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Bill Mayer
REVENGE OF THE SWAMP; Mother Jones
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© BILL MAYER 2013 , MOTHER JONES
These little articles for Mother Jones are always such a blast. This time, the art director Tim Luddy had a strong idea what he was looking for so I mostly concentrated on the two ideas he gave me.
1) an alligator and a crawfish at the front of a cartoon-style image (almost reminiscent of old Conde Nast cartoons, or old New Yorkers?)with the caption below "Who farted?" The two animals are looking accusatively at one another while maybe three large figures in the background, representing the oil companies, are trying to look innocent; whistling, looking up and away, whatever. All the standard tropes for this situation would work; nothing would be too corny!
2) A slightly more general idea: since this is about messing with the Earth, poking holes into the subsoil with dire consequences, maybe something like 'Waking the Swamp Thing', or stirring up this angry swamp-monster, would work. Kind of a B-Movie illustration look.


 I'm not sure if the "B-movie look " really came off but this was till a total blast working on.
We started with the normal, thumbnails.. These seemed pretty repetitive... It's diferent when you're just working on two ideas and trying to make them work. The "Fart" idea seemed a little compllicated to make it all come off. I am assuming the editors pretty much decided that too. The call comes back that they want the swamp thing... the one from the first set of thumbnails, in your face with a contruction hat; no logos. My reference sheet when I started was of some swamp roots and a crayfish face, Now when I look at it it's all I see...
 Tim asked for a little twist on the first round of thumbs, a not-so-angry Swamp Thing... and a little clearer on the Gator/Crayfish idea, larger people in the background. I threw in a couple alternative ideas, a couple Ideas that I thought might work. The three witches stirring the stinky pot was one I thought had something going for it ...
They took almost three days out of a tight schedule trying to decide where to go with this one.
it's Friday afternoon, It's due Tuesday so I need to do a little weekend work just to make sure I am ahead of the schedule. Once I started painting the roots I wished I hadn't started. they seemed to take forever... But you know I am up early and really only a couple mornings covered in "roots" and I had enough to make sure it would be done.
Monday I touched up the painting and scanned it in. I seemed to need a little something in the background so I added some faint silhouettes of oil refineries in the fog. I had thought about adding red glowing eyes to him, but something really kind of eerie about the black holes in his face...
© BILL MAYER 2013 , MOTHER JONES
Big thanks to Tim Luddy for giving a little freedom to twist this illlustration. I loved the way it turned out... And to Carolyn Perot who took over when Tim split for vacation.... You guys are the best.


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