I have an adventure planned. All I'll say for now is it's a mural for charity in another country. Very exciting! As a young guy in college I had the attitude that an artist should be open to all possibilities to experience life. My art was only part of that lie. I didn't focus on one technique, I was open to all of them. Or at least tried to be. I like different things about different medium and some times the idea will dictate what media needs to be used. I use very small watercolor brushes when I paint in gouache. When I paint a mural on the wall I'm planning, I'll be using sponges, rollers, and brushes. My style approach will be affected as well.
Playing around with a new surface to paint on with gouache. My friend Travis Louie gave me some scraps of hotpress illustration board to try out last time I visited him. His studio looks like an art store as it doubles as his supply closet as well. Very similar to my own! I find so much inspiration from my friends. Sometimes just seeing something they posted on Face Book or their blog is more than enough to light a fire under my ass! I'm still struggling with this paper but I see a lot of potential. This is still not finished yet. My plan is to see how much "polish" I can do on this so I know what I'll be able to do with it in the future.
This is the story for the latest cover for The Week Magazine.
Hillary Clinton is a difficult politician to do a caricature portrait. There are several reasons. She is a controversial figure. People seem to either hate her with incredible passion or love her with about the same passion. I am finally seeing her in the "Politician" category. I had her pigeonholed as President Bill Clinton's wife for years. I was indifferent to her before when she was just President Clinton's wife. Then she started moving in as this entitled person when she jumped in as a senator of NY. Then dropped out and became President Obama's Secretary of State. And now there are no clear standout leaders to oppose her being the Democratic nominee for President next year. As soon as she decided to run for the senate everyone knew her real ambition was to eventually run for president. That's when I became unhappy with her. I guess it's the 1776 revolutionary spirit I didn't know I had in me that doesn't like kings and queens and dynasties. I didn't like the Bushes and I'm not going to like the Clintons. The dilemma I see forming is Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. Both running on elitist entitlement. I'm so happy to be a caricaturist so I can make fun of both sides. At least I have that.
The Week editorial staff prefers to treat Mrs Clinton respectfully, so when they ask me to illustrate her, they don't want the cruelest caricature ever done. I don't see caricature as being cruel, but if you exaggerate honestly, those can be the most biting images. There are multiple audiences and depending on which one you are in, this will color your opinion of the caricature. To play it safe, The Week prefers less exaggeration. So I don't exaggerate much, but the tricky part is that Mrs Clinton is a close to 70 year old woman. She has some wrinkles and wear and tear on her face. I need those wrinkles to make it look like her. Sometimes I have to tone them down and I get feedback from people who thought I was too nice to her and others say I was very respectful. This time they just said make it look like her and they recognized she wasn't going to look like some Hollywood starlet in her early 20's. This was awesome, because When I second guess myself while working, the results are never satisfying. Usually just for me though.
First sketch. Photo Shop over a pencil drawing I scanned. This is the sketch they look at to see if everything is going where they want.
In the previous sketch I was trying to not make the shoes too dark so I thought, "why not match the balance bar with the shoes? Lipstick, bar and shoes all match!" They didn't like the red shoes. In my head I had the line from a David Bowie song from Let's Dance "Put on your red shoes and dance the blues".
All finished. Blue suit was their request. The back ground I kept loose and somewhat painterly. Softened the clouds and mountains in PS and a few distracting paint marks on her face.
I hadn't rid my mind of Mrs Clinton's face even after the job so I did a little doodling in my sketch pad with ink and gouache.
Good characters to paint this time. I couldn’t go crazy on the caricatures of course, but was still doing some exaggeration. As it turned out, this was a beast to do. As you can see through the approval process things seemed to go smoothly until I turned in the final somewhere around five in the morning. I got a call from the editor asking for some changes as delicately as possible. My depiction of surgery was about to get some surgery.