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Reader's Digest

"What we have here is a failure to communicate" - One person says one thing, and the other hears something quite different.
A few months ago, Hannu Laaksu, Design Director at The Reader's Digest contacted my super secret digital alias, Leo Acadia, to see if I... he... was interested in doing some regular work for them. Throughout the magazine, there are what they call 'fillers' - very short anecdotal stories - usually humorous - and grouped together loosely by subject matter. These are sometimes tricky things to illustrate in a clear and simple way - and hopefully with a secondary concept... where the visual appears to be one thing - but on second observation, there might be more there.
Mary's House and Home for those in need...."provides transitional and permanent housing for mothers in recovery from addiction and their children".
"American Idle"...
A grocery store in Sonoma Valley posts signs describing fruit: "Cherries - Pleasant aroma of Merlot with hints of Cabernet".
These fillers are popular with their readership - and have been part of the magazine for some time. Over the past 10 years, James McMullan had done over 800 of these illustrations, and more recently with a re-design, Beppe Giacobe (Italy) had done some as well. The magazine usually runs between four to six (sometimes more) fillers per issue -
A wedding announcement in a local paper reads: Mr. Hardy to wed Ms. Harr.
Caution: Stupid Warning Labels...
Some roughs....
While the final illustrations print small - roughly the size of postage stamps - it is a lot of work sketching ideas out - But I really enjoy the process of working on these sometimes rather elusive concepts. It's almost like solving a puzzle - there's a concept in there somewhere....
This is roughly the size they appear in print... (if I sized these right...)