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Edel Rodríguez
Edel Rodríguez


Varoom cover.

Campaign Spotlight: Edel Rodríguez
Two cultures inform the work of this prolific arti

Born in the Cuban countryside in 1971, Edel Rodríguez lived in El Gabriel until the age of nine when he and his family embarked on a voyage as part of the Mariel Boatlift in 1980 that brought over 125,000 Cubans fleeing Castro’s rule to Southern Florida. A U.S. photojournalist onboard documented their journey and immortalized it in the pages of Time. An interesting fact considering that from 1994 to 2008, Edel was Time’s art director for Canada and Latin America.

From that dramatic start, Edel is still making history. He has forged an award-winning illustration career exploring often hot button topics in politics and popular culture. He grew up in Miami, but turned down a full scholarship in Miami to give New York a go, where he received a B.F.A. in painting from Pratt Institute in 1994 and an M.F.A. from Hunter College in 1998. He and his wife Jennifer and their two daughters live in a landmark Victorian in idyllic Mt. Tabor, New Jersey, only an hour’s train ride to Penn Station, NYC. The beautifully restored home with its gracious backyard, pool and gazebo graced by a giant poplar tree is as far removed from the Cuba of his childhood as a place could be. Rodriguez operates between his two worlds, bringing insights from his tenure in America and a down to earth practical nature from his years in Cuba. He returned there recently, for the opening of his career retrospective Nature Boy, Edel Rodríguez en La Habana at the Casa de las Américas in Havana. It was the first time he brought his wife and daughters to Cuba, to visit family and the friends that he has stayed in close touch with all these years. He wrote a sensitive and informed editorial (“Reform in Cuba: It’s Not About You”) for the Washington Spectator about the government’s plan to ease the embargo on Cuba.

His bold, dynamic shapes and sensual palette is inspired by the poster tradition of Latin America and his favorite artist, Picasso. He wears his heart on his sleeve with his enigmatic and painfully honest takes on trending topics, most recently on the subject of sexism in Silicon Valley for Newsweek magazine: A cover that drew criticism for its solution, although that argument seems a bit disingenuous considering the topic.

A humble guy, Edel is almost always smiling. And watch out when he hits the dance floor. Like his friend and colleague José Ortega, he is a mean salsa dancer.

Edel’s cover of Che Guevara sporting a Nike logo and Apple headphones in the May/June 2006 issue of Communication Arts has to date been the magazine’s most popular (it accompanied a feature I wrote about him and his work). He had already scored another CA cover for the 2004 Illustration Annual, a rare occurrence.

Rodríguez’s work has regularly appeared in the CA, American Illustration, SPD, and The Society of Illustrators Annuals. He is also the recipient of both a Gold and a Silver Medal for editorial illustration from the Society of Illustrators. He has illustrated two children's books, Mama does the Mambo and Float Like a Butterfly, a story about Cassius Clay. Edel illustrated the Cha-Cha-Cha for the stamp series Let's Dance: Bailemos!, for the United States Postal Service, published in 2005.

He works in a variety of artistic mediums, including on occasion Café Bustelo coffee grounds. From bold theatre posters to book covers, children’s book illustrations, and art exhibitions, Edel brings his cultural insights and experiences to bear on each project for an impressive client list that includes a who’s-who of the publishing world and beyond.


World Illustration Awards 2015

Freedom Flight
Jennifer Hewitson, Freedom Flight, poster.

What's Hanging
Exhibitions of note nationwide.

Dialogues: Poster Art of the Soviet Union
March 13 through April 13

City Gallery
1508 C Street, Room AH 314
(Gallery is open Monday–Thursday 1–4 pm)
San Diego City College

Commemorating the opening of new San Diego City College Art Gallery, a rare collection of over 40 Soviet posters will be shown alongside works of contemporary artists and illustrators.

In 1989 the Soviet government offered an opportunity to U.S. Citizens—a chance to view contemporary Soviet life through the loan of 75 posters. They were displayed at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art and dealt with political themes, social issues and the arts in the period from Perestroika and Glasnost to the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The original show was organized by members of AIGA San Diego chapter and supported by a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts. The show went on to other U.S. locations as part of a traveling exhibition sponsored by the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

Dialogues: Poster Art of the Soviet Union was created and organized by the faculty and students of the San Diego City College graphic design program. Thanks to Ron Miriello, the owner of the poster collection for sharing these treasures with our community. Soviet historical posters are featured alongside new works created by contemporary artists, designers and illustrators for Dialogues including Sean Adams, Michael Beirut, Stefan Bucher, Jessica Hische, Don Hollis, Rafael López, Joel Nakamura and Michael Osborne, among others. Like their historical counterparts the contemporary works feature political, social and arts themes but include a visual or conceptual reference to Soviet culture.


