Monday, October 3, 2016

First Picture Book

This fall and winter I'll be hard at work at my first picture book, produced by Charlesbridge Publishing and written by Barry Wittenstein. There's a little blurb about it here on the Rights Report at Publisher's Weekly. The work will run alongside my duties on Archer, where we're working on what hopefully you'll find to be a visually stunning Season 8. Season 7 won the Emmy for "outstanding animated program" and of course the team is hoping to do it again for Season 8. It's going to be a busy winter but I'm up for the challenge.

"Karen Boss at Charlesbridge has bought world rights for Barry Wittenstein's (l.) The Boo-Boos That Changed the World: A True Story About an Accidental Invention (Really!), a humorous take on the story of how Earle Dickson invented the Band-Aid. This is illustrator Chris Hsu's debut picture book. Publication is set for spring 2018; the author and illustrator represented themselves."

Also this past spring I painted backgrounds for an Adult Swim pilot with Bento Box, the link is here. Once there click the "Now Showing" tab up top and select "Bad Guys" from the menu. (Created by Paul Scheer and Nick Giovanetti, starring the voice talents of Keegan-Michael Key, Scheer, Chelsea Peretti, Jason Mantzoukas, June Diane Raphael, Andy Daly, and James Adomian.)

Saturday, September 12, 2015


Long time no update...just started a gig as a background painter on Archer in their Atlanta studio. Very happy to be on the team and looking forward to helping crank out kick ass backgrounds for Archer, Lana, and the rest of the crew to play around in.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Pomegranate Sketching

Pomegranate sketching while in Taiwan. Charcoal pencil for one, watercolor the other.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Life Drawing Updates

Happy New Year 2015! Here's a selection of life drawings from the past few months. I try to include the pencil for scale; I go back and forth between drawing small and large. I feel both approaches present their own group of challenges, and coupled along with the unique challenges that each model presents I feel it makes for a good drawing exercise.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Folio Weekly: October 2014

Cover illustration (and some interior spots) for Folio Weekly, Oct 29 - Nov 4 issue, featuring Charlie Crist and Rick Scott.  Design and art direction by Shan Stumpf.

folio weekly chris hsu illustration

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Peter's Hill: Watercolor Study

Small watercolor study from Peter's Hill yesterday afternoon. High 70s...very unusual for New England in mid October.  Later in the evening headed over to the MFA for some figure drawing.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Peter's Hill, Arboretum

One hour oil study from the base of Peter's Hill and looking upwards on one quiet evening. 5"x7"

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Three Ridiculous Wishes

"Three Ridiculous Wishes" is a French fairytale from the late 1600s by Charles Perrault, as well as the basis for a recent assignment with the Cobblestone group. Long story short, a down-on-his-luck woodcutter is granted three wishes by Zeus (aka Jupiter) and ends up using them inadvertently and foolishly while arguing with his wife at home about the mere existence of these wishes. On the second wish he accidentally wishes for a stifling sausage or black pudding upon his wife's nose (depending on the version) and when all hell breaks loose he finally concedes that he must use his third and final wish to restore his wife back to normal.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Food Illustrations Compilation

Over many issues of My Table Magazine I've been doing a spot illustration for the "Tasting the Town" segment where the author visits five different establishments to order the same thing and write about it. I compiled all the illustrations together and thought they looked pretty interesting side by side - almost postage stamp-like even - and so here they are along with last month's topic "pretzels."

Friday, July 4, 2014

Ruffles #Roughlife Shorts

Worked on a set of animated commercials for Ruffles in their #Roughlife campaign.  I heard they aired a lot during ESPN's World Cup live streams.  (Animation artists: Lauren Ashizawa, Jen McMahon, Matt Wagner, Chris Hsu, Clambake Animation)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Excedrin Video Series

Worked with a great team at Weber Shandwick in their Boston office to create this video series for Excedrin, which highlights some easy "fast fixes" to make your life less cluttered or stressful. The videos can be found on the Excedrin website, and through the Youtube links below. We did a combination of marker drawing and stop motion effects, and yep, that's my hand...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Background Designs for Comedy Central

TripTank is a new animated anthology show on Comedy Central that combines an array of comedy writers, top notch voice talent, and diverse group of art styles into a half hour of animated sketch humor and weirdness. The team at Clambake Animation took on one of these animated skits "Dick Genie" written by Natalie Hazen and starring Kumail Nanjiani as Genie. For the background art I looked to bring to life a rich, fictional world for our characters to exist in, while at the same time trying to help elevate the story and humor. The background pictured below is the sleazy school janitor's closet where Billy and Genie have an encounter to discuss their plans.

Dick Genie Background Art by Chris Hsu.  Comedy Central TripTank

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Passenger Pigeon

Partly inspired from seeing the Audobon exhibit at the MFA a few times, and mostly inspired from seeing a Passenger Pigeon specimen yesterday at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, I took a stab at a science-style illustration of the famed extinct bird.

