It was a happy Memorial Day for me as I was privileged to shine a light on one of the first: a ceremony held by former slaves on a site known as the Racecourse in Charleston SC in May, 1865 for The Los Angeles Times. Here are the elements of how the project evolved. 1-The research, done by myself . . . and the pitch to the Times. That almost always involves sketching. My first layout sketch, as usual, has too much information (and poor design.) 2-Thanks to my wonderful editor Susan Brennemen, we summarized the first half to concentrate on the deeply moving story about the Racecourse. The order and design now was the challenge. 3- In this next sketch you see the model sheet I used as a working design. 4-Then came making the elements and putting them into composition. You develop a sixth sense about how much text the design will hold. I draw the capital letters and set the type in a hand-made typeface (Brodner Bold). 5-Every day brings more decisions (usually made by trial and error) until everything works (dammit!). Finally, hours before it runs, fact checking calls, of course, with lists of all my crimes of grammar and style. These get hammered out, usually with one eye fast asleep and my bags packed for a weekend in the country. 6-The piece ran on Sunday. Photo in LA by Sarah Catania. Grateful to all involved. Remembering these unbelievably brave soldiers of the Grand Army of the Republic and the amazing free men, women and children of Charleston. And everywhere.
Live on Politico right now: An assignment that took 22 years to create. My Life With Hillary! http://www.politico.com/…/my-22-year-ar…/002182-031071.html… As we greet the return of Hillary Rodham Clinton to the political stage, it cannot be denied that she is unique in many ways. One of these is an almost unheard-of political longevity. Players in politics seldom hold onto front-runner status after 23 years in the public eye. In spite of great controversies (and one very big loss) Hillary, most definitely, still does.
Of all political figures today, she may be the most durable because of her multifaceted nature, appealing to both hawks and liberals, activists and business tycoons. Whatever you say about her, there is almost always some evidence pointing to the opposite. This also applies to the way I rendered her over the decades. My approach shifted as did her shape. So without any discernible theme, here are some 28 Hillarys that have haunted my career as well as my dreams.
My great thanks to Janet Michaud, designer, Susan Glasser editor, Lori Kelly, Katelyn Fossett, Garrett Graff. And especially to Jeff Bartholet for the inspiration for this project.
It's been a busy few weeks. Sometimes it pours. This and teaching and I feel very young, which means like a college student cramming for finals! These all done in March: The new cover for Newsweek, on religion in politics. Story HERE by Matthew Cooper. Thanks to Robert Priest, Grace Lee, designers, Jim Impoco, EIC.
Next was my cover for the NY Times Style Section of The View for the very easy to work with Rodrigo Honeywell. Story HERE.
After that is a page in The New Republic for Andrew Horton, who is always one of our favorites to work with. The Pope and his upcoming declaration on Climate, after which, deniers will be on even thinner ice than ever (gotta draw that!) Story HERE.
Finally, my monthly feature for GQ: Dumbest Quotes. Fred Woodward and Martin Salazar, designers. See how cool Martin animates them here (especially) the Robin Thicke piece.
When faces haunt your dreams you draw all night.
More soon. Bests, S
To my Beltway friends please feel very welcome to drop around the Johns Hopkins Homewood Campus in Baltimore next Monday. I've been invited to do a talk about being an illustrator in these times and . . . in the way-back. I think I will do a reverse show this time; starting with the newest and work back. This way I will be able to show new things before everybody faints. I figure you have a good 18 1/2 minutes to work with. As Nixon said to Rosemary Woods. Anyway, as I make the Powerpoint, here are some new things, or pieces of them, I am considering.
The newest would be this for on Oscar Outtakes for The Hollywood Reporter. Neil Patrick Harris didn't actually do the ice bucket thing on Streep and Moore but did do the tidey whities routine. We also had him in a Stephen Hawking wheelchair opening number. There were 4 more in this story. The result of a pitch to AD Peter Cury who really made this happen.
Here's a detail of the piece shown above: my Ship of Fools cover for The Nation. Just as the GOP's "governing majority" shows what it really is: a wreck. Thanks to Robert Best, Roane Carey, Katrina Vanden Heuvel.
Here's the father of Fiddler on the Roof, Sholem Aleichem for an online mag.
Hillary Clinton, in "Dumbest Quotes of 2014" for GQ, states that corporations don't create jobs.
Conservative BS is plentiful enough without liberals giving them competition. Gotta keep an eye on that Hillary. There were 24 total illos in that series.
For a life of Jerry Brown for The LA Times, a full pager. Some ten illos. Writing by me, as in the others so far.
The Nation asked me to prepare a piece of art to present to the great author Toni Morrison at a dedicatory dinner, with one limitation: no likenesses of her allowed. Apparently, she doesn't even like photographs. We hit on the idea of drawing her books! They all have interesting covers so it made for an exciting assignment. She said to me with a big smile, "It's beautiful, I love it." Very thrilled. She is a favorite author of mine, probably of yours too.
For the wonderful Robert Priest + Grace Lee, in 8X8 magazine, Sepp Blatter, the perfectly named head of the World Cup. Sleazy, corrupt, rude, ugly. In short, my kind of people.
This was also the year I got to work with one of my favorite designers and people, Soojin Buzelli . . . just before her getting a richly deserved Gangel Award at the SI last month. We collaborated on CIO magazine's Awards Issue. The challenge here was to render portraits of people I had no idea about the identity of. Also I didn't want to offend anyone (without cause). It meant a cover and 11 full pages and two spots. All done by Monday. Actually I had about a month. But it felt like a Monday deadline. Anyway, here's a couple of them (whoever they are).
Another of my favorite designers is Len Small who has made of Nautilus a mecca of modern illustration. He stands at the nexus of science and the humanities, print and digital, art that is beautiful and also tells an important story. Here, for a piece on varieties of genius. As in Lincoln as well as Einstein.
In spite of all the dispruptions we see everywhere, we are lucky to have the media and graphic design world that we have today, thanks to the people who are in it. I feel so grateful for the priviledge of working with them!