Archive for Client Work

Replicating Louis Tiffany’s Masterpiece

Replicating Louis Tiffany’s masterpiece can be a challenging thing. This next illustration for the children’s book “Lights On!” illustrates Ike and Samuel walking down the Cross Hall as it might have looked in 1890. The problem is, there’s only 3 grainy photos I was able to find of the Cross Hall and the famed Tiffany glass partition that separated the Cross Hall from the entry way. In 1904, Theodore Roosevelt remodeled the White House and one of the things he did was have the stained glass wall removed in order to open up the space.


In order to make this illustration, I employed several tricks. First, I roughed up a generic point of view in my thumbnail sketches. Even though in this piece the vanishing points are really close together (much closer than would be in reality) I loved the gaping, cavernous feel it gave, so I kept the original perspective from my thumbnail sketches. (I tried a version where I “corrected” the placement of the vanishing points, and found the image to be too boring). I then gridded everything out and I aligned the columns, windows, and ceiling tiling in the grid.

Then, on a separate sheet of graph paper, I drew out the stained glass design as best as I could approximate. In Adobe Illustrator, I created a ceiling design based upon one of the photos I had. I took the flat stained glass design and ceiling design and digitally warped and fit them into my gridded perspective drawing. This was then all traced on board. For my underpainting, I separated the light areas and the shadow areas first, and then I proceeded to paint the detail inside of both. Believe me, the detail was as arduous as it looks. I labored over it, because I wanted it to have a wow factor at the end.

By the time I finished, seven days later, the paint on my palette had pretty much all dried up and my detail brushes were all shot. But, in the end, I think it’s worth it.

PS. I did not do enough research to know where the stained glass ended up, I’m guessing it’s in a museum somewhere. If you know, feel free to send me an email.


Travel Back to 1890 with Me

In case you don’t follow me on Instagram (…um… if not, why? @hummelillustration), I am in the middle of illustrating a historical picture book about Ike Hoover, the young man who wired the White House for the very first time. Those familiar with my work, know my propensity toward historical illustration, and in specific, I have a tender spot for the latter Victorian/Industrial age as it emerges into the Belle Epoch era at the turn of the century. Everything about this story is tailor-fit to me and my illustration style.

The book is titled “Lights On!” It is being published by Filter Press and will be released in 2017. I have a total of 20 illustrations to complete. I’m using this opportunity to really explore what I can do with perspective, as I have been challenged with a variety of unique settings both inside and out of the White House. As the book nears completion, I’ll release other blogs about it, so stay tuned!

Like all of my work, the process is what makes the final successful. A lot of research and a lot of time spent in the preliminary stages. Here is a sneak peak of some of the illustrations, but certainly, I’ll keep posting my progress on Instagram.

b-hummel-portfolio-art2 b-hummel-portfolio-art3 b-hummel-portfolio-art

Turning 40.


I belong to an illustration challenge group, and every week they have a different topic. I do not always get the opportunity to participate, as my schedule is very full, but every once in a while I’ll be inspired. The word for this cartoon was “mirror.”

Deciding to focus on the duplicitous meaning of the word, to look back, I tried to mirror not only the characters, but perhaps their shared discoveries across the years.

This was a piece in which I challenged myself to try and create the same character both as a fourteen year old boy and as a forty year old man. This utilizes a technique called character aging, and I’m rather happy with the results.

CardIsle is currently selling this card. If you are in the Virginia or Oregon area, you can order this design as a birthday card online, and go to any CardIsle kiosk to pick it up. Follow the link here:®.

Green Ribbon of Hope


Once again, I was privileged this year to create the art for the University of Colorado Transplant unit’s Christmas card. The image that we decided to go with was a more pastoral winter scene, something that invoked Colorado. Since the green ribbon has such strong symbolism with organ donation, we always try to tie it in (no pun intended) the design somehow. Some years, it remained hidden, other years it’s a part of the main attraction.

This year, we decided to weave it throughout the aspen, which then serves both as a compositional element, as well as convey the idea that the continuation of life is felt throughout. I know this first hand, as many of you are aware of my story, I’m a two time liver-transplant survivor, made necessary from the debilitating auto-immune disorder from which I suffer. These cards are very personal to me, and I’m very honored to be a part of this ongoing holiday tradition.

Once the initial concept was complete, I rendered several sketches, playing around with different value studies and color schemes. I decided to make it appear as if it is a new morning. Fewer things are more beautiful than a cold winter morning as the sun rises on freshly fallen snow, and I wanted to convey the sense of new beginnings through this idea.

All of it was done in acrylic on board (with really tiny brushes… which reminds me, I need to go buy more brushes…)

color studies

I did multiple color studies in Photoshop before moving to the final.

Up, Up, and Away!

Move over, Superman, you’ve got nothing on these guys!

These two images of Daedalus and Icarus I recently completed for Robert Case, who has published his take of the original story in his book Icarus and the Wing Builder. Told in first person, it gives the account of Daedalus as he travels across the Aegean region, eventually taking on Icarus as an adoptive son. It’s a fascinating tale, full of adventure and intrigue, danger and politics, but most importantly, it’s about the relational bound between the two–father and son, as they become the first humans to take flight.

daedalus icarus

The way Robert Case tells the story, it’s convincing enough to make one wonder if the legend really did indeed happen.

While I had illustrated the hardcover version of the book with a simple Aegean landscape, for the e-book, we decided to add the two characters in the sky.

Having been bombarded with images of the upcoming Superman vs Batman movie, I decided to piggyback on that theme and pose our two Greek legends in those iconic superhero poses–Daedalus taking on the form of Superman and Icarus taking on the form of Batman.

I decided to experiment and paint on a brown parchment type paper, almost the surface of a paper bag. This proved to be a bit odd to work with, the colors bled a lot and it was hard to control my vibrancy. I played around with back lighting effects, and I was influenced heavily by both Art Deco and a little Steampunk. While the final application of both men was very small in the title area of the e-book, I chose to take the time to render them out with a little more detail and attention, allowing them to work as stand alone images. Final images were clipped from their backgrounds and layered into the background image with the text.

Now if you notice that a few of my illustrations lately have dealt with the topic of flying…


purely coincidental.



Alien Invasion

I’m not usually a sci-fi, creature type illustrator. And when I try doing something mean and gnarly and grotesque, it always turns out cute. Fortunately, this was for a Christmas card for a client of mine, so cute aliens were alright. I actually had a lot of fun on this. It was really a chance for me to explore my creativity in ways I haven’t before. It stretched me as an illustrator. I had been studying the works of artists like Ralph Mcquarrie and James Gurney. Having devoted myself for so long to strict realism, based off of heavy photo reference, I wanted to see if I could create make believe environments with realistic lighting and form. I knew how light works when it hits a form and so starting with basic forms, I built up from there. I used my lighting to compose the scene and direct the eye. I did some photo research (yes, that’s Pike’s Peak in the background) for textures and lighting and of course the characters are actually my client and her assistant. In the end, I was able to step away from the crutch of strict representationalism and become the creator of my own little world.