It's always a good day when Mother Jone's art director Tim Luddy calls. And he does call, as in on the telephone. Most inquiries into my availability for an assignment are done through email, which is fine. But it's nice to talk through ideas the old fashioned way once in a while. Tim has announced that he's leaving Mother Jones and he will be missed. He's always been a champion of illustration and I considered myself very fortunate to fall into the menu of a man who I otherwise believe has exquisite taste in the illustrators he works with.
This issue focuses on our e-privacy and how we demand protection against unwanted prying eyes while simultaneously indulging in a compulsive mission to share, display, and expose almost every move we make.
Here are the thumbnails I sent after Tim described the direction he'd like to pursue. Also, I was to keep in mind that there may be a full page feature opener inside the magazine. These sketches were done on an ipad.
I got a kick out of this idea and had fun executing it. We tried to walk the line of good taste, only showing butt cleavage and a suggestion of breast. It was suggested that the image in the phone screen be topless, but nipples might go too far. I'm just happy that I was able to provide Lady Liberty some relief from those heavy robes.
Thanks again to Tim and good luck in your next incarnation. Namaste!
As the days descend into darkness I've been thinking more than usual about fear and what frightens us. Most kids are to some degree afraid of the dark. It's where the inhabitants of their imagination reside under cover, waiting to pounce. Is that a shadow on my wall or is it a tentacle? What's that sound? Oh my god, there's really, really something under my bed!
As I've grown into the world I've realized that it's often the light of day that has the greatest potential for fear, danger, and downfall. A skim through the daily paper is basically a horror story being told in serial form. I'd much prefer to go back to being afraid of the dark.
I did this piece as an equipment check. I got a Wacom Companion a few weeks ago and this was the first thing I did with it out of the box. Just me and a mirror. I need to lighten up on the hard stare if I'm going to want anybody to sit for a portrait.
I was wasting time on Facebook last week and saw that Entertainment Weekly art director Kory Kennedy was looking for illustrators who were Breaking Bad fans to drop him a line. So I did, and this foot on the gas job came from it. In his Facebook post Kory mentioned a Monday night sketch with a Tuesday afternoon final. Gulp. Much to my relief, the way things worked out I could get him a sketch on Friday and have until Tuesday to finish. In the not too distant past ending up with this assignment would have entailed several postcard mailings, a couple of multi-thousand dollar sourcebook ads and maybe an artist’s rep. Thank you, Winkelvi.
It was fun to work on this in the midst of all the Breaking Bad series finale hype. It was little like being safe in the middle of a raging storm, being exposed to the elements but somehow benefitting from the energy it all brought.
I’m a big fan of the show and Bryan Cranston’s performance and transformation as an actor and his character in particular. If you’re a fan of the show you know how things got away from Walter White, how a well defined goal became an obsession that ate everything in it’s path. I’m familiar with that impulse. In fact it’s something I do rather well as long as I’m pointed in the right direction.
I usually only do a few thumbnails, but the series finalehadn't aired yet and we didn't know what was going to happen in the story so I tried to keep to general themes in the series.
After settling on an idea I did a (little) tighter sketch, got the thumbs up and spent a good part of the weekend finishing this piece while watching the Breaking Bad marathon out of the corner of my eye.
I tried to touch on some of the familiar themes in the show while keeping the image simple. The blue background refers to the huge Southwestern sky, which along with the landscape is a major character in the show. The cracks and textures in the blue refer to the Heisenberg meth that Walt created. The skull is a tip of the hat to Gus as well as the many peole who died because of Walt. Wow, that is some serious fanboy thinking right there.
Thanks again to Kory Kennedy at Entertainment Weekly for the fun assignment.
It's been a rough week for Obama. I imagine he must suddenly be feeling a sense of vertigo, falling from such great heights in such a short span of time. I've been watching Hitchcock movies lately and I thought this shot of Jimmy Stewart would translate the moment well.
There have been some terrific illustrations using Hitchcock as source material. Here's Tim O'Brien's from a few years ago using the same shot from Vertigo. I think this was for Entertainment Weekly.
Here's Victor Juhasz's fantastic take on North By Northwest, with Dan Rather in the Cary Grant role, for the New York Observer. I've seen this piece a million times and I still shake my head in awe.
There was a little trend here on Drawger a few weeks ago that had artists posting their 15 biggest influences. Hitchcock would be at the top of my list, right behind Sergio Leone.Those super close up shots that seemed to last forever sort of taught me how to look at faces, searching for the smallest detail that might give some secret away. If you know me, or meet me, rest assured that as you're telling me your interesting story, I'm probably only half listening while studying your face for the real story of you.