It was an honor to be selected to do one of the covers for the 100th Anniversary issue of Poetry Magazine and especially to be the first one. Felix Sockwell, fellow Drawger already did a fabulous post and piece previously, so you might want to check that work out as well.
The assignment was to draw the infamous Pegasus in any way, shape or form as long as it could be overprinting the 100 design produced by the wonderful art director, Alex Knowlton of Winterhouse.
What appears to be the front door is merely a reflection of oneself and one must explore further to find the entrance.
I happened to have the good fortune of finding myself in my hometown this past fall and in the neighborhood of Poetry magazines new offices. I took a chance and gave the editor Fred Saski a call to tell him I was literally around the corner. He invited me up and after I navigated myself through the entry (The architect decided to disguise the entrance, just like a poem...when you think you clearly understand where to enter you find that you cannot and you have to search further for an entry point). Through another courtyard I found the door and Fred gave me a grand tour of their new offices and several covers highlighted in their collection including Thurber and Chicago artist,Tony Fitzpatrick's.
Particularly interesting was the famous Eric Gill cover and as you can see the two covers are very similar. My work has an affinity to wood engravings of this era, so naturally this piece was of some influence and inspiration. The sweeping fluidity of line attracted me to the original cover, but I wanted to push that idea further, adding the singular line sweeping into the entire cover (which was not in the specs for the assignment…but I got away with it).
Gill had to redo the cover per Poetry magazines request. They apparently wanted a sleeker tail but from my observation he also added more detail in the wings and then something particularly bold to his southern parts -perhaps Gills way of getting back at them for asking for the changes?
Gills first rendition of Pegasus
That second horse rendition surely has an edge now in his speed across the page!
Here is a sweet piece from 1924 and one that Fred particularly liked as well. Forgive me for not knowing the artist.
Chicago artist and poet, Tony Fitzpatrick cover from 2009
James Thurber's cover
Yesterday I received a copy of my cover, designed by Alex Knowlton as well as a beautiful folder with an embossing of my artwork, designed by Michael Renaud. They wrote, "Poetry magazine presents new work by the most recognized poets, but its primary commitment is still to discover new voices. In the words of critic Adam Kirsch "Poetry Magazine has done what long seemed impossible..it has become indispensable reading for anyone who cares about American literature". To play a small part in highlighting such a fine publication is thrilling.