Bill Mayer
A Time For Reflection - PLANSPONSOR's Year In Review
It's been sometime since I had done an illustration for SooJin. When I got this email about this project I couldn't wait to get started. It seems lately kind of a competition in itself. With all of the fabulous talent in each publication. You really feel you need to do your best. But when it comes to start it's just going to be such a joy.... Where do you start I did the normal thirty plus thumbnails and she picked two directions she felt would fit. I thought the one that worked best was number 26. I thought I would play around with the feeling and design of the image in two separate directions. One in a more classical style, probably painted in gouache to get the feeling of it coming from the past. The second one digital, and using a very different pallette. Cool colors and warm lights. They each had a very different feeling about them, but the warm colors seemed to work the best.
 I loved the concept of looking into the past to find direction toward the future. It seemed to mirror some of the work I had been doing the last few years... this idea of using clocks seemed obvious, but most of my concepts are... I felt the color was an important part of the concept so I took the time to work up a little color study to give SooJin and myself a better idea of what i was thinking.
 I painted this little painting in gouache and certainly did a bit of tweaking to try to push that warm glow I was going for.  The conversion to CMYK seemed to kill the color a bit. We tried many many variations trying to get that luminosity back, finally got the best we could.  
 I was very pleased with the way this came together. In some ways a perfect way to use a more classic style. The design and layout done by Cherese and Alanna at PlanSponsor were so eligant and tastefully put together... These Ladies are so good. Much thanks to all of the folks at PlanSponsor and to SooJin. Always such a joy to work on one of these!
Some Beautiful Type design from Cherese and Alanna and the design team at PlanSponsor/Strategic Insight...
A Beautiful Spread design from Cherese and Alanna and the design team at PlanSponsor/Strategic Insight...
Return of the Great American Jaguar
The Return of the American Jaguar, for Smithsonian Magazine October Issue © Bill Mayer 2016
Something New I did recently for Smithsonian Magazine. It's a cover story about the possible return of the great American Jaguar. "El Jefe" is almost certainly born in Sierra Madre of northwest Mexico. He now lives in and roams the Santa Rita mountains south of Tuscon.

This cat's one seriously bad ass feline. There is evidence found that he actually crushed a black bears skull. El Jefe is the fourth documented male jaguar to make the border crossing in the last 20 years.

Such a blast working with art director Maria Keehan. Pretty much knew where she wanted the illustration to go. Sent me a comp she put together using one of my illustrations. A little back and forth on appropriate attire for a jaguar. Some searching to make the background feel close to the Santa Rita Mountains, south of Tucson, and this one seemed to flow out ahead of schedule.

Mucho thanks to El Jefe and hopes for a certain future in southern Arizona.
You can Read the whole article here at
A New Little Gouache Painting
It's a sad day America... © Bill Mayer 2016
 A couple weeks ago Lee picked up the grandkids from school. Both Zak (10)and Dash (7)were  quiet in the back seat and the youngest one Dash was really sad. She asked them what was bothering them and the youngest one said ," Is it true that if Trump is elected that Zak and I will have to go back to Africa?" Lee was so shocked and of course reassured them that it was not true.This was the sound bites they were taking away from the bits of news and conversations they had been hearing. I of course joked " Oh no honey only the Mexicans will need to leave...." 
Mihn, at the Times had called me about doing and illustration about  " Trump ,The first hundred days." But I was climbing with the siblings and missed his call. by the time I called him back two hours later, he'd already called someone else. I had woken up that morning with this image of Trump as a clown in my head. Sort of a metaphor for the whole election this year. I decided to do the illustration anyway, even though Mihn had gone in another direction.
 We just got back from opening up the cottage in Canada. I can't tell you how many of our friends in Canada are a little freaked out with what is going on in our election. They just can't believe that we may end up with Trump as president and it was a little hard to explain for us since none of us understand it either.  I have been watching all of the fun Brodner has been having with this insane cast of characters and just couldn't"t stay out of it any longer. It felt good to take a break from other work and do this one. He so deserves it.
The amazing Zak and Dash
Cloud Nine/Steppenwolf Theatre
 The first poster was so much fun we asked if we could do another one. The art diector said they would love that . Maybe we could do another style for the secound poster, I had not done a poster using the stamp illustrations and that see,ed like a perfect fit. As always though starting with thumbnail ideas.

Okay yes way too many ideas, but that is always such a great part of working on any illustration... So many directions you can go visually. Finding the perfect one tha tworks for me and the art director is always a puzzel.

 I had a few thing s i needed to get out of my head. Cloud Nine is a rather randy play which sounded like in the synopsis that everyone was sleeping with everyone. So something nice a sexy seemed appropriate. I really liked some of the other directions that I came up with but I will save them in the back of my head for some other projject. Thumbnailing for me is kind of a visual stream of contiousness, I sort of get lost a little during the process but it always generates a few worthy candidates to take to final.

The color scheme is still red black and values of those colors. in the final i pulled all of the colors toward that and I did miss some of the subblty of the missing colors. Overall though I felt they did impact the final poster. Much thanks to the folks at Stepanwolf Theater and Ogalvy for a chance to do a really fun project.
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