Sometimes, you just have to get things wrong before you get them right. Such was the case with a cover of New Jersey Monthly for the very kind and understanding Laura Baer. I started out sketching a bunch of tired dentist clichés. We narrowed them down to one with an awards plaque. I went right to the computer, which is my usual process after one of my incomprehensible scribbles is chosen but, ended up with something I wasn't sure I could save in the finish.
Fortunately, a wise editor noted the "awards plaque" looked too much like a law enforcement badge. I was actually relieved to have another chance at solving this cover and when Laura pointed to one I did a few years' back for another magazine, the course was clear. Although I did have a concern about copying another piece of art, I rationalized, if you're going to rip someone off, make it someone you really admire.
I went immediately to the most obvious images I could think of that related to dentistry i.e. toothpaste lettering, a bottle of mouthwash etc. When the plaque idea was chosen, I struggled with it, going as far as to do a in-between sketch in pencil but still, ended up with a tight sketch I wasn't sure I could salvage.
The cover Laura suggested was done for a completely different subject but, the geometric design was adaptable to nearly any headline so, we went with the decorative rather than symbolic. Hey, whatever works.
There was really no need to go to rough sketches again so I just wrangled the copy into a similar composition with the kind assistance of Adobe Illustrator's 3D effect. The image on the left shows the outline mode and, although the 3D effect has already been applied, it doesn't show up until you view it in preview mode.