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.
This is the current Bum Steers edition of Texas Monthly. I was honored to be asked back this year by art director T. J. Tucker after doing last year’s Bum Steers cover portrait, Texas governor Rick Perry. Lance Armstrong was the clear winner of this year’s “Texan Who Destroyed His Legacy” sweepstakes, so he has the spotlight. The honorable mentions are:
Glenn Beck and his latest art project. Mr. Beck turned up his crazy to 11 in a desperate attempt for attention with his take on Andre Serrano’s Piss Christ, filling a mason jar with his very own pee and a submerged Obama bobble head. Nice.
Then there’s poor Randy Travis who got drunk, got naked, and got caught by the police. Hey, he’ll look back and laugh. Probably because of all the money he’ll make with his forthcoming hit country song “I may drunk and nude, but at least I ain’t with you”. We originally had Randy more, er, exposed, standing proud in all that God gave him. But the editors wisely observed that we are dealing with possible mental illness, so simply implying a birthday suit would be enough. Good thing because my only option for reference material was myself, and nobody wants to see a naked illustrator. Trust me.
Snoop Dog made the cut for...um..hell he’s Snoop Dog! He should know not to roll like that in the Lone Star State. Who does he think he is, Willie Nelson?
Sshh....Don’t wake Josh Hamilton. He’s slumpering. Really though, I fear for Josh. I’m wondering if his born again self will be able to withstand the temptations of Los Angeles, where sinnin' is how you get ahead.
Not to be forgotten is last year’s cover boy Texas Governor Rick Perry. Now that he’s safely detained in Texas the rest of the country can find him amusing again. What’s that Rick? The teachers should be armed? Oh, you're so cute. Come here, I’m going to give you a noogie.
Oh, look! There's Gary Taxali back there. Man, that guy knows everyone.
And finally the star of the show, Lance Armstrong. World Champion, National Champion, 7 time Tour de France winner, cancer survivor, founder of Livestrong which has helped those afflicted with cancer (including my mother) in more ways than simply raising money for research. Lance was a true American Hero. His story put him more in line with the mythic tales of Paul Bunyan, or John Henry. He became the rare athlete who transcended his physical accomplishments to become a kind of spiritual token for those with cancer looking for a way to believe there's a path back to a normal life.
And then, the inevitable crash of reality. The string of rumors that stuck to his cycling cleats eventually pulled the fabric of his legend apart and we were left with nothing more than what appeared to be a just another greedy, lying,intimidating bully who didn’t care what or who stood in the way of him getting his. Truly heartbreaking for those who wanted to believe that he could be a clean champion in a dark age of doping.
But hey, it makes for a fun picture!
Lance's facial expression was tricky. Too excited and he'd look like a lunatic. Too happy and he'd look like he got away with something ( He did of course, but only for a while).
At one point I flew the idea of Lance being shirtless - he's been stripped of all the Tour de France yellow jerseys he won - and having him with the classic cyclist's tan. No dice. As usual my wife and kids were put to good use as models ( I didn't tell them that their big moment would be obscured by the barcode/mailing label in print) as well as many of my friends here at Drawger. At one point the crowd at the bottom was supposed to be just generic without well known faces. I thought it would be fun to put some friends in there. I think doing this demonstrated that I was up for the challenge of many likenesses so the request for the other Bum Steer nominees was put forth. Yay.
In the great minds think alike department: I had just sent the final and breathed a sigh of relief. T.J. sent a message back with the title "You gotta be kidding me". My heart sank. There was a link. I clicked it. Lo and behold the current issue of MAD magazine.
Thanks again to T.J. Tucker for the fun job. I feel like this is the kind of work I’m naturally inclined to do. I feel like a bird just whistling it’s tune when I do this sort of thing.
My first real client as a freelancer was the Boston Phoenix. It was 1992 (I think) and I had been working for the Boston Herald for a few years doing editorial cartoons and the occasional op-ed illustration. I heard somwhere that a good way to get work was to take a story that had been printed with photographs and do an illustration showing how you would have approached the problem. Well, it worked and the Phoenix provided lots of fast turnaround jobs over the years. They recently did a full redesign from a newspaper format to a glossy magazine. Big improvement.
This was for an interview with Morrissey - the singer for The Smiths. He comes across as aloof and rather full of himself, so we thought the idea of playing off the McKayla Maroney meme would be amusing. She was the silver medal winning gymnast in the olympics who seemed quite ticked off that she could only pull off a second place. Keven Banks and Kristen Goodfriend art directed.
It feels like bandwagon jumping, posting my cover illustration for this month's Mother Jones, but it's really just serendipity that I can hang on to MJ's coattails while they do a victory lap. When Tim Luddy called me in August to commission this cover (as I was packing the car for a vacation) the issue was about the financial underdogs fighting back against monied interests. Who knew that the most viscious uppercut against the GOP's hopes to regain the oval office would come from none other than Mitt Romney himself. Just when I say I hate politics, throw my hands in the air and begin to walk away, great entertainers like Mitt Romney come along and I slowly lower myself back into the chair and lean forward smiling. What will he do next? I can't wait to find out.
After Tim and I talked through what needed to be done he sent me the above image as an example of where they wanted the cover to go. We agreed that this image was a bit too gruesome, but liked the spirit of it. By the way, this Bloomberg Businessweek cover never ran, but it's far more well known than the one that did.
As always, thanks to Tim Luddy and the staff at Mother Jones.