Role: Layout and hand lettering
Art direction & photo styling for Gift Guide photoshoot.
For the Gift Guide, I got to work with the wonderful Joel Benjamin and editor Anne Nelson art directing and styling all the great products Rachel and Marni (reporters) brought in. We chose to do a variety of stand-up/lay down shots, and really focus on the colors of each group to tie them together.
Joel's photos are magnificent, so in the layouts, I worked to stay out of their way, choosing to block together the product information and use small numerical indicators instead of cluttering up the images with type.
The Cooking for Crowds story came to me with Kristin Teig's beautiful photos setting the stage. Again, the photography is doing the work here, so my goal was to use the type to elegantly compliment it, not compete for attention. The original recipe files were corrupt, so I stayed late one night and hand-built each of these tables. Oy vey, but I think it was worth it.
For both layouts, I hand-lettered the headlines to brighten up the holiday spirit.
Role: illustration, layout
Typically our travel section is photo-driven (obviously) but for this story about the comeback of travel agents, editor Kerri Westenberg and I needed to come up with something a little more dynamic than a headshot of a travel agent. After riffing on a couple ideas and nixing plenty more, I came to her with the inspiration of instagram's #thingsorganizedneatly photos, where people lay out everything in their daily bag or pockets, etc and suggested we illustrate that with travel items, since the whole point is the ease and organization of travel agents. She liked it, and we moved forward with a watercolor + vector style illustration.
Role: Art direction, layout
When Allie Shah heard about a local gym teaching a "How to Run" class, she (and many other folks) laughed at the absurdity and thought it should definitely be a story. As a runner myself, I was all about the idea and encouraged all the non-runners involved that this is actually a really important concept for people who are trying to run efficiently.
I joined up with Allie really early on in this, requesting that the story hold to the cover and be sectioned into pieces we could illustrate. I wanted to not just point to elements on a central runner image, but actually show in detail what the right and wrong way to do things looked like with detail photos. Allie and I sectioned out together how each tip should be approached and sketched this layout before she wrote the story so it would come together easily.
At the last minute, our source (the running teacher) dropped out for the photo shoot, so I used a coworker runner as my model (but was faced with the challenge of making her unrecognizable) and teamed up with photographer Brian Peterson in studio to art direct the main and detail photos.
The end result is utilitarian and informative, and I'm proud that we potentially helped readers actually improve, rather than generalizing tips and pointing them to a class they likely wouldn't attend.
When the art is absolutely beautiful, you just have to stay out of its way. I let the headline and furniture text sink into the photos' subdued backgrounds. The beautiful clothes are the whole story! I wanted to be a little playful and content-aware on the inside, by placing the headline on the edge of the photo.
Role: art direction, layout
As winter approached (boo!) I hired Christoph Hitz for an illustration that made "Winterizing tips" a little more fun. He knocked it out of the park with the chilly home character on the cover, and we worked together to represent each tip with a little callout circle on the inside.
Role: layout, co-art direction with Caroline Royce of Vita.mn
Photography by Carlos Gonzalez
Styling by Jahna Peloquin
Vita.mn, the Star Tribune's alt-weekly entertainment tab, does a winter fashion shoot every year. We on the Star Tribune side decided to run some of their looks in the regular daily paper, and one special separate look all of our own. I joined the vita.mn team for the morning at Theodore Wirth golf course to help get this shot, taken by the unbelievable Carlos Gonzalez. In the layout, I wanted to get the hell out of the way of the beautiful photo, so I did every kind of grouping and quieting I could with the elements, leaving a prettier and chillier page.
Role: Layout, infographic design
Allie Shah's piece on three tree scientists at the U focused mostly on the scientists themselves, so the original art pitch was for a nice portrait. But what makes those guys so fascinating is what they do, not what they look like, so I asked her and fantastic photographer Glen Stubbe to get us a slice of a tree that we could investigate for readers as the lead art. Allie went back to the scientists with a photo proof and did an amazing job compiling with interesting details for this stump's history, and I pieced together an infographic of sorts to give readers an insider look. Bonus: how great is that headline? (thanks to editor Tom Horgen on that one).
When trying different images for the cover of this not-so-visual construction story, I loved the curve of this one little plant. So I cropped it tightly and used its shape to give the cover some dimension and a bit of a storybook feel with the headline's play on "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn."
Role: illustration, layout
This travel cover, pitched originally for a secondary story, was one of my favorites yet at the Star Tribune, and I cheerleaded this story to a lead position because I thought a bracket illustration could be really fun. It's nice change of pace and combination of topics, as college basketball reporter and foodie Amelia Rayno ranked the Big 10 not by basketball prowess, but by each city's culinary chops. DC comes out on top in our make-believe foodie bracket, and Amelia has great suggestions for bites in each city on the inside. Editor Kerri Westenberg was a big help in shepherding this story and its execution to something that we were all really excited about.
