Archive for November, 2013


Posted in Photography on November 26, 2013 by Thomas Allen

I thought I would share a behind-the-scenes look at how a commission evolves from start-to-finish. This is for a project I’m presently working on, but I can’t say for who or what it’s about. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I receive the full text to read. At minimum, I get a synopsis. After reading the copy, I usually rough something out quickly in pencil to get me motivated. From there I draw a more refined, yet still ragged, version via my Wacom tablet and Photoshop. This allows me to mess around with scale and element placement before I started cutting things out. The central character is very angular and rigid (intentionally). Since tentacles need to be smooth, it’s much faster for me if I create them in Illustrator. Sometimes I use the pen tool and other times the blob brush. The second tentacle is blue so that I can easily discern the overlap. From here I can move the shapes to Photoshop as pixels.

…to be continued.


Posted in Photography on November 19, 2013 by Thomas Allen


Jasper Fforde—in French!


Posted in Photography with tags , , , , , , , on November 13, 2013 by Thomas Allen


Posted in Photography on November 12, 2013 by Thomas Allen

SFH-7In June, my daughter and I traveled to Ohio with my parents (my wife stayed home to tend the livestock) for a family reunion. It has always been my great Uncle Ron’s dream to host an all-day music event with family (and that is exactly what he did)! They tried to coax me into singing, but I said that the event would be better served if I designed a keepsake program (and that’s exactly what I did)! For all of you print geeks, the 11″ x 17″ piece was printed head-to-head on 70lb text weight stock (no bleed) and Z-folded. The front, when pulled out, provides details of the day’s activities. The back pays tribute to my great aunt Marilyn who passed away prior the reunion. She was one of the original planners. The copy was written by her husband (my great uncle Mike). Since the content is deeply personal, I chose to obliterate it.



I’ve been going to reunions ever since I can remember and have to say that this was, by far, the most fun. Ron was the first to take the stage in the barn where everything took place and he was the last one to leave! I think this picture illustrates how pleased he was.



Posted in Photography on November 12, 2013 by Thomas Allen



An illustration I did for Nautilus Magazine. However, the story was killed at the last minute so it never appeared.



This is the final illustration that was reproduced in Mental Floss several months back. To be honest, I still prefer my original idea (as seen here).


P:ClientsClient FoldersIntelligent GenerationKF2889 10x10 Re

Mock preview of the booth graphics I designed for a company my friend has a vested interest in. These were for a solar energy trade show in Chicago.




This was created entirely from scratch (translation – no hand cutting of actual paper) for The Atlantic. I photographed the actual table and built the the rest of composition in Photoshop. James Garner was so taken by the illustration that he purchased a printed and signed copy of it from me. It will go down as a definite career highlight!



Posted in Art, Illustration, Science on November 12, 2013 by Thomas Allen


Sometimes a thing comes along that is so original and beautiful that you feel the need to share it. For me, that happened when my daughter pulled a long, cardboard tube out of our mailbox.

“It’s for me!”, she said (grinning from ear-to-ear). I looked at the return address—Cocobee. I was puzzled. I usually remember when I order something and thought for a minute that I was ‘losing it’! Then I saw that it came from Saint Paul, MN and was 99% sure of who sent it—my friend Leda Zych. Leda and I attended graduate school together at the University of Minnesota.

After opening the tube, we slowly (and carefully) unrolled THE CARTOON PERIODIC CHART! I looked at it in sheer awe. Each element was drawn by Leda’s brother Zak. This award-winning project is beyond brilliant and in my thank you to Leda I stated that I may finally learn all of the elements! If you’d like one of your very own (trust me, you will not be disappointed), you can get it here.

Now I just have to get of my…and mount/frame it.



%d bloggers like this: