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Bill Mayer
The Party's Over, Mother Jones
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Such a treat working with Tim Luddy. Always great to get a chance to do a cover for Mother Jones. This was pretty much Tim’s idea from the beginning. Well, it started out as a mosquito but changed to a “Gator.” I am guessing because it would be quickly identifiable as “Florida.” The headline was “The Party’s Over. How will the Tea Party treat you in the morning?” God, such a classic idea. Tim wants an alligator hung over as though he has just woken up from being violated… Too funny. He tells me Tim O’Brien is working on an alternate version for the subscriber edition; this one is for the newsstand. Geez, lots of extra pressure to make this look extra good…
Here are the thumbnails, silly as they are. Tried several poses, upside down, in the cup, tea cup bra ...Just trying to find the right pose...
the final sketch....decided to put him on a huge pile of cups to reinforce the overdose...
I had told Tim we were headed up to the mountains for my brother Bob’s Birthday, so I could get the sketches done before I leave, finish up when we return. Thumbnails pretty much like normal, try a few poses. They feel that it reads quicker with the gator sitting right side up… so we move on to the sketch the next morning. The weather is looking threatening, forecasting snow in the mountains so mountain roads may get impassible. I pack the pads and scanner in the car. We arrive in the mountains at dusk, I do one final revise sketch and send it off to Tim.  He wants to tweak the expression and give a defined edge to the bottom of the pile. We wake to a beautiful morning, fresh snow all over the grounds. Adrian, Jen, Max, Ava, and Chuckles, All stuck on the highway down from Washington- Four hour stand still delay. They have spent the night on the road. I wake early and go for a hike. Beautiful Mountain View…We have a wonderful weekend; great food, Kamikaze sledding… (I forgot how much work it is climbing back up the hill …)
The farm road early morning...everyone else still asleep (except the cows) so quiet.... I could totally get used to this.
the revised sketch adding definition to the bottom of the pile and trying to get the expression right... Hooked up the scanner and sent it out ...wait for feed back.
We hit the hill for some all out Kamikaze sledding on a half sled (It broke in half after the third time down the hill)
Here is the airbrush drawing before Photoshop. I ended up lightening the eyes once I got it on the "Mother Jones" classic yellow ....
The Photoshop working file ...Lots of layers lots of little details, lots of cups of tea....blood shot eyes... texture to make it look dirty...
Tim wanted a copy without the background to use as a spot... shows the dirt a little better....
We leave a little early Sunday. After the drive I head into the studio to get ahead on the drawing. I have a portrait for SooJin right after this one and another little spot for D-Magazine. The airbrushed little gator goes pretty fast. I decided to shoot the teacups and Pots. I borrowed a little toy set from Lee. Forest and I set up a little photo shoot. I put them together in a huge pile, paint over them, add lipstick and tea stains. All in all it is still looking a bit too polished so I dirtied it up with some scanned in sponge texture.
the final illustration. Lots of room for type... Always looks a bit odd but I like how this one turned out. Much fun.
Much thanks Tim, for letting me have this much fun drawing, sledding, hiking and getting paid for it too. Happy Birthday bother Bob. 
Headline ended up being changed to "What's it like to wake up from a tea party binge? Just ask Florida!" All images © Bill Mayer 2013
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