Category Archives: Published

Another character!

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He is a fraud. He isn’t a colonel and in fact has never even been in the army. He just really liked the outfit. He is now a bit embarrassed by the fact that he spends his whole life dressing up and pretending, so has turned to crime to deal with the shame.
We are one day closer to see ALL about these books!!

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Wall-eyed badger

Wall-eyed badger

I just hired this wall-eyed badger with a contagious laugh for my current project, so you’ll have more news from him soon.
Follow him at FragosoART.

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Signing Puggle in Pajamas

Signing Puggle in Pajamas

Signing some Puggle In Pajamas books for Xmas gifts: get your copy today and fill someone´s Xmas with dog adventures in NYC!

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Knock Knock!

Knock Knock!

Come in, we were waiting for you…
(from a forthcoming children´s book: more at FragosoART)

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Puggle In Pajamas official release

Puggle In Pajamas official release

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Official release of Puggle In Pajamas, the children´s book written by Kristen Booth and illustrated by me. Get your copy today and fill up your home with a bunch of cutie little doggies!

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Phlotilla artwork creation process

 

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Phlotilla is the second record by Topher Mohr: a bunch of shinny happy songs that will stay in your head for a long time making your life happier.
After three years of playing guitar for Mayer Hawthorne he is now stepping out on his own brand of funky, vintage pop songs.

When Topher contacted me he gave me some images he liked and the words he wanted to come to your mind when you listen to Phlotilla:  vintage, classic, elegant, world traveller, dreamy. Based on them I created three different ideas for the artwork:

– Sketch 1:

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The idea in this sketch is to get a vintage japanese sci-fi movie poster vibe. The character (hero) would be Topher himself, but it wouldn´t be obvious: only his hair and profile will show us that it´s him. Our hero is flying using a retro flying propeller machine, and he is tiny compared to the huge monster. The monster is covered with feathers (elegant) and has really small hands (huge but delicate). When we open the booklet (or see the back of the case) we realize that there are actually dozens of monsters attacking him, what makes it more exciting and enforces the idea of “superhero”.

– Sketch 2:

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This idea is based on the classy and elegant retro posters of  airlines from the 50´s. A mutant flight attendant welcomes us on board to one of the flying boat-rockets propelled by screws and engines. This is the idea that uses the word “Phlotilla” more obviously. In the back of the booklet we can see the suitcase tag from the “Topher  Mohr´s PHLOTILLA Airways”, also in a retro-paper style (although it´s for a spaceship), where we can include the credits and song titles. I included two different versions of the cover: one with a stronger title and the other with a softer one.

– Sketch 3:

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This is the most minimalist and visual idea. A polar bear crosses violently our cover cooling it´s warm feeling, like a shiver. Just shapes and colors, an intense pose and face of the polar bear and the contrast between cold and hot colors. In the back of the booklet he is already swimming peacefully.

Topher loved sketch #2 (my favorite, too!) so we had the idea to work on. From here I needed to get references for vintage airlines logos, old baggage tags and vacation posters. I found lots of images that I like, here you have some samples for the lay out, tags and the space ship boats:

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And these are a couple of references for the flight attendant:

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One important detail was that Topher wanted to keep his logo from his first record from 2007 “True Love on the TV Set”:

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I really like that logo and the idea of keeping the continuity was great, but in Phlotilla we needed to go a little further making the Topher Mohr logo work as one with the Phlotilla logo. Flight attendant´s tentacle was one of the most characteristic parts of the cover, so using tentacles to join both logos was a good idea (using tentacles is always a good idea!). Having both names working as a single logo is useful for posters and promo material, like in this case with the release date:

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So after all this process this is the final artwork:

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For the inlay booklet I used the starship boats flying in the opposite direction and used the colors from the flight attendant´s uniform:

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And this is the back of the tray with the baggage tag:

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And this is the cd label:

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And this is the final result:

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Topher had a great promotional idea: creating real tags for using in your suitcase to travel around the world. Cool!

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And the mutant flight attendant is on the beautiful official tshirts.

Remember you can buy the album at Topher Mohr´s website and at the iTunes Store.

I highly recommend it: it´s good, it´s great.

By the way, it´s the “official soundtrack” during my illustration classes for kids: they love it, too!

Thanks for reading.

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References and inspiration for the book “Cosas de Niños” (Sony Music, 2012)

Reference pictures are always useful when doing an illustration. Lots of the things we have to draw we have never seen them before or at least we don´t have a clear image of them in our mind, so external references are needed many times when you work.

For illustrating the children´s book “Cosas de Niños” (released by Sony Music last June) I used many references and really enjoyed playing with them. The book is based on classic tales told in a modern way, so we needed to give the characters and locations a feel of our times: I´m going to show you some of them so you can know my working process a little better and enjoy the book much more.

