April 2009

Chris Gash, Talented Illustrator Of Idea Sandbox Site – Part 2 of 2

2009-10-06T13:28:35-04:00 Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , , , |

This is Part 2 of a 2-Part article about illustrator, Chris Gash. (ChrisGash.com) Part 1 posted yesterday. Chris is one of the talented people who helped me re-design the Idea Sandbox website.

Chris was kind enough to answer some questions about his style, approach, and work. I hope you enjoy the discussion…

What lead you to pursue this retro style illustration?

It was never a consideration, it was just what I did. I don’t recall the first time I thought ‘I want to do that’, but I guess it’s from reading comics, the illustrations in the ads, my parents dragging me to garage sales as a kid and always being surrounded by old things and consequently, old illustration.

30s, 40s, 50s illustration, whether you like it stylistically or not, is traditional, good figurative drawing. And I think that’s part of why it’s still hanging around in illustration, and partly I think because there’s a familiarity to it that people respond to on some level, either sincerely or ironically, like macaroni and cheese.

How do you create your work? It looks as if you use the old school pencil, brush and ink? (And I love it). Do you do draw and ink on paper, scan and color on computer?

Pencil sketches, ink the drawing, scan it and color it in Photoshop. I used to watercolor everything, but as deadlines got tighter I had to adapt in order to take more assignments. It was a flat style of color so the difference is negligible in print, especially newsprint. At first it was a practical decision, but I actually like the possibilities Photoshop opened up. I still paint in my sketchbook, but that’s about it.

How much bigger is your original artwork than what typically gets printed? Same? Much bigger?

When I used to paint the illustrations I did them anywhere from 150 to 200% larger. I also inked exclusively with a brush at that point and that required a larger size original. Now I do them at most 125% and use a combination of pens and brushes.

What artists inspire or have inspired you?

It’s been different at different times.  When I was a student it was the countless nameless illustrators of old advertisements.

TinTin and the European ‘clear line’ illustrators were big for me for a long time too,

Tintin Artwork

Joost Swarte,

Swarte Artwork

Serge Clerc,

Clerc Artwork

Ted Benoit.

Benoit Artwork

Daniel Torres is another big one,

Torres Artwork

and whoa, Dan DeCarlo, I love that guy,

DeCarlo Artwork
DeCarlo was also the illustrator of the Archie Comics series

and Reginald Mount, I wish I could find more of his work.

Mount Artwork

I was Steven Guarnaccia’s assistant for years and his work had a big impact on me as well, he’s a great illustrator and designer.

Guarnaccia Artwork

As a student I loved all the guys who worked in a retro style,
Mike Klein and

Klein Artwork

Mark Matcho especially, they are both so good.

Matcho Artwork

And Christoph Niemann, good grief, they should put his brain in the Smithsonian, for my money, that’s as good as ideas get.

Niemann Artwork

If I tried to list all the comics guys and contemporary illustrators I love or am jealous of, we’d be here all day.

What am I missing that you think people should know?

I tend to avoid long-term projects. I love editorial illustration because of the pace, nail a good idea, draw it, move on. I think I need it to move along like that.

I am perpetually working on 2 kids books that I swore to finish this year, a cartoon strip that is NC-17, and a series of animations of various footrests called Ottoman Empire.  When you’re alone all the time, strange things seem like really good ideas…

Thank you Chris for your time, and for your art!

The images selected were pieces I found on the internet while researching the artists, they don’t necessarily reflect the pieces that Chris specifically likes. All artwork is © by the respective artists.

Chris Gash, Talented Illustrator Of Idea Sandbox Site – Part 1 of 2

2009-10-06T13:28:59-04:00 Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , , , |

This is Part 1 of a 2-Part article about illustrator, Chris Gash (ChrisGash.com). He is one of the talented people who helped me re-design the Idea Sandbox websites. Chris created the cool images that appear in the “starbursts” in the headers of key pages.

SandBlog Icon

If you enjoy learning about “the work behind the work” – what it takes to produce something – you’ll enjoy this story.

The Story:

In January of this year, I re-launched the Idea Sandbox website and blog with a new design. I kept the 1950-ish, “mid-century modern” style, but wanted something cleaner.

Part of this design included art work and visual elements. While there is 1950s style clipart out there, it all sorta looks the same.

50s Kitchen

I’m running a business with a core value of creating things that are remarkable, I knew I couldn’t use “sorta looks the same” artwork.

Long story short, I decided to hire an illustrator.

The Process:

I surfed the interweb looking for artists styles I liked. I cruised stock photo galleries and came across – among several illustrators – Chris Gash.

Chris has a retro drawing style that is a perfect match for Idea Sandbox. He has prepared illustrations for The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The New York Times: Science Times, and more…

He is especially good at turing a complex idea into a simple graphic. (A picture worth a thousand words).

Here are a few samples…

Noise Pollution

Noise pollution causes urban birds to sing at night.

Tasting Machine

New tasting machine can detect subtleties in the flavor of coffee
such as nutty, woody, flowery and acidy

Chris and I exchanged emails and conversed… Once we knew we “got” each other, we started to work…

I provided Chris with the list of main sections of my site… He took it from here.

  • Problem Solving Tools
  • Grow Your Business
  • About Us
  • Contact
  • Blog
  • What We Do

Here are a few of the sketches Chris sent on the first round. I’ve also provided a link to view the entire gallery of first drafts.  

What We Do
What We Do
This one was a no-brainer for me.
I love the use of the bucket and sand.

Grow Your Business
Grow Your Business
What a great image, a profit line busting out of the idea lightbulb.

About Us
About Us
I absolutely think this idea is brilliant,
reading the side of the lightbulb package as an ‘about us’ icon.

While Chris offered a slew of great options, we realized having “sandbox” related icons would align closer with my overall brand. Furthermore, while he created some pretty cool approaches to using the idea lightbulb icon… the idea lightbulb thing had been done before.

Here are the draft versions we selected. You’ll recognize them from browsing the website.

Idea Sandbox Icon Suite

And here are the final versions!

Idea Sandbox Icon Suite

Finally, here are some icons from the “sandbox” collection we have not used yet. I’ll bet these make their way onto the site eventually.

Gallery of Unused Sandbox Icons

Tomorrow I’ll post Part 2 of this article – an interview with Chris Gash: The Man Behind The Icons!

Images © Chris Gash and Idea Sandbox.