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Edel Rodriguez
ESPN Fiction Issue
posted:
I got a call from Siung Tija at ESPN to come up with a cover image for their Fiction Issue, which consists of stories about sports from a number of well known authors.  The direction was to combine sports and writing in some way.  The concept of sports and fiction seemed kind of funny to me right away so I headed in that direction in most of my sketches, wry, silly, etc.   I avoided drawing books in most of my sketches, with e-books, audiobooks, and the internet, fiction doesn't seem to be confined to the printed word anymore.   Sometimes I find it hard to use the image of a book in an interesting way as well.   There's a funny rule at the NY Times Book Review that I think I've picked up while doing illustrations for them over the years, the rule is "don't show a book!".   The funny thing is that, as magazines do sometimes, the cover was being worked on by several artists at the same time.   ESPN ended up going with my friend Alex Nabaum's illustration on the cover.  He found a very surprising way to work books into his image.  Thanks to Siung for the opportunity, ESPN is a great looking magazine.
sketches

In most of my sketches I combined Shakespeare with sports gear of some sort.   I thought of him as a fan in the stands, drinking beer, face painted, etc.   I tried some ideas with him yelling in the stands and so on, but in the end the classic Shakespeare face with the beer hat seemed to work.
This is my final pencil study

Tried one version with a yellow background and white ruffles

One of the cool things about ESPN magazine is that they publish the other cover versions in the magazine, so the reader can see another treatment. This design appears inside the magazine.

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