Brian Stauffer
February 2010
New Yorker Cover No.2
It's been over a year since my first cover of The New Yorker.  I was beginning to think that it might be my last.  Luckily, and yes I do think luck plays a major role in landing one of these babies, the stars aligned once again.

I got the idea for this image when the whole family was up in NYC for the SI 52 Editorial opening.  The kids were pumped because the weather folks were predicting a major snow storm for the city.  Of course the snow never came (until we were back in Miami), and the kids said it was my fault.  But all the talk of snow reminded me of when Alina and I were living in Westport, Connecticut and our dog Chip was just a pup.  I told the boys about a time that I took Chip for a walk in the middle of a blizzard.  The snow was so deep that he could barely keep his nose above it.  I still miss that little dude.  The female figure in the piece was inspired by my wife, Alina, who loves the city like no one else I know.  Whenever we come up, we always make time for long walk through Central Park.

When I got back to Miami, I sketched this idea up real quick, laying some flat and textured colors into the pencil drawing.  I sent it off, like dozens of others, expecting to get the always polite, "not right for this week".  A day went by and I'd not heard anything back so I decided to play the image out and send that along as well.  To my surprise, Francoise preferred the simplicity of the sketch and decided to run it as-is. 

I've done a few posts over the past year talking about getting more line work into my images, and I'm sure you'll notice the similarity in style to the recent Boston Globe cover.  I'm really enjoying the line work but will continue to find ways to bring it together with my first love - collage.

Thanks to Francoise Mouly and Emily Kan at The New Yorker!
ps-  You can buy a framed archival print of this cover and others at The New Yorker Store.  Do it! The kids need new shoes!
Detail of the published drawing
Detail of the fully rendered figure.
Soulpepper Theatre pt2
Over the weekend Canada's National Post ran nice story on how the Soulpepper Theatre has defined itself and it's productions through illustration. (article here)

"Judging a book by its cover can be important," Lester says. "With a poster that's defining a classic play, people recognize the names, but in order to be evocative of what direction [the play] is going to take, I feel like the poster art or the visual identity is helping with that. It kind of creates another perspective. A contemporary layer." - Leslie Lester, Executive Director

"What Soulpepper does is pretty unique," says Edel Rodriguez, illustrator for the company in 2008. "It should be part of what everybody does in theatre. If you're going to support the arts, go for it all the way. It makes your theatre stand out, but some people don't get that."

"[Soulpepper] comes off as being atypical of the work experience with clients," says Brian Stauffer, this year's artist, on the phone from Miami. "They say, ‘Look, we're treating our audiences like morons by not expecting that they're going to want to see some brilliant, innovative, thoughtful stuff.' These guys are putting a lot of time and effort and blood and sweat into putting these productions together. To not represent it in an equally creative way, it just feels like a missed opportunity."
Above is another in the 2010 season series for the play entitled, "What The Butler Saw."  The play originally opened in London's Queen's Theater in 1969 to much controversy and acclaim.  Consisting of two acts, the scene is the office of a sexually perverse psychiatrist who basically tries to seduce almost anyone who walks into his office.  That's over simplifying it quite a bit but basically it's a farcical comedy about sexual encounters and acquaintances colliding to break down social conventions.

Thanks again to Anthony Swaneveld, the Art Director-Designer at Sandwich Creative who's collaborative spirit made this series possible.  Thanks also to MArk Medley at the National Post, and Leslie Lestor and the fine folks of Soulpepper Theatre.  Their desire to stand-out beyond the pack says so much about the value they place on the productions they bring to life.
The sketches: the good, the awful, and the so-so. The problem for me was that the sketch that we went with was actually my first idea. I fell in love with it and had a hard time opening my mind to other possibilities (not a good role model for the students out there).
A tighter sketch, just before going to a final drawing and collage.
Final image
Detail of final showing line drawing collaged with scans of various body part textures. Stocking is from an iPhone snapshot of a nearby chain link fence.
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Stauffer is teaching at TutorMill, an online mentoring site for students of illustration!