Passenger Pigeon Illustration, Chris Hsu

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Frontier Kids: Appleseeds Magazine

Had a lot of fun with this illustration so I decided to share it here. In the March issue of Appleseeds magazine the assignment called for a vertical full spread illustration to accompany some informational copy about what life was like for kids on the western frontier and what kind of chores it would have involved. We decided the image should of course depict many of the chores for boys and girls mentioned in the text (chopping wood, tending to animals/gardens, chasing vermin, etc.) as well as be something that would work in a long vertical format.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a serious affinity for the era of American westward expansion. Really, I have an affinity for any era, but the old West stands out to me because of the visuals - it was untamed rolling landscapes of plains, mountains, grasslands, lakes, forests, and deserts engulfing the tiny people and families who endured the hardships in hopes of new beginnings. For this illustration, I wanted to go the opposite, meaning make the kids seem bigger than life against the landscape as if they're overcoming it rather than being defeated by it. Of course once you think about larger than life figures on the western frontier, you immediately think of Thomas Hart Benton, right??

I used Benton as inspiration for this assignment, especially in the way that he composed his murals around the hard right angles of architecture (see image below.) I knew I had to deal with a rectangular box of some sort in the middle of my composition, so it just made sense. From there it was just about adding a modern children's illustration touch to it to help bring to life the text.

Kids on the Frontier Illustration, Chris Hsu
Kids on the Frontier

Design and layout by Appleseeds Magazine

Thomas Hart Benton

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Animated Gif Test

File this under "Just Wanted To See What It'd Look Like"...

Pulled out an existing illustration and took it into photoshop's animation feature to see what would happen with some subtle movement to it (eye blinks, shadow flickering, sprinkling of the flakes, etc.)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Charles Goodyear

Here's a cropped portion of an upcoming illustration of Charles Goodyear accidentally discovering the process of vulcanization. Experimented with using more crosshatching on this one than I normally would to give it that look that art reproductions had during the time of the Industrial Revolution.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Habitat Skateboards: Stained Glass Series

I've always been a big fan of skateboard art, even going all the way back to the ol' famous Tony Hawk bird skull deck from the 80s. I remember being younger and looking at them and really liking the art, though I wasn't sure why. Even as I'm older now and have a trained eye for art and design I appreciate even more the quality of illustration that went into many of those old decks.

Fast forward to the modern day...I still love skateboard art and design. I recently stumbled upon this deck series by Habitat - whose designs I'd always admired for their palettes, vector work, and attention to detail - but this stained glass series really stood out to me. Looking further into it, I realized it was actually made in stained glass by an artist named Jessie Cundiff and her crew of glass artists, then photographed for use on the board format. Really engaging use of shape and color, and a great example of old world techniques merging with modern technology. In my opinion they look even better together as a series. I look forward to one day hanging these up side by side in my studio.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Ken Griffey Upper Deck Rookie Card

Ahhh, the nostalgia of baseball card collecting. I remember when Upper Deck first came out it was considered high end because it had the fancy hologram on the card. And remember how everyone thought seeing young Ken Griffey Jr.'s smily face appear from behind that foil cover would be the key to their retirement??  It was like winning a mini lotto.  If there's one thing we can learn from the 90s, it's that anything that claims to be a collector's item will never actually ever be a collector's item in the decades that follow. Yes, that means you too, comic books with the chromium variant covers....

Friday, December 27, 2013

Fun with Animation

Just messing around with some animation

Squiggly Lip Sync from Chris H. on Vimeo.

Animated gif. If it's not automatically animating, then it probably looks like a weird still drawing...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

West Coast Visit

Just messing around today with a quick doodle while watching football...always like sketching in a style I wouldn't normally, just to stretch the creative muscles. I'm about to go out to Southern California for a week so I guess I was trying to channel some of that sunny, laid back California-ness too that I remember. Haven't been there since 2007, and the first thing I'll want to eat is probably In-N-Out. First though, I'm going to stop into Cleveland for a holiday reunion with my ol' American Greetings friends. Good times.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Red Sox World Series Champions 2013

Compiled a team portrait after the finish of the World Series. Didn't go to any of the games but I did go walk around Kenmore Square and Fenway before the start of Game 6 just to sort of check out the energy, since I'd never been anywhere that has hosted a World Series. There was so much excitement in the air, kind of reminded me of college at UF on the mornings and afternoons before the big games, which at that time were vs. Tennessee or Florida State.

Prints are available if you're interested!

Recently also discovered a cool blog that collects interesting sports-related design run by graphic designer Tim McCarthy called HEYSPORT. Check it out, there's a lot of really good creative design that goes into sports and sports branding that you probably didn't even realize. Also for you basketball afficionados there's DOUBLE SCRIBBLE (ahh, a nice reference to a game from my childhood...thanks Konami) a Tumblr blog that collects basketball illustrations and sketches.

