sign up FALL 2014  / Volume 25

How Should We Act Against ISIS? For the New York Times Op-ED section.This was a same-day turnaround piece addressing the wildfire-advance of ISIS.

Terrorist infiltration and the impossibility of guarding the vast USA/Canada border for Security Management Magazine.

Incarceration Incorporated. The Crisis (magazine of the NAACP). Gideon Wayne Fitzpatrick, art director.

New York Times food column about the deadly impact of mismanaging fish as a major food source. Peter Morance, art director.

Second in a series for Patti Nemoto at Scientific American Mind.

Worth Magazine cover. Michael Shavalier, senior art director; Dean Sebring, creative director.

Huffington cover, article “True Colors” about the destructive nature of anti-gay therapy. Josh Klenert, creative director; Andrea Nasca/Martin Gee, associate art directors.

Campaign Spotlight: Brian Stauffer
Pitch Perfect Solutions

I’m not sure what concatenation of events has led to the last few months of work, but Brian Stauffer is on fire. Lüerzer’s Archive chose one of his illustrations for the cover of this year’s 200 Best Illustrators; 11 illustrations were accepted in total. His graphic illustrations are beautifully designed for maximum impact. Sophisticated commentary on cultural and political subjects of the day, they pack a visual punch—their bold conceptual approach and dynamic colors are memorable. They’re powerful. Smart. Arresting. And not for the faint hearted.

The prolific illustrator has won various prestigious awards from the Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, and Graphis, including garnering gold and silver medals from the Graphis Poster Annual 2014. He has just completed #32 in an ongoing series of covers for Worth Magazine and has produced some hard-hitting on current events.

The affable Stauffer is a tall man (6 feet six inches), with a ready smile. We met at the first Design Family Reunion, held two years ago in Pacific Grove. He and his family, wife Alina and sons Andrés, 12, and Julian, 11, camped in their cool VW Westfalia van at one of the rented guesthouses, and partook of all the outdoors and cultural events with great enthusiasm. In 2010, they moved across country from Miami to San Rafael, California. After three years there, they moved further north where they now live in a lovely house in the woods about 30 minutes from Sonoma.

He loves adventure—he spent his birthday in 2012 in Katmandu with his friend and fellow illustrator Robert Hunt. “We did a grueling two-week trek to [the] Mount Everest Base Camp which at 18,300 feet sits about 200 feet below the Khumbu Icefall (where 13 Sherpas were killed this past May).  It is our plan to go back next May and hopefully take a few other illustrators along,” Stauffer explains. He even tried cliff diving on Oahu’s famed North Shore during a recent Hawaiian vacation.

Stauffer comes from a creative family; both of his parents make art, his father paints and his mother works in mixed media. His two boys are following in his footsteps. They make things like he did as a kid, including miniature skate parks and have been known to take his pen nibs to make darts.

Born and raised in Prescott, Arizona, he graduated from The University of Arizona with a BFA emphasizing graphic design, a background that has enhanced his ability to work with art directors and to create clear, concept-driven art that complements the stories they illustrate.

Stauffer easily combines digital and traditional mediums to great effect. His work has appeared in the New York Times, TIME magazine, The New Yorker, The Nation, The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, Esquire, GQ and more than 300 other publications worldwide.

Lately he has taken to making animations as well, most notably in a powerful spot for Crispin Porter + Bogusky, for TRUTH: The Anti-Smoking campaign. He also teaches an illustration 4 class at the California College of the Arts (CCA) San Francisco campus. Somehow Stauffer juggles it all (including a new dog) and maintains an open dialogue with other creative individuals. And the work just keeps getting stronger. Steve Brodner recently posted one of Stauffer’s illustrations on Facebook with the comment: “Stauffer scores again. He is pitch perfect.”

To see more of Brian’s work, visit or visit his Facebook page.

Q: What motivated you to begin drawing and making art? Were you one of those children who could always be found sketching?
A: I was not a big sketching guy and still am not. I was a builder. My folks painted and sculpted, did silk-screening and woodworking so there were always art supplies around. I would make these elaborate marble tracks and mazes on my walls that were made of scrap matte board, wire and modeling clay.

