A Grimm Road Trip: Airbnb Magazine

Had the opportunity to do a great series with Mallory Roynan over at Airbnb Magazine, for an article depicting the “German Fairy Tale Route,” an, unguided, unmarked Brothers Grimm road trip through Northern Germany. With over 40 stops including Cinderella’s Castle and Rapunzel’s Tower, this trip takes you through the heart and soul of German Fairy Tales.
Illustrating characters from these tales help form the mystical landscape they happened in.

Read the full article at Medium. https://medium.com/airbnbmag/grimm-brothers-road-trip-2cb82a18335c

Sierra Magazine: Does a Bear Think in the Woods?

A great new project I recently did for Tracy Cox, supreme divine art director at Sierra Magazine, on animal cognition. Specifically, the author Brandon Kiem talks about Black bears and their keen intelligence. Read the article here!

They had some direction for the cover using the Rodin seated figure from the “Gates of Hell” popularly known as “The Thinker.” I had not looked at this sculpture in a long time. and was struck by how the concept worked so much stronger as a part of the whole gateway (Gates of Hell). A man contemplating the past. But this pose has become a cliche’ on it’s own… Definitely something that would be a challenge to make fit in a non-humorous way…. Bears are just so fat…

Cover
“Chess Bear” spot for Sierra magazine ©Bill Mayer 2019

“Chess Bear” spot for Sierra magazine ©Bill Mayer 2019

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First thumbnails where I was trying to sort out where to go with the cover and the two other illustrations. The Chess-playing Bear seemed like an obvious one, as well as the reading bear…. I did play with putting the bear in human cloths but we decided maybe not quite the right tone…

The one they picked was#19 for the cover. #5 for the chess playing bear spot…(above) and they liked the idea of the reading bear. But I took and drew them up tighter because it’s sometimes hard for people to see past my humorous playful thumbnails.

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My original idea for the reading illustration was to use a huge Grizzly and a tiny book, I thought would be a striking contrast. But the article really was about Black bears so that changed to be more accurate. We did some tweaking back and forth trying to make the pose work.

“Sitting Bear” Cover for Sierra magazine ©Bill Mayer 2019

“Sitting Bear” Cover for Sierra magazine ©Bill Mayer 2019

after some tweaking on the pose the Black Bear seemed to work pretty well. I decided to add a simple tree behind him to help. Lastly I came back after it was finished and gave him a tookus… to sit him down and add some weight to make him look a bit more natural….

The reading bear was working well, one side note I had the bear reading Darwin and the editor suggested maybe his less famous book on animal emotions… a little subtle twist I’m not sure anyone will actually catch, but some request are too easy not to comply. In the final I decided to add some trees into the background to give an impression of the outdoor environment. It also made it a bit different from the spot illustration. the finals certainly seemed to work well in the magazine… For now I am ready to paint anything but bear hairs…. Thousand of bear hairs…

“Reading Bear” inside full page for Sierra magazine ©Bill Mayer 2019

“Reading Bear” inside full page for Sierra magazine ©Bill Mayer 2019

New Gouache Paintings at WOWxWOW!

I just finished four new paintings for an upcoming show on WOWXWOW.com

It had been a while since I had done any personal work so it was good to have this on the calander to force me to take some time and actually paint something for me. I had several large projects that had deadlines and certainly a lot of personal stuff that filled my days.
I have returned to looking a lot at Goyas work lately. In art school he was certainly one of my favorites. Forest had been searching around and we were looking at his series of dark paintings he painted on the walls of his house.(The Black Paintings) I guess that was why I decided to title these in Spanish. That and my new intern that was helping me name them is from Colombia.... It just felt like it fit.

To purchase the originals and to see the rest of the show, head over to Vestiges to Voyages

©BILL MAYER 2018 El Ministro Del Conocimiento (The Minister of Knowledge)

©BILL MAYER 2018 El Ministro Del Conocimiento (The Minister of Knowledge)

©BILL MAYER 2018 La Cabra Beata (The Pious Goat)

©BILL MAYER 2018 La Cabra Beata (The Pious Goat)

©BILL MAYER 2018 El Vidente (The Seer)

©BILL MAYER 2018 El Vidente (The Seer)

©BILL MAYER 2018 El Diácono (The Deacon)

©BILL MAYER 2018 El Diácono (The Deacon)

These four paintings;  "El Diácono," "El Ministro Del Conocimiento," "El Vidente," and "La Cabra Beata," are done in gouache on watercolor paper. They’re part of an ongoing experiment with medium and composition and the potent nature of dreams. I believe color is really emotion. Color choices are made to reinforce those emotions. I think there are no deep, dark, hidden secrets. It’s just fun to play with the emotions art can generate. To me there’s a sense of poetry in the playful use of surreal elements.

Continuing in the Gouache Series, “Strange Dreams,” this collection of four portraits portray the nature of piety.
It is a humorously haunting theme reflecting a bleak outlook on humanity and religion.

Service Stars! PLANSPONSOR

One of my favorite Art Directors SooJin Buzelli called me about doing a new job for PLANSPONSOR, a simple one page Illustration. This was a very simple concept taken from one of the usual 50 or so thumbnails. I think the design on this spread worked so well and really played off the color in the sky. Some last minute scrambling to get it all tweaked right  I added the northern lights to give the horizon a sort of mystical feeling. 

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A very simple limited color palette to keep that starry evening feeling. Conceptually the advisor on the bottom is helping the client reach for the stars. Really a literal interpretation of the "Service Stars" line.

Originally the figures were obscured by clouds, but in the final version I decided to nix the clouds to make the image read faster.

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 This lower illustration was an after thought. A naive, graphic direction I thought of and presented as an alternate. It received warm reviews but we stayed on track with the original direction, which SooJin felt was more appropriate. 

Much thanks to SooJin and the folks at PLANSPONSOR.

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