Archive for June, 2011
I read Paul Auster’s City of Glass on my home from Alaska last month and was struck by all of the different elements he writes about like mysticism, the nature of fiction and fluidity of identity. One of the most stimulating passages is when the main character, under the guise of a hard private detective, enters the home of his mysterious client. The book really starts here for me, feeling like the protagonist was entering a new world that he himself was not a part of.
I hope to flesh this out into a full piece soon.
Weeks ago I got a request for sketches from Ioana Veleanu at the Philadelphia Weekly. The topic dealt with empty churches in Philadelphia and the hole they leave in the communities. Ioana generally comes to me with a very specific idea in hand and this time around she was adamant that the illustration feature a priest with his hand out, begging. I gave her what she asked for with some elements that I hoped would make the piece more interesting to me personally. Side note, that first sketch has a wireframe idea that I’ve pitched time and again hoping to get someone to bite but it never seems to work – I’ll use you someday wireframe device! –and this time was no different.
Ioana liked the begging stained glass Jesus figure, but thought it was too “controversial” and might offend people so she wanted all of the color to be extremely bright and colorful. To me this seemed counter to the message of not only the illustration but the article itself, but I obliged. It was killed at the color sketch phase, and so it goes. I hate having it happen, especially when it’s a color sketch. There’s definitely a part of my ego that loves walking around Philadelphia and seeing my illustration on the cover of the PW for a week.
I’m finalizing the design of my next promotional card and wanted to include a small spot illustration in black and white. It will go over the contact information and be a bit rougher than the cover illustration. I’m between two options right now, so you’ll have to wait and see what runs in the final.
I’ve heard/read other illustrators talk about how vacations seem to trigger work and my last 2 weeks proved this true. Days before I left I was finishing up projects so nothing would be hanging over me while I was in Alask, then I get an email from Carolyn Fath from Madison’s The Isthmus. She was asking about a cover job, which is always really exciting, dealing with those people who will be most affected by new legislation regarding welfare and medical expenses. I only had about 3 days from sketch to finish so I got to work.
The title dealt with the term “shredded safety net,” and I guess in an attempt to look less obvious I avoided the net imagery at all cost in my first batch of sketches. Carolyn came back asking for some options dealing with the net, which actually yielded ideas I liked a lot better than the original sketch.
We chose the sketch of the falling figure but removed the hands. Carolyn came back and suggested a disintegrating net patter/texture in the background which was a neat concept we ran with.
And here’s the final! There was a some last minute revising I had to do at a coffee place in the Philadelphia Airport, a little bit of anxious refreshing of the email waiting for final approval, but we got it done before I lost all contact with the outside world. All in all this was one of the more collaborative experiences that I’ve had with an art director. There was a great back and forth at every step of the illustration process that enhanced the image and, in the end, resulted in one of my recent favorite jobs.