Q: Who or what were your influences?
A: When I was in elementary school my folks took me to an Alexander Calder exhibit. In one room they played a film loop of him performing his famous circus. I'm sure I watched it from start to end at least 5 or 6 times.  I went home and tried to create my own little version. I remember reading about Calder's work ethic and also his openness to chance and play as valuable sources of his work. I think he took a lot of the stuffiness out of the idea of living as an artist. Later on in college John Heartfield grabbed my attention. I loved the power that he exhibited in his work. His ideas were strong enough and loud enough for him to fear his enemies.  

Q: How did you develop your concept driven style?
A: As far back as I can remember I had an appreciation or almost fixation on the work and thought that goes into the visuals we are exposed to daily. Good or bad, I wondered who was coming up with the ideas and why. At the U of A everything started with the idea. I'm sure that is the same in many schools but it certainly was my favorite part of any assignment. Plus, computers were not yet being used in our dept. This gave us much more time to talk about what made ideas good and bad long before they started to look finished. 

Q: How did you develop your color palette?
A: Honestly, color is something that I feel like I need to think MORE about. Right now it's mostly decided based on what we all know color can do. Does it enhance the idea and mood in the image? Does it lead the eye or distract? In a way I feel a bit lazy with color because I almost use it like "a bigger hammer".  Ironically, both my boys are colorblind.

Q: What is your preferred medium?
A: Traditional sketches of pencil and paper but digital finals. I've spent years beating myself up for being a digital artist but the truth is that it's the only medium I could use to work through an image the way I do with the freedom and spontaneity that I need. I have the greatest admiration for users of traditional mediums. There's a level of commitment to the physical act placing pigment to paper that I am in awe of but it doesn't yet work for me.  I really need to be trying and failing so much in each final. I'm sure I'll find a way to go more traditional but I'm not there yet. 

Q: What is your sketchbook process?
A: I don't have one. When I'm not working on an assignment or personal project, the last thing I want to do is draw in a sketchbook. God bless the folks who go on vacation and can't help but pull out the pencil and paper and draw, but I'm not that guy. Not yet anyway. 

Q: What is your favorite type of assignment?
A: I hate this question because it asks me to admit that there are assignments I get that I'm not excited about. My favorite assignments are the ones where I feel like I brought something new to the subject no matter whether it's a sexy opera poster gig or a somewhat dry article about financial markets. I will admit to liking the assignments that tap into current events. I do like being a part of that conversation.

Q: What is your process for an editorial illustration?
A: I try very hard to put myself into the shoes of everyone involved with the story before it has landed in my lap.  Somewhere, a story-worthy event has happened.  Its participants are living the story. Someone at a certain magazine has decided for whatever reasons to write about it. A writer has spent, hopefully, hour upon hour of their time observing and investigating the story. Then it arrives on your table. I try to put myself in the place of those people. If an idea for an illustration is slow to come, I haven't clearly understood one of those things. I make a handful of sketches and send them off to the AD with a few notes to let them understand the thinking surrounding each sketch. Having been an AD before transitioning to illustration I often send along a couple pitch points to ease the sale of an idea that may be a little more challenging.

Q: What inspires you?
A: I'm inspired most by people, artistic and other, who live devoted lives.

Q: How do you separate work and family time?
A: Not very well.  Balance is fairly elusive, and the rampant ADD that is rife in our household makes continuity near impossible. I also put worktables for the boys in the studio, which can get a little distracting, but I love having them there. I guess the answer is that work and play start to overlap. Alina does a lot of the kid duties but is also doing web development on projects of her own. Somehow it all works because we're a pretty tight clan that spends a lot of time making fun stuff.

I wish I had a better answer on the family/work balance question.  It's so elusive. I feel like it is such a privilege to work from home. I spend mornings with the kids before they head to school and am here when they get back. We have a lot of time together but it's true that work is always right down the stairs. I do love to work, but I love to play like a kid much more. The balance issue for me is more about HOW MUCH do I need to feel secure. On that point, balance is a much bigger mystery.

Q: Can you describe your studio environment? How has your recent move affected your work (or has it)?
A: We've only been in our new home for one year now but it's starting to take shape. I think the biggest affect on my work has come more from being surrounded in the Bay Area by brilliant thinkers. There's this great appreciation here of the outdoors and innovation. Before having kids Alina and I lived in NYC.  I remember thinking that there's no way anyone could argue that it was the wrong place for an artist to be.  I feel that way about being here now. That confidence makes for a nice canvas.