This page presented a unique challenge: the Babes were getting together in LA for a rehearsal for the first time in almost two decades, but we wouldn't have the story or photos until the morning (8am) and we shipped the section (at noon). I had handout art, but the editors really wanted us to use live rehearsal photos since we had exclusive access with a freelance photographer. I was wary, though, because show photos can be so hit-or-miss, and I didn't want to just cross my fingers and hope for one that would be worthy of lead art, or design 10 different versions and just figure it out in a short morning before we shipped. So I built a crazy punk-inspired page with wild lines and colors around promotional art and left holes for the live photos, counting on making them black and white.
And... I was so glad I did! The live photos came in mediocre at best and washed in a weird green light. I quickly edited them, plugged them into the layout, waited for the copy to go through the desk, and shipped the page with little stress.
Our intern Natalie Daher wrote a nice trend piece about coloring clubs for grown-ups. I wanted the page to be color-able (is that a word?) but not all black-and-white and generic, so I doodled some drawing instruments and colored them in, with a little fun colored type to top it all off.
As soon as I saw this photo by the talented Zach Wittman, I knew it was the cover for this story about the last private club caddy camp in the country. We typically leave a white rail for three large tezes, but I cut one, simplified them, and made the photo full bleed. Instead of filling up the sky with type (tempting! there's so much negative space!) I chose to leave it quiet and elegant with a little bit of a curve.
The fine folks at The Baltimore Sun got in touch with me for a quick WKND cover for their "20 Fall Events under $20" story. Once I read the list of events, I was sure I needed to include racing piglets, and pitched to them a few ideas, my favorite of which was creating a 20 with elements from more well-known events and fall imagery. They liked it too, and I had a blast putting this together!
I wasn't happy with the photos we had for this story on local places to make your holiday gifts, and I didn't feel any of them embodied the whole story (instead of just one example). So I spent an afternoon whipping up this playful illustration to echo the crafty nature of the piece.
A challenge we often face in the travel section is using writers as photographers because of slim resources. Sometimes we get lucky, but often we go to the wires, travel sites, and stock websites to chase down something better. I loved the combination of orange tones in these LA Times photos we found, so I played on the color relationship and a simple, clean layout to try to elevate our Durango story to snow-capped heights. (too much? okay, too much.)
Role: art direction, photo editing, layout
When lifestyle editor Tom Horgen pitched this chefs-with-tattoos story, I immediately knew what I wanted the art to look like: High contrast four-color black and white portraits with stark light casting off their badass ink. Photographer David Joles brought my vision to life with our amazing chefs as we spent a few hours in studio getting the mood just right (and having two lights blow out in the process -- by the end we were working with barely anything). It was one of my favorite days as an art director; I LOVED these portraits so much and wanted their drama to really carry the pages.
In the cover layout, I used a little blue ink blob to add a splash of color and play on the headline.
Role: illustration/hand lettering, layout
I don't watch Parks and Rec, but it is based in my glorious home state of Indiana, so I wanted to do it justice in Neal Justin's farewell piece. I found handout portraits on the network website, and used our iconic quote headline to create something splashy and celebratory to commemorate the end of such a beloved show. And I couldn't help but have Nick Offerman's blue eyes peering through the blue O -- his "look" is so iconic and I found it all very amusing. Fun page.
Role: A1 centerpiece and three-day doubletruck design (initial style co-developed with designer Jane Martin), contribution to digital design (photo/quote pacing) and reporting with writer Jenna Russell for big red numbers on day 2.
Role: layout, infographic design
Cover design with Greg Klee (art director)
This story brought together six folks to comment on the new movie, The Hundred Foot Journey, which looks at the convergence of two cultures through the lens of food. For art, all I had was a bank of film screenshots that couldn't be blown up past 4x6. It's always a challenge to take small, hand-out PR art and turn it into something visually dynamic. I worked with fantastic editor Sheryl Julian to come up with a texture and color palette that showed this cultural separation without relying on handout art, and carried it through to the inside.
The Baltimore Sun hired me to illustrate their Summer Events preview, requesting a type-driven cover that incorporated many of the events' names and a hand-written headline. I used a bright, summery color palette and loose lettering to cram in a bunch of fun events into one cohesive cover.
Role: Illustration, layout
With no art for a generic Halloween quiz story, I took the opportunity to have some fun with letters and a big creepy black cat to invoke a spooky feel to this inside spread.
