Thursday, December 18, 2014

A White Cop's Killing of an Unarmed Black Man

With all the shit going down lately, I knew I'd be illustrating one of these terrible police murder stories sooner or later.  "Officer Friendly" was the headline I was assigned to illustrate.

Read the cover story here, by Stephen Lemons.

The bad cop was draw with charcoal, and colored in Photoshop. I colored 3 versions of this illustration. Which one would you choose?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wonder Women: portraits for Hemisphere's magazine

I finally got to draw the real Wonder Women. They are 5 of the brightest young women in the tech industry and have all made real innovations in their fields, while founding their own companies. Here is a quick introduction:      Read the original article here.

Meredith Perry. Company: uBeam

“I’ve always had a crazy interest in science,” she says. “One thing I do is ask questions about everything, kind of obsessively.” Perry carries a notebook around with her, in which she keeps tabs on things that, in her opinion, need fixing. “I keep asking questions until I find the answer,” she says. “If I stumble across a problem, I’m going to solve it.”

Hannah Chung. Company Sproutel,

"Jerry looks like a Care Bear who has had his “tummy symbol” upgraded to a sleek, interactive screen. But before you dismiss him as just another high-tech distraction, note his most important feature: Jerry has type 1 diabetes, which makes him uniquely qualified to educate, entertain and comfort young patients.

Jerry was created by Hannah Chung, who teamed with fellow Northwestern alum Aaron Horowitz to found Sproutel, a startup devoted to inventing toys for kids with chronic illnesses. Diabetes proved a particular challenge: Children are often diagnosed between the ages of three and seven, when it’s difficult to master complex, critical concepts like carb counting. “We saw that these kids had plush animals and dolls,” Chung says, “and they were pricking their fingers, giving them insulin,” without any real idea of what they were actually doing."

Jessica O. Matthews. Company Uncharted Play

The easiest way to get someone to change,” says Jessica O. Matthews, co-founder and CEO of socially conscious sports gear startup Uncharted Play, “is to make it seem like they’re not changing at all.” For proof, look no further than her company’s offerings, which include the Soccket, a soccer ball that converts kicks into electric energy that powers a small LED lamp that is inserted into the ball.

Jessica Scorpio. Company: Getaround

There are a billion cars on the planet, and most sit idle 22 hours a day,” Jessica Scorpio says. It’s a staggering statistic and one that Scorpio mentions as the inspiration for her revolutionary peer-to-peer car-sharing service, Getaround.

Samantha John. Company Hopscotch

When Samantha John started building websites as a senior at Columbia University, she quickly realized that, like any language, computer programming was best learned at a young age. But how do you entice kids to code? Her app, Hopscotch, which she debuted last spring with partner Jocelyn Leavitt, turns programming into an intuitive building-block system, in which chunks of pre-written code can be combined to animate characters and have them react to stimuli in their virtual world. Think of it as Lego for the video game set.

Author Erin Brady, Nicholas DeRenzo and Chris Wright Illustration Graham Smith, for Hemishphere's Magazine.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Christa with deer antler necklace drawing

It was great working with the talented artist and model, Christa at the Sony Life Drawing Workshop this week. She is a talented artist/ photographer, and makes her own props, like the deer antler necklace featured in this drawing. Here is a link to the models photography portfolio: Balm in Gilead

This drawing is 18 x 24 inches on Strathmore toned grey paper, and is drawn with carmine red, black and terracotta color pencils. I used white china marker for the white highlights. This drawing took about 40 minutes, but of course I wished I could draw Christa for hours!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sole Survivor of the Yarnell Fire - illustration and sketches

Brendan McDonough for Phoenix New Times - Graham Smith
"If anyone knows why the Granite Mountain Hotshots left a safe area on top of the Weaver Mountains west of Yarnell and descended into a box canyon that became the worst death trap in the nationwide history of such crews, it's Brendan McDonough.

The only survivor of the 20-member hotshot crew that perished in the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30, 2013, McDonough, 23, is in the unique position to have heard some, if not all, of the discussions between Granite Mountain Supervisor Eric Marsh and Captain Jesse Steed in the moments before Marsh, Steed, and the others died."

Thumbnailing is the funnest part. I like to draw lots of them.

Brendan was the lookout for the Hot Shot team.

Illustration assignments for the weeklies like the Phoenix New Times come and go quickly. Art Directors and their editors like to see sketches within a day or two, and the final art a few days after that. The whole process takes about a week.

Tip: For a cover, always provide lots of extra area in the artwork (a bleed), at the top and sides of your illustration to allow the art director to room to design, and or crop the illustration to fit the layout.

Link to Yarnell Fire article by: John Dougherty in the Phoenix New Times. Art Director: Peter Storch.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Classic beauty pencil drawing

It was great drawing the 6 foot tall, classic beauty, Tamara at the Sony Life Drawing Workshop this week. A tiny bit more is learned every time I sit down to draw. That's pretty much the secret to drawing well, lots of practice.