One other thing on the move out West: Before we had kids I used to pride myself on being a morning guy. Kids kind of forced me into the late nights. Working with primarily East Coast clients has brought the early AM's back and I dig it. I go to bed early but am up sometimes around 3 or 4 a.m. But then in the early afternoon things quiet down and it's time for the outdoors.

Mac Conner, detail from How Do You Love Me, gouache on illustration board, from Woman’s Home Companion, 1950. © Mac Conner. Courtesy of the artist.

Scott Bakal, Crossroad Blues (I Said Hello Satan), 2007. Story illustration for Scott Bakal’s “Me + The Devil,” 2007. Norman Rockwell Museum Collection, gift of the artist. ©Scott Bakal. All rights reserved.

Craig LaRotonda, Soul of Fire, acrylic and gold leaf on wood, 12 x 12 inches framed.

What's Hanging
Exhibitions of note nationwide.

Mac Conner: A New York Life
Through January 19, 2015
The Museum of the City of New York
1200 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY

Mac Conner: A New York Life is the first exhibition of more than 70 original artworks by illustrator McCauley ("Mac") Conner, one of New York's original "Mad Men." In the 1940s-60s,Conner's captivating advertising and editorial illustrations graced the pages of major magazines, including CosmopolitanRedbook, and The Saturday Evening Post, helping shape the popular image of postwar America.

This latest in an ongoing series of exhibitions that examines the lives and influence of New Yorkers explores one man's prolific career in New York as the world's media capital and the country's publishing center in the pivotal years after World War II. Conner, still insightful and witty at 100 years old, attended the opening of his first solo exhibition (held September 10th).

"Today, Mac Conner is one of the few remaining voices of an influential group of New York illustrators who created the look of a generation," said Susan Henshaw Jones, the Ronay Menschel Director at the City Museum. "We are thrilled to showcase his incredible work and introduce visitors to yet another remarkable New Yorker."

Mac Conner: A New York Life is curated by Terrence C. Brown, a City Museum guest curator and the Director of the Society of Illustrators, with consulting curator D.B. Dowd, Professor of Art and American Culture Studies at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and Faculty Director of the Modern Graphic History Library, both at Washington University in St. Louis. The exhibition is co-sponsored by The Modern Graphic History Library at Washington University in St. Louis and the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies at the Norman Rockwell Museum.


Curator’s Choice: Selections from the Permanent Collection
Through January 11, 2015
Norman Rockwell Museum
9 Route 183
Stockbridge, MA

The Norman Rockwell Museum holds an outstanding collection of American illustration art in addition to its hallmark collection of original paintings, drawings, and studies by Norman Rockwell. These recent gifts have been made available through the generosity of enthusiastic collectors and museum supporters, who have embraced the Museum’s mission as the home of American illustration art.

This installation features recently acquired artworks and archival materials relating to the NRM’s growing collection of original illustration art. The NRM has curated some wonderful exhibitions showing the work of contemporary illustrators ranging from Murray Tinkleman to Istvan Banyai, R.O Blechman, and Alex Ross’s comic book art among others.

The Ninth Annual Blab! Exhibition
Through November 4, 2014
Copro Gallery
Bergamot Station Arts Complex
2525 Michigan Ave., Unit T5
Santa Monica, CA

Once again the annual Blab! Exhibition, curated by award-winning art director Monte Beauchamp (see Good Books below) offers up a cornucopia of work by talented illustrators including Joe Sorren, the elusive Mark Ryden, Marc Burkhardt, Souther Salazar, Bill Mayer, Cathie Bleck, Tara McPherson, Craig LaRotunda and Rob Clayton (amazing 40 x 40 inches paintings that I covet), among other talents. Beauchamp’s eye is well trained, this show will not disappoint.

The Drawing Club by Bob Kato

Masterful Marks: Cartoonists Who Changed the World by Monte Beauchamp

Codices illustres. The world’s most famous illuminated manuscripts by Ingo. F. Walter and Norbert Wolf

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

The Drawing Club by Bob Kato
144 pages, softbound, published by Quarry Books, $24.99

Hundreds of artists come to expand and broaden their skills at Los Angeles's original character drawing workshop, The Drawing Club. Since 2002, artists from all over the LA region have gathered each Thursday night at a special place where story and character are interpreted from life.

