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Mark Ulriksen
How I Spent Election Day (and the day after)
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On election day last week I received an email from Francoise Mouly at the New Yorker asking me to submit as many ideas as I could come up with throughout the day about the race for president, not knowing who would win. That meant having to consider the possibility of a Romeny-Ryan ticket as a possibility for the first time. Previously I had avoided even contemplating it. Too scary.
At this stage my sketches are extremely rough. And simple. If I landed the cover I would have to paint it in a day.

Whoever wins would eventually have to address the upcoming "fiscal cliff".

Remember, one of Romney's proposals was to eliminate funding for PBS.

And if Romney won then say goodbye to Big Bird.

Whoever wins has a rather large burden to deal with and much to balance.

I figured that the face of the NYer, Eustace Tilley, might shed a tear should the Republican's prevail.

I thought I should address just how burned out the electorate is over the endless election cycle of American politics.

With America so divided I thought I should show how the eventual results might be interpreted by all.

Just in case the pundits were wrong and Obama were to win easily.

Heard on the news that certain Manhattan buildings would be lit up according to the winning side, either red or blue.

At this point the results were in, I was at friends- eating, drinking and sketching.

Whenever a political party losses its supporters always talk about heading for the borders.

When Obama won four years ago NYer artist Bob Staake did an incredible cover of the Lincoln Memorial and I thought I could reprise that setting.

I got my first feedback from the NYer the next morning and Francoise liked the Big Bird scenario and wanted me to explore settings for this option.

I love the color possibilities of the yellow bird against the green lawn.

This was my personal favorite for the cover, but I don't make that call.

Around 11 AM on Wednesday I was happily informed I had the cover. The magazine opted for the simple image of the Empire State Building, lit in blue. Not my favorite choice because I would have preferred something more conceptual but who's complaining. I explored some background treatments. We discussed the notion of a "new dawn".

Art director Mouly thought a starker night time sky was necessary to bring out the blue of the buildings top floors. We eventually settled on a dark reddish background color.


The finished gouache painting. I wasn't sure if the colors worked and asked Francoise to do whatever she wanted color-wise to make this work.

The cover, out today. Francoise made the background blue, darkened some of the sky and straightened out my building, all for the better. Rhapsody in Blue.



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