Blue colored pencil, with white china marker, on Strathmore Toned Grey paper. 18'x24". 40 minutes pose.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Official BBQ Tasters of the Boston Globe

How am I just finding out that this is a thing? Up until the very moment I illustrated these portraits for the Boston Globe, I thought artists had the best job. But Official BBQ taster? These folks are winning.

Brush and ink portraits by Graham Smith.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sony Life Drawing Workshop

The Sony Life Drawing Workshop starts up this Tuesday, August 19th. (6 -9pm) We'll be doing longer poses to try and push our drawing as far as they can go. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Decorative patterned whale - illustration process

Blue Smoke whale - illustration process from Graham Smith on Vimeo.

Peek behind the scenes, in this illustration process video, while illustrator Graham Smith draws a whale full of decorative patterns, using a Lamy fountain pen and a Micron marker.

This whale illustration is part of the visual assets for a Blue Smoke Sushi Restaurant branding campaign, art directed by Hollis Brand Culture.

I'll post some photos next month, when the restaurant opens, and we can see the final product!

Friday, August 8, 2014

First century warrior - life drawings

We had a great time at the Sony Life Drawing Workshop, drawing muscular model, Yoni, costumed as a first century warrior, complete with a few props from the TV series, Sparta. 

Here are a few quick sketches, and a couple of 20 minute drawings done with colored pencils, gesso, and acrylic paint wash.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Twitter Shaming illustration for Boston Globe

Twitter Shaming - Graham Smith

The Boston Globe asked me to illustrate some current events for the Sunday Arts section. It was so much fun illustrating a bunch of awful people who have said terribly racist, or homophobic remarks in public recently, and drawing the writer that shames them via twitter wearing pink slippers, was the icing on the cake.

In case you haven't been keeping up, here's what the mounted heads said, that got them is so much trouble:        Read the article in the Boston Globe.

Donald Sterling (Clippers owner)
"It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people"

Janelle Ambrosia (Dollar store racist lady)
"I called you a n****r. You're a n****r. Nasty f*****g n****r."    Watch the video.

Justine Sacco (pr executive)
"Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!"

Clint McCance (Arkansas school board member)
"I like that fags can't procreate. I also enjoy that they often give each other AIDS and die...I would disown my kids they were gay."

Janice Daniels (former mayor of Troy Michigan)
 "I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there." 

Cliven Bundy 
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro.”

Wall of Shame - illustration process from Graham Smith on Vimeo.

Pencil sketch - Graham Smith

Illustration Process: First, I sketch the idea really roughly, in pencil. Then I refine the sketch, trying to get the scribbles to look like the people I 'm drawing. That's the refined sketch above. Next step, I've been doing a little differently than the traditional old school method of tracing on a lightbox. Instead, I scan the sketch, and print it onto nicer paper. In this case, Strathmore Smooth Bristol paper. Then I ink the print, which is below, and color the illustration digitally.

ink drawing - Graham Smith

Cliven Bundy (detail) - Graham Smith

Donald Sterling (detail) - Graham Smith
Janice Daniels (detail) - Graham Smith

The Twitter shamer (detail) - Graham Smith

Twitter desk (detail) - Graham Smith


Thursday, June 5, 2014

John Pritzker for Worth Magazine

Drawing billionaire John Pritzker for Worth Magazine, in good ol' pen and ink.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

That Girl with Spiky Hair - process video

Colored pencils, ink, and china marker on brown kraft paper. 18 x 24. by Graham Smith


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Drawing Caruso - pen and ink tips

Caruso for Worth Magazine by Graham Smith

Drawing Caruso from Graham Smith on Vimeo.

I'm super lucky to illustrate the 20 Questions interview portrait for Worth Magazine, Art Directed by Valerie Sebring. 

Always trying to improve the illustration process, I've tried many different ways to ink these portraits.

I've inked directly over the blue pencil sketch in Drawing Petra Nemcova - a totally traditional approach, used a light box to draw the ink over a blue pencil sketch in Inking Duncan Quinn- adding a common studio technique, and inked on vellum in Beer for Data, trying to switch up the medium. 

This time, I try a new trick-of-the-trade, printing the pencil sketch on watercolor paper, and inking over that. It works really well, so I thought I'd share the technique with my inky friends on the interwebs. You can see a quick example in the video Drawing Caruso.

The funny thing is, all these techniques result in the same look, an inked portrait over a blue line sketch. There are so many ways to achieve the same effect.

Do you have any tricks-of-the-trade you'd like to share? Let me know in the comments below.

Ink detail - 140lb cold pressed watercolor paper

Pencil sketch on Strathmore paper
Pencil sketch detail


Draw something everyday!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ohio's Top 7 Influential Leaders portraits

Cover illustration detail
Inside Business Magazine just published their Top 100 Most Influential Leaders in the state of Ohio this month, and asked me to illustrate the cover and interior portraits for the feature story.

Combining bold graphic shapes that contrast the delicate penmanship creates a look that balances between traditional and modern. 

Art Director: Chris Valantasis Illustrator: Graham Smith

Cover design by: Art Director Chris Valantasis. Illustration: Graham Smith  


Pen and ink on Strathmore drawing paper. Digital color.

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