Usually silence means I'm busy meeting deadlines etc. I had a bunch this past month. My job for National Geographic for Kids became more demanding in Feb. I didn't do my News Letter that you can sign up for if you want to get things I don't post here. The covers for The Week Magazine have been more challenging since they don't want the exaggeration they originally hired me to do. It was a slow transformation over a number of years. I'm starting to treat them more like a comic book illustration. They still like something dynamic but more based in natural proportions etc.
I've always liked the grace of some of the animations I occasionally see. I follow a few animators on Instagram and it's so simple looking. I know that's the trick, it appears simple but it's not easy to do. Throwing abandon to the coffee spirits, I began toying around with the style in my sketchpad at a cool little coffee shop on West Broadway and Canal St on the edge of SoHo. They don't have a bathroom for customers so I never stay for more than one cup of coffee! It's small and intimate and I always hear interesting conversations when I'm there.
I started with a circle or oval for the head. That is all I got. I have no philosophy or direction behind it other than trying to be aware that I'm not breaking the spaces up too evenly. I never took a class on it, but I know what I like when I see it.
It's OK that it's Monday again, that just means we get another week to do our thing! Today I share with you the story of the cover I painted for The Week Magazine last week. It came out Friday, July 17th.
Cover meeting at The Week. Iranian nuke deal. The editors ask for John Kerry and Hassan Rouhani as cooks in a very used looking kitchen. The first thought that came to my mind was what a mess my own kitchen usually is. Then all the opportunities for symbols and metaphor. I wasn't trying to hide anything the editors didn't want so I put them all out there. I put a half chopped carrot on the floor as in "dangling a carrot in front of a horse" type of idea. Of course, who was the horse in this scenario?
I made a clear indication of a two headed chicken which for me referred to nuclear energy like the three eyed fish in the Simpson's cartoons that live too close to the nuclear plant. I had a cleaver stuck in to that. They told me one head was good enough. HA! I didn't think they'd let that one in but it doesn't hurt to try. If I don't try to be creative and try for the unorthodox I'll get boring. Boring is bad. I thought the cleaver stuck in the chicken would have been too much for them but they let that go. I had to do an image of Assad with dead bodies behind him for another cover and I made them bloody and they let that go too. I guess implied violence is OK but not silly. But Kerry and Rouhani as chefs in a dirty kitchen is pretty goofy as well.
So these are just my 1st thoughts upon returning to the states. First: WOW! Second: What a great time I had in Angouleme, France. Marie Claude was the resident we stayed with in the town. Angouleme has very few hotels so many residents rent out spare rooms to people. This was the 3rd time I stayed in her place. She is so extremely helpful and nice. One night she just appeared with her car to take us back from the convention to the grocery store and then her place where we had a fantastic French meal. Steve Ellis had tweaked his foot earlier on an uneven part of the road we were walking on. Over the course of the day his foot was starting to really bother him. Jeff, one of the guys in our group who was a natural guide to everything in France, realized Steve probably shouldn't be walking around endlessly as we tend to do in Angouleme and should stay put in one place to recover. Steve really didn't want to but after thinking is over a minute, agreed. Marie Claude pulled out her cheese melting contraption that she had never used and we put it through the ringer! Steve, Jeff, Marie Claude and I had the most amazing dinner with French cheese, meats, breads, and wine. The rest of our group that went on to a restaurant without us arrived as we were eating some nice desserts and the night became a nice little party with friends and drinking.
Le Baron He even has his own Facebook page!