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Dale Stephanos
Exit 2013 Washington Post Magazine
posted:
2013 was quite a year, wasn't it? Personally it was a very good year for me in many respects. I won't go all internet brag over it, but I acheived some things outside of my professional life that I'm quite proud of. For many though, it was a year of loss, upheaval, shifting ground and shaken foundations. I hope those of you I call friends made it through relatively intact with health and humor.
 
This was a fun and challenging year end assignment from Beth Broadwater at the Washington Post Magazine. I was already swamped with work when she reached out to check on my availability to do a cover, spread and a handful of spots. At first I thought I couldn't fit all that in with the time allowed, but after seeing some of the names - Rob Ford! Anthony Weiner!! Miley Cyrus!!! - I remembered that this was exactly the kind of assignment that I'd see illustrators like Steve Brodner, C.F. Payne, Drew Friedman, Victor Juhasz pull off that made me want to get into this business. By the way, those names there? The exact opposite of a 25 under 25 type of list. It's more like 5 badasses over 50 who will still be killing it in 25 years. 
 
What was I saying?
 
Oh, this was a fun job. Dave Barry's Year in Review. He starts the peice out with a paragraph on how this was the year of, not the Comeback, but the Zombie. When I began sketches Barry hadn't submitted much more than the first couple of paragraphs, so I thought it would be all Zombie Apocalypse. I threw together a couple of roughs for the cover based on that direction.
Beth got back to me saying that the piece left the Zombie theme after the introduction so I'd have to come up with something else for the cover idea. Having not much more to go on, I was momentarily stumped. So I went for a run to clear out my head. At some point when I run these days, my mind always drifts back to what happened ten minutes after I crossed the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. The hugs from my family after I crossed the finish line, followed almost immediately by the loud thud and thick thump you could feel in your chest, the sudden hush falling over the crowd, the quiet anxiety of several hundred fellow finishers walking, limping, staggering as best they could through the corral set up to contain the flow of humanity that came out to celebrate the day's acheivement. I thought how happy I was to have all that ugliness in the rear view mirror and eager to look ahead to new goals, new items to happily check off the list. Then it hit me - "Ugliness in the rear view mirror". Perfect idea for the theme of the Dave Barry piece. I picked up my pace, got home, scribbled a sketch and sent it out. Beth gave me the thumbs up and I was happily drawing away in to the future. A happy ending to a year that had some very ugly scenes.
 
 
And how about those Red Sox!
Here's the art for the opening spread below. It looks much better in the layout than all by itself. Lots of work, but zombification makes it easier to smile while digging these ditches.
Thanks again to Beth Broadwater at the Washington Post.


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Stephanos is teaching at TutorMill, an online mentoring site for students of illustration!