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Der Spiegel cover 2010

JANUARY 5, 2010
At the end of the year I was asked by my friend and AD at Der Spiegel, Stefan Kiefer to do a cover.  It was their year-end issue and was for a story about  belief in God, and the Bible and Koran, and which belief is more attractive in times of the globalization. 
The idea from Stefan and the editor was Michaelangelo's creation and having the two religions finger wrestle.  I thought that it would be best to have the hand in the Adam position arched like the original.  In the end they opted for the tension of the two locked fingers pulling.  
The funny thing about this cover was sending a sketch, having Stefan say to switch positions, then to have him call back and say switch again, THEN AGAIN!
In my many years of illustration I've learned to roll with the punches.  It just has to be done.  They added a little more noise to parts in-house.  
Finally, the one error in all the shifting was the orientation  of the moon and star.  Mine were in a different angle and they spun them again.  This cover literally flipped over and over and over!

My comment is that nothing ever comes from a struggle over which belief system is better in any way.  I can't imagine a discussion of the topic would go over well in the states.

I actually painted a small painting of just the hand in green to show Stefan how it would look and photoshopped it into the painitng for another file.  I debated whether to show this here since I am positive it looks more like the original.  Looking at it now it could look like a date between a Cardinal and a Imam.  That wouldn't go over too well and I don't need to be building a safe room in my house.

; )

It's always odd to paint in the style of another aritst.  So much of what I do is intricate surface detail and I have to actually leave that stuff out as much as I can handle.

Reference is shot with a timer

Here is the first sketch.  I feared it would not look like a struggle so wanted to show another hand position.

So I tried another position and again, I think it ended up looking like a dance.

This is why we sketch, right?

Here it is in progress. I had to add that outline around the hands to mimic the line-work of the original.
A quick note of thanks to Stefan and Der Spiegel for using me so often in the past decade.  I can only hope they continue to do so in the 'terrible teens'.
The magazine loves the power of images and ideas and trusts their audience to understand the complexity of both on their covers.