A couple of months ago I got a call from Mike Bain, who I've worked with on and off over the years. He's now at Oprah at Home, and wanted to know if I'd be up for an assignment based on my sketchbook work.
The story was a reflective piece about a woman who's main residence is in Iowa, but spends her summers on the Louisiana coast. O at Home wanted artwork that showed a sort of diary-like reflection of her feelings about the contrasts in her two residences.
Her Iowa home reflections centered on the cold winters and modern architecture, a more internal feel, but with the surrounding Ozark mountains. Having grown up in Missouri, I channeled a bit of my own childhood experience getting through some crazy cold winters and river trips in the Ozarks.
Her Louisiana home reflections focused more on the beach and family. The few references provided included this large red plastic toy truck, so I used it as well as I could. This was the first sketch, which they thought was too focused on the kids and not enough on the landscape.
This was approved; I thought it was a better image as well - a bit more open to interpretation and less nostalgic.
I love to sketch whenever I travel, and always enjoy an assignment where I can simply draw. Unlike my travel work though, these required assembling scenes from provided reference as well as instilling mood into personal scenes of people who I knew little about. Fortunately for me the writer, novelist Ellen Gilchrist, did a great job and made the job a bit easier for me. That said - and not that I needed it - I have a new found respect for illustrators who have to assemble believable scenes out of limited reference.
These are simple, straight up drawings. I use a ball point pen, a sketchbook, and some Windsor Newton watercolors - and hope it all works out. No pencil first, that's cheating.
Here's the final printed spread. Mike did an amazing job of placing the images onto "sketchbooks" using his wizardry.