Three Little Pigs.

In the book the piggies play jazz in a band, so I immediately thought about a city I love: New Orleans. Its houses and artists where a fantastic reference for the book, and I think they gave the story much more personality.

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Every visual detail can help the reader to get into the story and believe those characters and locations are or could be real. Here you have some examples of how to give more personality to our characters using some features from characters or people who really exist: Dr John is a fantastic musician from New Orleans. He is jazz, voodoo and style. He is dangerous. He IS the wolf.

The same for the good guys: Buddy Rich (1917-1987) was probably the best jazz drummer ever and famous also for his initials on his bass drum. Ah! And don´t forget the important detail of making the drummer pig take the drumstick the “old way”, with only three fingers!

Phineas Newborn Jr (1931-1989) was a fantastic pianist who used to wear his thick glasses on the cover of his records. Drawing those glasses on the pig won´t make him look like Phineas, but will give him the retro jazzy look we are looking for.

Locations need references, too: the right location will give our story much more depth and credibility:

And using classic references will make us get the perfect atmosphere: when you talk about illustration in jazz you are talking about Jim Flora (1914-1998). He made the posters and album covers in jazz history, and has inspired lots of great artists today like Shag.

Hansel & Gretel

Even when we need to create a location that doesn´t exist, lots of real places will help us. This is a good example: I took this picture of this amazing house in Fire Island NY more than a year ago, and used it to create the long path that I needed when Hansel and Gretel get to the witch´s house. Obvious advise: take pictures of the things that call your attention, you will be creating a great library of images that you will use someday.

I really enjoy giving winks to the reader: small details that make them think and go beyond the evident. In this case I put a pair of classic Chanel shoes to the witch so the reader can create his own parallel story…

And who can beat a master piece? Nobody, so we better get inspired by them when we need them. Spanish painter Francisco de Goya (1746-1828) helped me on this:

El Ratoncito Pérez

I don´t know how to translate this one because I think it only exists in Spain: it tells the story of a little prince who loses a tooth and a small mouse comes to his palace to change it for a present, but before he turns him into a mouse and makes him see all the poverty in his reign.

Again I´m using a master, Vincent Van Gogh: I remember how his painting “Room in Arles” impressed me when I saw it at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. He wanted to show how humble and tiny his room was in that time and used a fantastic perspective to get that.

Because the story takes place during the Middle Age, I created the front cover of this tale based on a stained glass window. This is about teeth, so  used a typical image you see at the dentist´s office (kind of window shape) and broke one glass for the missing tooth.

So this is how fun and interesting creating a book can be!

I hope you enjoyed it, more to come and thanks for reading!

 

NOTE: the book is only published in Spain, but email me if you want it and I´ll tell you how to get it from any other country. 

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Create your own monster

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Creating monsters is fun and drawing them is great! This is an excerpt from a forthcoming project I´m working on right now. I will give you more details soon!

Thanks for reading!

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My Rooster at Creative Quaterly

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My Rooster illustration for SONY Music has been selected by Creative Quaterly magazine. I really appreciate it as this is one of the magazines I respect the most: after two illustrations published on 3×3 Magazine last year, this is definitely good news.

The illustration appears on the second part of “Cosas de Niños” children´s book by SONY Music, to be released this October.

Thanks for reading!

How NOT to do things

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When working in any artistic field you sometimes find people who don´t respect your work or just think that an artistic creation can be used or adapted whenever they need it, no matter who actually made it or if they have the legal rights to do that. Every now and then you find one of this unpleasant situations, but this one I recently lived is one of the most unusual (and pretty annoying).

This is one of the illustrations I did for a book about autism that has just been published in Spain. It was part of a group of black and white illustrations and represents how “rigid” an autistic teen can be, when every step he has to take can be as difficult for him as he was walking inside of cubes (you can find the rest of illustrations I did in the section “MORE” at my website).

Client didn´t need a cover illustration as they already had one, so now is where we find an example of how NOT to do things: the publisher decided that my idea of the cubes was better than their cover illustration, so instead of asking me to do it in color, he decided that he could create “its own version” of it… well, this is the result:

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What do you think? Apart from the better or worse artistic side, this is simply unacceptable. When client buys an illustration, they buy THAT illustration only and not the idea if you haven´t specified that in the contract (of course, that didn´t happen).

I was quite frustrated when I got the book, and after talking with them I knew that nor me or the author was informed about this and it was a decision taken only by the publisher: everything is clear now.

My questions are: how can a professional publisher do this? How can an artist accept to do this? Was the artist informed about the details of what he or she was doing? Totally not professional and really unpleasant.

As I told you (thanks God) it doesn´t happen often, so let´s forget this and move on to more exciting things: thanks for reading!