In The Drawing Club, many of these professional working artists and the club's founder, Bob Kato, will teach you how to think differently about drawing characters from life—and, in true Drawing Club spirit, have a good time doing it! This book is a master class in interpreting and drawing characters, full of great stories, insights, and a wide array of styles and approaches. It is a great tool, and would make a fun gift.

Masterful Marks: Cartoonists Who Changed the World by Monte Beauchamp
128 pages, hardcover, published by Simon & Schuster, $24.99

Monte Beauchamp, editor of Blab! and authority on all things illustrated, has written a book celebrating the lives of visionary artists who created the world of comic art and helped alter the face of pop culture. In a meta turn, he asked popular cartoonists—including Drew Friedman, Nora Krug, Denis Kitchen and Peter Kuper—to illustrate the 16 visionaries he spotlights, an eclectic who’s-who including Theodor Geisel, Charles M. Schulz, Osamu Tezuka, Al Hirshfeld, Edward Gorey, Harvey Kurtzman. Readers can enjoy 16 graphic novel biographies under one cover and learn about these important creative individuals. Beauchamp uses the term “cartoonists” in a broad sense that embraces creators of caricature, manga, single-panel jokes, and more. No less a critic than film critic and historian Leonard Maltin claims in a jacket cover note, “An imaginative and appropriate way for today’s cartoonists to salute some of their heroes…A unique blend of love and irreverence.”

Codices illustres. The world’s most famous illuminated manuscripts by Ingo. F. Walter and Norbert Wolf
504 pages, hardbound, published by Taschen, $39.99

I’ve always been fascinated with illuminated manuscripts, the incredible artistry, the beautiful colors and gorgeous lettering. Codices illustres presents 167 beautiful manuscripts of the medieval age. The large-format reproductions shown once belonged to some of the biggest power players on earth, and were rarely seen as they were often hidden away in private collections. While the focus here is on European manuscripts, examples from Mexican, Persian, and Indian traditions show how these cultures also produced intricate and refined manuscripts. Each manuscript has an informative synopsis; a 36-page appendix contains biographies of the artists, an extensive bibliography, index, and glossary for technical terms.

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

Good Surfing
A few hot breaks to check out while surfing the net. — Founded in 1998 at Brown University, The Arts Literacy Project develops curricula and professional development practices linking literacy and the arts; creating powerful learning opportunities for students both in core academic subjects and in the arts. — I’d like to give a shout out to Secession Art & Design, a cool space in my former San Francisco neighborhood, Bernal Heights. It’s a gallery, boutique and workspace that just celebrated its 7th anniversary. — is a 501(c)(3) non-profit supporting artist organized media, events and cultural education. — A "get started" guide ostensibly for designers, but really helpful for anyone wanting to know more about cross-DPI and cross-platform design (bonus, no math). — If you like combining type with images, check out T26’s new Webfonts section, where you’ll find creative typographical EPS sets by Without Walls (love their Wood Type Impressions Volume One), Ron & Joe and The Organic Type.

Job Showcase
Fox Sports
Tavis Coburn
Christopher DeLorenzo
Adhemas Batista
Matt Herring
Début Art Ltd.
Out Magazine
Edward McGowan
Colagene, illustration clinic
Cristina Guitian
Meiklejohn Illustration
Smithsonian Magazine
Zina Saunders
Sunday Times
Bob Venables
Newsweek Magazine
Wesley Bedrosian
Playboy Magazine
Edward Kinsella III
Richard Solomon Artists Representative
National Geographic Traveller UK
Freddy Boo
Nature's Path
Kim & James Neale
Mendola Artists Representatives
Stanford Business
Richard Mia
Gerald & Cullen Rapp
Dental Crafters
Scott Alberts
Nebraska Public Schools
Jim Atherton
Brainbox Candy
Ashley Percival
The Florida Bar Journal
Barbara Kelley
Variety Magazine
Dave Murray


Artist Blogs
Featuring over 180 blogs from artists and their representatives.
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Featuring blogs from medical illustrators.
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Blogs from illustration artists in the Toy and Interactive Game markets
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Industry Advice

Industry Advice
Another way to be inspired

Northern California painter Nicholas Wilton focuses on the subject of creativity beyond his own canvases, to help others bring their creativity alive. Wilton’s paintings are highly sought after both in the United States and Europe. He is the founder of the ArtLife Creativity workshops and classes. Nicholas also has established the Creative Visionary Mentoring Program, which offers artistic, business, and creative coaching to artists. He speaks and writes extensively on the subject of life purpose, inspiration and creativity. His blog, artwork and instructional offerings can be found at This recent post from Nicholas offers great advice on how we can re-inspire ourselves.

