Sunday, May 2, 2010

First Responder Illustration for Drake Rehabilitation Center

I was commissioned by Drake Rehabilitation Center in Hartwell to develop an image celebrating First Responders. The illustration is to be printed to help raise money and will be presented to Rudy Giuliani, this year's keynote speaker for their annual fundraiser.

The project quickly grew from just having first responders in the image to, "... and maybe we could put the whole skyline of Cincinnati behind them". Lol. They wanted drama without any gore or pictures of injured people, something that would be believable, but in front of the city. My solution was to have the light be where I placed the drama and to try and find a peculiar summer type of light to unify all of the reference. So much information here so I tried to be economical as much as I could, but could see this potentially progressing for months to resolve every piece of information if that amount of time were possible.

John Maggard was so helpful in letting me photograph an extrication drill at Terrace Park Fire Department where I was able to get some much needed reference. I actually went back a second time and shot even more. Without all of those guys letting me stop by and all of his additional help none of this would have happened. Many thanks John.


  1. Another fantastic job, Bruce.

    The layout and color are especially effective in focusing your eye on the rescue scene. That's a tough nut to crack... show first responders drama without any injury or gore, but you did it.

  2. Nicely done Bruce! How big is the painting?

    Will you be at the fundraiser? A friend of mine is doing something with the fundraiser. Her husband had a stroke a couple years ago and has benefitted a lot from Drake's services.

    Really nice color palette. That is a complex scene to pull off.

  3. Very nice work. the colour is nice. I like how you infused everything with that yellow, afternoon glow. Very cool. It's funny, but when people think drama anymore it's intense action and crazy goings on. But drama can be just as powerful with an expression in a face or a tensed body ready to respond at a moment's notice. Thanks for sharing this image, Bruce.

    I like the subtle diagonals you create with the roof-lines of the vehicles behind the main action. My only criticism is that I would like to see some of the figures more grounded. Some of them look like they're floating (specifically the guy prying the door open. But, ultimately, a nice image. Just something to think about for the future work you do. Very nice piece. I like how there is very little detail, just shapes. It's kinda graphic. Reminds me of Hopper's work.

  4. First-rate, Bruce!
    I was hoping someone would answer John's appeal to do this. I knew I couldn't do the subject matter justice. You went above and beyond.

  5. Thanks for all of the comments. The piece is 22" x 30" Christina. You do what you can do with a job. There are many things that I would've like to address (I agree with Justin's comments too.) Clearly an intense challenge and tried to address it best as I could. I know there are plenty of local powerhouses that could really handle this job with more ease than I! Thanks for the feedback!

  6. I also like the compositional emphasis you did with the color - the warmer than possible colors of the first responders puts them in a separate space from the skyline. It's almost as if you snuck in a two-panel narrative into a single image.

  7. man oh man I've been away from here too long - great piece, Bruce! It was a lot to get into one image in a cohesive way but the background really helps hold it all together, and I agree the palette is perfect. Any idea how the border/type treatment will be done?