Doing What You Love
This is a promo piece I did for a directory page awhile back. I was filling my sketchbook with ideas, and this guy appealed to me. He's doing what I hope to be doing at his age: playing a high-class gig on his exotic vintage guitar in coat and tails—and presumably getting paid at union scale. It's in pen and ink, which I used to do a lot of because it was fast.
But you never know in this business what effect your illustration will have on people, including art directors. You get some interesting responses. In this case I got a call from the then art director of the L.A. Times Book Review. He says, Rob, love your guitar-playing gentleman...know what it makes me think of?
Rob: No, what?
AD: Are you familiar with the work of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, of the sinous brush-line and poster work? That guitar cable and the contours of your guitar player convey a Lautrec-feel to me. Would you be interested in doing a cover for the Book Review, in a T-Lautrec style?
Rob: (What th'...T-Lautrec???) Uh, sure, love to...
So I changed over to a new style overnight, adopting every stylistic affectation I could from the little dead Frenchman, who by the way was one of my alltime heros and an avid drinker of absinthe (back when absinthe was really good). What the hell, I think—I'll go for it. Illustration makeover time! Thus did I depart from pen and ink forever to pursue the joys of pure brush illustration and study up on the work of T-L man.
Moral: Do what you love to do....for whatever reason. I've heard famous people say that, and it sounds good to me.