The latest sketches and watercolor experiments...

I was away on vacation this past week which meant my commissions were all put on hold. I don't travel with large projects and currently, all my projects are... well, large. That being said, I always travel with notebooks, pens, paint and brushes. And playing around without the stress of a project gives me a little more freedom to explore. This past week was a fun and laid back exploration with color while at the beach. Blending colors, working on gradients, and not always staying in the lines yielded a bunch of good stuff. Here are a few sketches...

Oak Island, North Carolina

If you were to go to Oak Island, NC for a beach vacation, you'd probably want to know about Oak Island Accommodations. And if you were to go there, you'd probably need a map to get around. (Unless you're like me in which a case a map does little to correct a broken internal compass) They had been using a traditional map for a while and they wanted to add something with a little more personality to their marketing collateral and welcome brochure. Something that would remind people of the good times to be had there. So off to work we went. 

As I usually do, I provided my lovely client with an introductory draft to ensure the tone was right and we were on the same page. Said intro draft looked like this:

oak island map billy simons

Then came the fun part: adding more content and moving things around. Because the map was going to be printed from a digital file, I could scan in pieces and assemble the map digitally. This was a YUGE benefit in the creation process as it allowed the client to put different elements exactly where they wanted them. (Also, I could make mistakes and fix them digitally!) For example, my first complete draft came back to me with these notes: 

As the project went on and we moved to various drafts, my working copy transformed from a functional map to a collection of Frankenstein parts to be assembled later. Airplanes and jetskis were removed, sailboats eradicated, dogs were added to biplanes and fishing fish to piers... you know how it is. So by the very end, this: 

...was scanned in and digitally reorganized to look like this (click it to enlarge): 

Furthermore, deliverable to the client is a Photoshop file with all the elements individually available so that they may use the separate components across their marketing materials. Here are some closeups for your enjoyment.

So that all being said, if you know anyone that needs a map, I'm your guy. Thanks for reading! Enjoy!

House Guest - France

My first foray into this style of architectural portraiture. (2 words, 8 syllables.) This piece was commissioned by a friend who plans to give it to the owners of the home as a thank you gift for hosting her over the holidays. 12x18. Ink. Lots of tiles. Lots of vines. Lots of time.