Three Ways To Get Re Inspired On Your Art by Nicholas Wilton

Sometimes you just lose momentum. Sometimes you look at everything you are making and it all feels flat. Sometimes you just don’t feel like going into the studio.

Here are 3 easy ways to get re inspired on your Art.

Your Art is Your Vacation

I heard an amazing talk at World Domination Summit in Portland Oregon. It was by Bob Moore who founded Bob’s Red Mill grain company. At 85, Bob still felt super excited about his career and he spent the better part of an hour offering us advice, not just about business but about life.

There was one thing he said regarding careers that I never forgot. In explaining how he could remain so passionate about his job, he smiled and said, “Your Vocation should be your Vacation.”

This resonated with me, but I also see that in real life, most typical jobs don’t have that flexibility. In Bob’s case it really helps to be the owner of the company.

It is important to remember that Art is not a typical vocation. A career in art contains within it an extremely valuable attribute. Art careers accommodate your necessity to change.

A career in art is utterly and totally flexible and adjustable to whatever it is that you want. This spaciousness is built in, but sometimes we forget we have it, especially when the only thing staring back at us is something we have toiled over to such an extent that we are just plain are sick of it.

Instead of thinking there is a problem with your vocation try thinking about how to change things so it feels more in alignment with you. It could be your materials, when and where you work and even what you make. Think about making things more like a vacation for yourself.

And less like a vocation.

Start Something New

The feeling of being bogged down is usually based upon something that has been worked on too long. Things become stale. Boredom sets in. It takes enormous energy to overcome this empty feeling, to then re invigorate this work with something that can make it super dynamic again. So instead of trying so hard to overcome these emotions, try a different tact.

Put it aside and start something that is new. Preferably without a plan. Do something that feels easy.

Two essential components to be present within us to create potent art are curiosity and wonder. New beginnings always come with both. Starting something new returns us back into the kind of thinking and hopefulness that can generate our best work.

Easy is the New Hard

Do you sometimes find that your best work was also the easiest? I do. This happens to me all the time. Now when I am struggling for too long, I literally choose to stop.

After a break I promise myself that I will only proceed with actions that feel like a “yes”. I then try and stay in the groove of what is easy instead of hard. After all, most of the work of others that I admire looks more effortless than effortful.

I believe that effortless can only be learned by practice. This little shift in the way I work has helped me significantly. Why should it always be so hard?

Give yourself a break and once again return to what brings you a joyful yes. Everyone will be happier, especially you.

Editor’s note: Click here to receive a free download of Wilton’s “7 Steps to Beginning."

Editor’s Choice
A new section devoted to illustration-centric products

Chronicle Books has done it again—come up with another cool paper product. “Loteria” by Don Clemente, is based on the beloved Mexican bingo-style board game that has inspired so many illustrators with its colorful bold graphics. I favor the set of 3 notebooks that include vintage Loteria images, lined interior pages and center-stitched spines, tied together with baker’s twine and bellyband, $12.95; Loteria is also available as a set of 20 different cards and envelopes for $14.95.


Graphic memoirist receives MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant

Alison Bechdel, known for her comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For”, about the everyday lives of those in the lesbian community, as well as for her graphic memoirs, including Fun Home, will receive $625,000 over a 5-year span, to allow maximum freedom to follow her creative visions. To see her work, visit

If you have received an award, published a book or have other exciting career news, please email

In Memoriam

Tony Auth, 72, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and four-decade contributor to The Inquirer’s editorial page (he left in 2012 to become a digital artist), has died. His career began in 1971 when the California artist flew to Philadelphia to interview for the position of editorial cartoonist. For 41 years he produced 5 cartoons a week, becoming a Philly staple. Friends of Auth are fundraising in hopes of creating an archive at Temple University devoted to his work.

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