Last week I got a call from the Hollywood Reporter. They were doing a special issue on Lorne Michaels and wanted a full spread illustration of him at the center of the Last Supper, with famous SNL writers and actors as his disciples. Sketch Friday, final Monday. My first reaction was, 'no way'. I didn't think I could turn it around in that time. Also, historical riffs are not what I usually do so I wasn't sure if I could pull it off. The AD at the Hollywood Reporter is Shanti Marlar, a long time friend, and I wanted to try to make this work. I decided I couldn't do a painting in that time and instead went with the idea of creating a parchment like drawing, or something that would look like a study for the Last Supper. I've never tried that before but I like the challenge of trying to figure out something new.
The first step was to draw the entire composition. I grew up looking at paintings of the Last Supper. Coming from a Catholic family, it was in most of the houses I went to when I was a kid. Still, I had to find some good reference! I had some nice Rives paper and ended up having to do the drawing over two large sheets because I needed the room to work out the likenesses. The drawing is about three and a half feet wide. As I was drawing, I thought it would be funny to add typical New York food on the table, hot dogs, pizza, bagels, etc., and a view of NYC out the window, as if they were all at a writer's meeting at Rockefeller Center.
Jimmy Fallon, Amy Poehler, Bill Murray
In order to have a bit more control over all the elements, and considering the short time frame, I decided to color the entire image digitally. This was a new thing for me. Whenever I work digitally, I usually use very flat colors. Creating a parchment background and a pastel color base took some time to figure out, but once I created some brushes it all started falling into place. I don't like using a wacom tablet, did this whole thing old school with a mouse. I scanned in some of my textures from printmaking sessions and put all the pieces together. This was fun to do and I learned a lot of new things along the way. This issue of the Hollywood Reporter will be out on Thursday, just in time for Easter!
Mike Myers, Chevy Chase, Tina Fey
Lorne Michaels, Will Ferrell, Conan O'Brien, Adam Sandler
Tomorrow, April 20th, I'll be giving a lecture at Brown University in Providence. Students from Rhode Island School of Design are also welcomed to attend. Petteruti Lounge at Brown, 5-7pm, free, catered reception to follow. I'll be signing books and posters and showing some original art as well.
I got an assignment from Reader's Digest to do a full page illustration for the print edition and a short animation for their iPad edition. The story is titled "What I Learned from Losing It", written by an author who lost her life savings during the Bernie Madoff scandal, but found that she gained many things by going through the intense pain. She is now trying to help victims overcome similar adversity. I worked on a number of sketches, which I've included below. I go into the thinking process as I would any other assignment, but the one thing I do end up thinking about when an image is to be animated is what kind of movement could happen. This was a very short animation that appears when the reader selects the story. I could envision some movement in the sketches below, such as trees or flowers growing, things breaking apart and coming together, etc. Thanks to Marti Golon for the assignment and to Franzisca Barczyk for working on the animation for me.