Art Before Breakfast

Good Books
A brief review of notable titles and inspiring monographs.

Art Before Breakfast, A Zillion Ways to be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are by Danny Gregory
159 pages, hardbound, published by Chronicle Books, $19.95.

Chances are good that every artistic person will from time to time hit a creative wall. Creativity guru Danny Gregory has prepared for that eventuality, and then some. The subtitle says it all: A Zillion Ways to Be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are. While I’m pretty sure there aren’t really a zillion ideas here, there are many that can quick start the brain. Ostensibly written for everyone, Gregory’s fast drawing exercises, practical instruction on materials and techniques may be better suited to those illustrators just starting out, or it could prove to be useful in demonstrating to others just exactly what it is you do for a living.


PLAY Illustration Directory of Illustration Medical Illustration
PLAY! Illustration and Design
for Toys & Interactive Games

Directory of Illustration
Medical Illustration Source Book


Good Surfing — Designer/illustrator Lori Siebert has a new enterprise, Labor of Love, a unique concept magazine that examines in depth the lives of creative individuals. Beyond their art, see where they live and work, what inspires them, and much more. Illustrator Joel Nakamura is among the first profile subjects. — They claim to have been “connecting the dots between creativity, illustration & entrepreneurship since 2008.” — San Francisco’s Crown Point Press offers a newsletter, a virtual bookstore with printmaking products for sale, and archives of work dating back to the 1960s.


Job Showcase
Jessica Gonzalez
LL Bean
Tom Foty
National Journal
Zina Saunders
The Wall Street Journal
Barbara Kelley
Stripes Publishing
Chellie Carroll
Brooks Atkinson Broadway Theater
Antar Dayal
Rolling Stone
Sam Spratt
Richard Solomon Artists Representative
Science Magazine
Nicolle Rager Fuller
etc Magazine
Brian Lei
Door County Distillery
Keith Skeen
Americas Quarterly
Wesley Bedrosian
Pure magazine
Katrinn Pelletier
Colagene, illustration clinic
extinction witness
Bryan Holland
New Worlds Comics, Inc.
Kristin Kest
Descanso Gardens, La Cañada, Los Angeles, CA
Bradley Clark


Artist Blogs
Featuring over 180 blogs from artists and their representatives.
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Blogs from illustration artists in the Toy and Interactive Game markets
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World Illustration Awards 2015
Industry Advice

Industry Advice
Another way to be inspired

“How to Communicate with Illustrators.” There is nothing more basic than communication. Simple, direct facts that can lead one to make informed decisions about who to work for, what the assignment really means, you name it. Having worked for many years as the managing editor of a magazine with the word “Communication” in the title, it is where it all starts. Like the writer below, I have noticed that in recent correspondence often vital facts, or sustaining information is left out, requiring repeated emails, each parsing out one more bit of information leading to even further requests and a time drain. When you list a number of questions that need responses and only one is answered, it’s frustrating. The following advice is valuable, practical, and necessary. Read up people!

Kyle T. Webster is an illustrator and designer who has collaborated with The New Yorker, The New York Times, TIME, Entertainment Weekly, Scholastic, Nike, IDEO, and many other distinguished clients. He has created top 50 iPhone games, served on the ICON board of directors, and designed hundreds of logos. In the last two years, he has gained international recognition as the creator of premium Photoshop Brushes for professional illustrators, with over 100,000 customers.

The following is reprinted with permission from Kyle’s Tumblr. To learn more about Kyle and to see his work, visit and

How to Communicate with Illustrators

How to Email an Illustrator

My friends, colleagues and I have recently noticed that communication with illustrators is falling apart. We lament this new trend often. While there are still many art directors in the field who efficiently and effectively communicate with their artists, there are seemingly just as many who are entering the profession without having been instructed in how to properly assign work or manage projects. I do not blame these individuals—not one bit. I blame the educators who failed to send them out into the world with good communication skills. Or perhaps I blame the lack of on-the-job training at publications, where art directors are hired and fired at increasingly rapid rates. Whatever the reason, the problem persists.


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