The challenges of awards nights are many, but probably the biggest is taking a features staff used to working 2-4 days ahead and producing something spectacular in just a few hours. Working closely with my pal and fashion writer extraordinary Aimee Blanchette as she made her selections, I silhouetted 9 dresses and on a simple, elegant grid before the state edition (9:00 p.m. color deadline) to put together an open and clean overview of Oscars night looks.
Columnist Gail Rosenblum wrote a nice, nostalgic piece about why Minnesotans love a parade for which we needed some art. I wanted to challenge myself and try a simper less "drawn"-looking illustration style, so I used elements of her column and iconic imagery to come up with this little windy parade.
role: layout, art direction (with Nicole O'Toole)
I love working with photographer Joel Benjamin (he also did the photos for my Holiday Gift Guide pages), and I knew Nicole O'Toole is always swamped art directing and producing the magazine's fall and spring style issues, so I volunteered to jump in and design the shorter accessories spread and a couple front-of-books so she could focus on the larger features.
We all worked together to select backgrounds and create some beautiful photos that are tied together in tone but fit the shoe groupings pulled by the fabulous Rachel Raczka.
In the layouts, I noticed that each of the headlines had some sort of directional language, so I used a dotted rule throughout to play on the imagery of a dance step diagram.
With a whole lot of handout art, I puzzle-pieced these book covers together for a story about how the same visual tactics (back, head cutt off) etc are used to illustrate/hide women's faces on book covers. I love the way the headline plays with the whole package; it totally seals the deal.
This is a special section printed in the wake of the Freddie Gray unrest, celebrating Baltimore's best from nightlife to museums. Partial revenue from the section's sales support areas in the city that most need rebuilding.
This started as a lettering commission but completely shifted gears partway through (such is the editorial illustration way), so I stretched myself a bit to come up with buildings and people that matched the Baltimore vibe. A fun challenge!
Role: illustration, layout
As a features staff, we wrote a big (mostly) sarcastic and quippy piece about all the things we're looking forward to in 2015. I wanted to echo the celebratory and fun nature of both the piece and the time of year, so I chose bright colors and confetti-like shapes to sprinkle the page with illustrative fun and drawn elements from our story.
Role: illustration, layout
What do you do when you're challenged to illustrate a story entirely about snot? Noodle around on the internet until you see a disgusting stock snotty faucet photo, riff on the editor's genius headline, and sneeze your way into a graphic poster-like scene for a... sticky subject. Note the greenish smear at the bottom of the story. Can I make more horrible snot jokes?
Custom baby and kid monograms that I love drawing as gifts and on commission. You pick the theme (woodland animals! ballpark! tiny birds!) and the colors, I return a totally custom 8x10 hand-doodled letter for your special little humanoid.
Role: Hand lettering
This completely autobiographical project came a week after I first arrived at the Globe. Art director and cover designer Greg Klee asked me to whip up some hand-drawn words for this headline, and after a few different versions we landed on this casual style, which I think he integrated so nicely into the cover photo.
Role: Illustration, layout, headline writing
My first concept illustration and headline in the Star Tribune, for a story about how Gen-Xers are feeling inconsequential in the eyes of marketers, employers, everyone -- trapped between the popular and dominant generations, baby boomers and millennials.
I wanted the millennial and baby boomers to visually dwarf the Gen-xers to follow the topic of the story. So I sandwiched the story between two busy illustrations, but kept the focus on the headline by highlighting it yellow and using only tints of blue for the illustration (to make it feel more like a texture). I wrote the headline in context of the illustration, to feel conversational, as if a Gen-xer representative were really speaking.
Role: layout, image sourcing
For this excerpt from Bobby Orr's new book, I chose to play on a nostalgic black-and white mood with some stark yellow blocks of color (my favorite!). It's a memoir, not a big loud sports story, so I tried to echo that with the selection and pacing of archival photos and the strong magaziney type. The first half of our excerpt focused on this famous photo from the 1970 Stanley Cup, so that was the obvious choice for the lead photo.
Role: Illustration and design
Sharyn Jackson's clever and fun story about drinking in every country in Epcot was the perfect opportunity to draw lots of slushy sugary alcohol. I wanted the illustration to match the playful tone of the story and used a quirky cocktail glass with Disney-style lettering to anchor the page.
Role: infographic reporting and design
As a part of the immersive learning project BSU at the Games, I collaborated with a small team of graphics reporters and Alex Bordens, graphics producer from the Chicago Tribune, to cover the London 2012 Olympics.
This graphic, my biggest project, focused on the Twitter algorithm that controlled the nightly light show at the London Eye. Days of personal interviews, research, and edits went into formatting a data-rich feature story into this piece.