Edel Rodriguez
February 2008
New Yorker Notes
A couple of recent things related to The New Yorker.  Above is an image I did for a review of the film Jumper, starring Samuel Jackson and Hayden Christensen, which was published in The New Yorker this past week.  The review ended up absolutely panning the film.  I usually don't read the reviews for these beforehand because they are not written by the time I start working on the assignment, I just work from reference and by looking at the film's website.
I was on 60 Minutes—for three seconds!   While I was down in Miami, I got a call from a producer at 60 Minutes.  They wanted to run one of my recent New Yorker illustrations with a profile they were doing of Gustavo Dudamel, a Venezuelan composer—and they were paying!  $250 bucks for three seconds.  That's $83.33 a second, the closest I'll ever get to a Major League baseball salary.  Anyways it was cool to be on 60 minutes for a brief moment. 
The Dudamel interview is excellent and a lot of fun.  Please check out the video link below if you're interested in learning more about him,—and turn up the volume.  At 26 years old, he will be conducting the L.A. Philharmonic soon.  At precisely 3 minutes and 30 seconds  into the piece my image appears until precisely the 3 minute and 33 second mark.  Do not blink.
Gustavo Dudamel, published in The New Yorker weeks ago
'As You Like It', by William Shakespeare, poster for Soulpepper Theater
Acrylic and ink on paper, 15" x 15"
"An evil duke. A motley Fool. A gaggle of country bumpkins.  A melancholy philosopher.  A girl, pretending to be a boy, pretending to be a girl in order to woo a boy.  All the world is a stage, and in this play the stage is crowded with love and laughter and a delicious cast of players."

This is the short description of "As You Like It" by Shakespeare, and this is the painting I came up with for the poster.   The play runs at Soulpepper Theater in Toronto from February 27 to April 19. 
The play is very complex so I went through a lot of thumbnails trying to find an iconic image that would work for the poster.  I kept going back to a scene in the play where a character that kills a deer wears the skin and horns over his head.  I tried some things in the thumbnails with a harlequin, but the deer image won out in my mind.  Long live the deer!
Here are a bunch of thumbnails I quickly jotted down as things popped into my head while I read the play.  Here's the part of the play I kept coming back to:

Jacques: Which is he that killed the deer?
First Lord: Sir, it was I.
Jacques: Let's present him to the duke like a Roman conqueror. And it would do well to set the deer's horns upon his head for a branch of victory.—Have you no song, forester, for this purpose?
Second Lord: Yes, sir.
Jacques: Sing it. 'Tis no matter how it be in tune, so it make noise enough.
Second Lord (sings)
What shall he have that killed the deer?
His leather skin and horns to wear.
Then sing him home.
(The rest shall bear this burden.)
Take thou no scorn to wear the horn.
It was a crest ere thou wast born.
Thy father's father wore it,
And thy father bore it.
The horn, the horn, the lusty horn
Is not a thing to laugh to scorn.
Pencil on Paper, 15" x 15"
A lot of times I do these fairly academic drawings and studies so I can figure out the composition and details before going to final.
This extreme detail is for Blitt.
Final Poster, 18" x 24", offset lithograph
Recent work for The New York Times Book Review
These are a couple of recent illustrations for the NY Times Book Review.  Above is a portrait of the author Pat Barker, accompanying a review of her latest book.
Below is an image for a review of a book titled "Resistance".  The book's story creates an alternative history in which the Nazis successfully invade Britain.  I've been experimenting with working outside of the studio and was able to do that with this assignment.  I took the job while I was down in Miami, did my sketches, photographed them with my digital camera, and e-mailed them from there.  I did the final, finished it on my laptop, and sent it via a dial-up connection of all things.  It's great to know that I can go and spend some extended time with my family and continue working.  This is one of the things I look forward to now that I'm freelancing full time.
Sketches for 'Resistance'
Society of Illustrators Book and Editorial Exhibition
"Eagle vs. Shark", a film, for The New Yorker
These are a couple of my images which were selected for the 50th Society of Illustrators Book and Editorial Exhibition.  The show opens tomorrow, Friday, February 22, 6-9pm.  128 East 63 Street, NYC.  More info on the show here.
"The Surrender Tree, poems of Cuba's struggle for freedom", a book cover for Henry Holt and Co.
