood. I don't really put much details in these drawings. This would be more suitable for a book illustration.
This is a ball point pen drawing. The picture is now framed and hanging on the wall at my father-in-law's house. He's a World War II and history fan and he was happy to receive this as a birthday gift.