Obama's New War on Medical Marijuana
The advance copy , along with some loose guidance from the editors, seemed to indicate to me that we could have a lot of fun making this illustration echo great pulp fiction art. There are any number of books on the topic and Google is chock full of pulp magazine and comic cover images. G-men were a particular favorite so enough good reference was compiled to get the clothing, props and colors as right as could be. The Society of Illustrators last here had an outstanding exhibit of pulp art and it was quite an experience to see these no holds bar paintings up close. The bravura gestures, application of brushwork, and color choices so made these images such great fun to view and learn from.
I definitely did not want to use pen and ink for this assignment, chosing instead some thicker lined pencil work colored over with watercolors and gouache. I worked up a couple ideas that played with a drug bust theme and with a more symbolic confrontation between the feds and the pot itself. The final decision to go with and focus on the difference in scale between the President and the G-men vs the tiny ubiquitous pharm perscription bottle containing a Charlie Brown Christmas tree like pot plant was a good one. All that was required was to keep the image fun and somewhat garrish and over dramatic. There's also an affectionate nod here to the great Kurtzman/Elder team of the early MAD Magazine days in the way I approached the faces and bodies.
Once again, thanks to the folks at RS, in particular my point man, Steve Charny.