Steve Wacksman
January 2009
More Tales Of Tigers. Get it? Tales? Of Tigers!
The final gatefold cover artwork, a bit cropped.
I'm not one to make a promise I don't intend to keep. I often make promises I don't keep, but my intentions are always good and that's what makes me a sweet, shining golden star.
I promised you more tigers were on the way and you, faithful reader, believed in me. As long as you slavishly stick with me and hang on my every word and never ever question or doubt me you have my solemn word that I will never abuse that trust.

If you'll glance back at your notes you'll recall our discussion of my past album covers for multi-platinum recording artists Sour Jazz here. Unlike most aging family men, these stalwarts have not faltered in their devotion to Rock'N'Roll (despite scientific researchers claims that the artform breathed it's final shallow breath in October of 1982) and are prepared to loosen another lava-hot slab of greasy meat-rock upon us. Lord have mercy! This one is entitled "American Seizure", a cheeky nod to Iggy Pop's 1993 album "American Caesar"
Being connoisseurs of the visual arts (and - full disclosure - friends with a limited art budget) they contacted me to provide the visuals. And being a man of good cheer and level humors, I naturally obliged. There was, however, a caveat provided this time around- past covers have referenced 'jazz era' and Blue Note design conventions. This was thought, in hindsight, to be somewhat alienating to the Rock fan that would ostensibly make up Sour Jazz's audience. Rick at Acetate records had an idea: let's do a more traditional 'rock' image.
Ah cutcha!
I got to it right away, fueled by bourbon and microwave popcorn. I worked late into the night breaking only for the 6PM airing of "Wheel Of Fortune" ( Hi Vanna if you're reading this!!!) and to pay nightly homage to Khonsu, the cannibalistic Lunar God. Here's a look at some of the scratchy quasi-Cubist output from those sessions
A southpaw! Man, the puns are really flowing today!
It was only a matter of time before the tigers crept in. As I mentioned before, they've been quite insistent of late. The minute this one appeared before me I knew he would be hard to subdue. After reversing, revising, revisiting, and picking away at him we finally reached the promised land. Here is the final artwork for the outside cover, a paper gatefold in the grand tradition of the 12" LP's that you used to use to roll joints on when you sat in your parents wood-paneled basement "rumpus room" ruminating on the awesome depth of "Brain Salad Surgery".
100% On Topic
As an illustrator who's not commonly called on for portraiture or weighty topics, i rarely have pieces to share when other Drawgers are showcasing their 'bear market' / economic catastrophe pieces or reverent portraits of President Obama. My time is more often used churning out eye candy to accompany hard-hitting exposes like "Butt Exercises You Can Do Lying On Your Back" and "How To Save Money On Your Family's Grocery Bill".
This time I'm locked and loaded. This portrait of 44 was comissioned by the Brennan Center For Justice, a nonpartisan think tank at NYU. While it might lack the subtlety and detail of some of the other portraits hanging here in the Drawger galeries, it has the unique distinction of being a 'web-use only' work that will be seen no larger than 300 pixels wide. So..y'know. It's small.
The inauguration is on the TV in the other room; Arethra's belting it out. What a crowd. As much as I generally dislike pomp and circumstance, this one gets a pass. This is huge.
Boston Globe Op-Ed
Facing the future with grim determination.
The other day I was up to my elbows in picture-drawing activities when the estimable Greg Klee phoned in a request. Could I do a piece for the Globe's Op-Ed section? Erm...I really shouldn't thinks me. I'm already on a deadline, the baby's sleeping and Mrs Wacksman had a job interview which would leave the baby in my care. I had 3 hours in which to complete the piece, but Wacksman the younger is unlikely to nap for more than two hours. I was really pushing my luck, but (like firefighting, soldiering,policing and podiatry) this is a profession for heroes with a can-do attitude.
I took it on. I set my egg timer, gobbled down a Pixie Stick and a multivitamin and set about the task. As Mr Klee and I have a longstanding working relationship he allowed me to bypass the sketch phase. We discussed some ideas and agreed on this one. I got the sketch done in record time and went to finalize it. I was a well-oiled machine and coming around the bend when young Dashiell awoke with a roar. I steeled my nerves and carried on, putting the finishing touches on this one while the youngster crawled around my studio sticking his fingers in electrical outlets and ingesting al manner of inedibles. I beat the clock by seconds and collapsed to the floor in a pale, sweaty heap.
This one is about how America's twenty-somethings believe they are guaranteed a future. The author opines that they'd better roll up their sleeves and take their futures in their own hands.
Wheteh or not this piece actually ran I don't know- my mother in law gets the Globe but only does the crossword.
Now We're Talkin' Tigers.
One of many tigers that's made it's way through my studio as of late.
Those of you who keep a sketchbook know that certain elements and themes can take root in your consciousness and stubbornly refuse to let go. Oftentimes they'll fight their way onto the page regardless of their appropriateness. I have books with pages and pages of gemstones, dozens of images built around birds and playing card suits. Once I thoughtlessly doodled a spiky ball that resembled an oceanic mine in a sketchbook; it returned as a motif in almost every drawing I did for months on end. Cyclops, paramecium, bomb pops, guitars, dachshunds...they've all taken up residence at one point or another.

Lately I've been plagued by tigers. Not literally, mind you or I'd have lent that sentence a decidedly more exclamatory tone. Just been drawing them. When I was contacted by the almighty Greg Klee, longtime client and man of unparalleled vision, to illustrate an article for the Boston Globe regarding military protection of endangered species I seized the opportunity.

Tigers, I thought, they're endangered!  I'll give 'em tigers.

And tigers they got. For this one I made use of my beloved ballpoint pens and returned to ink and brush, albeit in a much looser and more rapid fashion than I've employed in the past. Coloring was done, as usual, in Ye Olde Photoshoppe.

I'll post yet another tiger tale in the very near that's sure to top even this one for suspense and edge=of-your seat action.
A look at the sketch, as per Mr Webster's request.
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