80 Degrees in February
I was down in Florida for the last week and a half, visiting family and friends.  Got to spend some time with my old friend Brian Stauffer and his wife Alina, rode the truck with my dad, took in enough wildlife to last me for the year, and was updated on the latest wacky happenings in my large extended family.  Oh, and I was able to get Castro to give up his 49 year reign of power.  Not a bad vacation.
Florida is an odd place.  I usually take a break from drawing when I go down there and work on my photographs instead.  Some of the material may find its way into my drawings or paintings at some point.
I've added some new photos from the recent trip to the Sunshine State gallery, starting here.   All the photos in the gallery can be seen here.
'The Odd Couple', poster for Soulpepper Theater
Acrylic and oil-based ink on bark paper, 15" x 15"
This is part of the series of posters for Soulpepper theater in Toronto.  'The Odd Couple', by Neil Simon, performances begin on February 11th.
Some sketches below show people or personalities, but in the end I felt that the characters of Felix and Oscar are so well known, that a better way to go was to stay away from depicting faces.  Focusing on their shoes seemed to tell the story in a different way.
This is the final poster.  A description of the play:
"When fastidious Felix is kicked out of his house he lands at the apartment of his chaotic chum Oscar. The result is a legendary comedic masterpiece about the frustrations of friendship, the insecurities of middle-age, and the explosion of opposites.  As tender as it is hilarious, The Odd Couple is theatrical comedy at its most brilliant."
Very rough thumbnails, selections highlighted.
Too loud?
sketch: More of the room.
Sketch: Added frames
Sketch: Profiles out of the negative space.
Sketch: Heart in the negative space?
Sketch: Combo of previous stuff.
Sketch: I kind of liked this one, done over graph paper
Very rough final color sketch.
SPD Lecture Series at FIT: 'Personal Vision', moderated by Marshall Arisman
The Society of Publication Designers has been running a great series of lectures at FIT on a variety of subjects.  The theme of this Thursday's lecture is illustration.  More info from SPD below:
For over five decades illustrators have produced a single image to illuminate an author's text. Illustration is changing. What are illustrators today saying through their work? Are illustrators making a contribution that other art forms do not? Is illustration relevant? Can illustration be a vehicle for personal vision? 
Please join us on Thursday, February 7th, at 7:00 for PERSONAL VISION, a stimulating evening of words and pictures that explore the possibilities of an illustrator becoming the author of their own work. Moderated by Marshall Arisman, the discussion will include Nathan Fox, Sam Weber, Eddie Guy and Yuko Shimizu.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Katie Murphy Amphitheatre, FIT
27th Street & Seventh Avenue, NYC
7:00 - 8:30 PM; doors open at 6:30
SPD Members, $15 (advance tickets no longer available)
Non-members, $20 (advance tickets no longer available)
Students with valid ID: $5
FIT Students & Faculty with valid ID: FREE
Please note: Tickets purchased at the door are CASH ONLY.
Jennifer Garner, woo-hoo!
File this one under "Perks of the Job", I guess.  I recently had the distinct pleasure of meeting Jennifer Garner backstage at the production of Cyrano de Bergerac, for which I did the poster
While I appreciate the nice words that come from my friends at Drawger, Jennifer's words just seem to have so much more weight! The words, "I loved your poster, it's beeeeaaaautiful!" are still ringing in my ears.   Yes, she probably has no training in the visual arts whatsoever, but for SOME reason, the words have stuck in my cranium.  Jennifer is extremely nice and friendly, and went outside and signed a lot of posters for fans that had waited out in the cold to meet her.  She played the role of Roxanne in the play and Kevin Kline was Cyrano.  A review of the play and some pictures can be seen here.
Just so this post is not all about celebrity worship, I've added some drawings I did at the play.  I drew them without seeing what I was doing, in the dark, so everything is a little more abstract than usual.  These are the kinds of notes I take when working on a theater assignment for The New Yorker.
The art was on posters, t-shirts, magnets, etc., all being sold in the lobby of the theater.
Some quick drawing in the dark, I had no idea what I was drawing. When drawing in the dark, don't use a fountain pen. I thought I had put down a lot of lines in some places, but the ink was not flowing out of the pen and I had no idea.
Alright, enough of the drawings, back to the pictures of Jennifer Garner signing my posters!!!
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