Red Sox World Series Champions, Chris Hsu

Thursday, October 10, 2013

"Play Me I'm Yours" in Boston

You see a lot of typical street art installation project (especially ones that involve blank animal statues that are hand painted by local artists and placed around cities) but this one is unique because it is so interactive. For a few weeks about 70 pianos are placed all around the city of Boston, with each one uniquely decorated or painted. So far I've only been able to spot a few and the ones I saw were mostly uprights, except for this grand outside the MFA.

The first time I came up on it I decided to just sit there nearby and observe. I noticed that people were either playing or stopping to listen...but it didn't matter which one they were engaged in, the point was that everyone was engaged, and that was what made this different than your typical street art installations that you tend to see. And I was surprised to find that more random people on the street are able to play piano than you would think. This piano was not too far from the New England Conservatory, so of course you'd get the occasional student prodigy sitting down to play a few tunes, but for the most part it was just average joes and janes of all ages sitting down to play that one or two songs that they knew. People played Fur Elise, and people played Paul McCartney songs...people played and people listened. And people really enjoyed listening too. I mean after all, we see things like guitars, saxes, violins, and drums played on buckets outdoors all the often has anyone ever seen a full sized piano just sitting on a sidewalk?

I did sit down to play a few times since I come to the MFA frequently, though it'd been a while since I'd been around a piano on a regular basis. Played my favorite Chopin nocturne, the one in E flat and played what I still know of Maple Leaf Rag. It's too bad this isn't an annual thing, I doubt anyone would have any complaints if it were.

Been going to Drawing in the Galleries a lot lately, have a lot of sketches I need to scan for my records. Still working on big sheets of paper with the broad side of a pencil...I think this was a 5 minute pose if I remember correctly. As you can see I totally abandoned my first gesture, just didn't get the right feeling, so I started another one right next to it. Turns out they look kind of cool next to each other now.

Usually before a sketch session I'll walk around the museum to get inspired by something. I stumbled into this little exhibit in the American Wing of a show of works by an artist named Lois Mailou Jones, who I'd never heard of. Born in 1905 and trained at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (back when they actually still taught traditional art) she apparently did all kinds of art ranging from intricate pattern design to oil painting and even commercial book illustration, all of which were on display. Excellent work. There were a couple charcoal portraits she had done long ago hanging in the exhibit, below was my favorite one.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Summer 2013

We recently wrapped on a project this summer, something we all had a blast working on and can't wait for America to see. I was holding up a picture of what the project was, so for the sake of network confidentiality I covered it up for the time being. We had a great crew too...from left to right: Jeff Beckman, animator; Owen Watson, animator; Matt Wagner, video editor and effects; Chris Hsu, backgrounds and art direction; Zoe Abbett, animator (not pictured: Chad Hanna, storyboards; Julia King; producer, Jordan Scarborough, audio intern.)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

MFA Drawing in the Galleries 9.4.13

For this session I tried going on a bigger sheet of paper (18x24) and basically drawing with my arm instead of hands and fingers, and using the side of the pencil. This sheet was all one-minute poses.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Knowing Your Client

Business editorial illustration about getting to know your clients ahead of time before meeting them. As with most business principles, it's easier said than done!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dvorak on a Plane

Why doesn't this kind of stuff ever happen when I'm on a plane? Playing the finale from Dvorak's American string quartet...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

David Beckham Retires

Hard to believe today was the last game of Beckham's 20-year playing career - end of an era no doubt.  It's rare to see an athlete transcend pop culture beyond galactic standards, while actually being a significantly, relevant player.  And when you look at clips of MLS from 2007 before Beck's arrival there were just a handful of amateurish-looking teams playing in paltry college stadiums or vacant, oversized NFL arenas with depressing, faded yardage lines.  It was fun, but not many people took it seriously.  Investors, sponsors, casual American fans, and foreign players just kind of wrote it off as minor league in a major way.  To say Beckham had nothing to do with the rapid growth and global interest in MLS over the next five years would be delusional.

It's fun to be able to say I saw him play live once - when the Galaxy played here in New England back in 2011.  To commemorate his last official professional game, I did this quick portrait today.

David Beckham Illustration by Chris Hsu

Friday, May 17, 2013

Orlando Weekly Cover: May 2013

For the cover illustration in this issue of Orlando Weekly, I was asked to bring to life a simple concept: a headshot of a really excited guy with paint splattered on one side of his face and a mini golf course on the other. There's really a whole slew of ways one could go about illustrating that, so as you might imagine I had some fun with this one.

"FRINGE" refers to The Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival which is a "14-day-festival that is founded on the concept of offering 100% unjuried, 100% uncensored, 100% accessible theatre, music, dance, and art to all types and ages where 100% of the box office ticket sales go directly back to the artists within The Fringe. The Orlando Fringe is the longest running Fringe Festival in the United States, celebrating 22 years as “Orlando’s most unique cultural experience”.

Orlando Weekly Cover by Chris Hsu

(special thanks to Nathan F'in Smith for snapping this pic for me down in Orlando)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

NBA Playoffs 2013

Some drawings while watching the playoffs...stay tuned, I'm probably going to do some other teams.