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Leo Espinosa
Memoirs
posted:
I rarely post anything about my process of editorial work because I just don't find it that glamorous or interesting. It's a standard exercise of sketches, aproval, color, quite familiar to many of us.
Because the depth of this particular story I recently illustrated, the sketching stage was more engaging than usual. I normally only feel strong about one or two ideas but in this case, I felt equally enthusiastic about all my roughs and wanted to take them all to color.
The article, published in this week's New Yorker under the title The Sins of The Father, is about children of famous novelists, who as adults have become writers themselves and are writing memoirs about their not-so-great parents. It's not hard to imagine that the fame and success of these novelists had a dramatic effect in their relationship with their children, who often felt disappointed, confused, angry and abandoned.

While reading the manuscript, I was reminded that the balance between good parenting and professional fulfillment is not an easy task; It made me reflect on my role as a parent and how easily a career can pull an individual away from his or her children. It brought back sad memories of growing up without a father figure (my dad passed away when I was 13) but also made me feel immensely happy for the relationship I have with my two children and how my profession as an illustrator plays a big role in it.
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This sketch covers yet another aspect of the story: How these children, a new generation of writers, deal with the enormous shadow of their parents' literary legacy.
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Another idea: A father/writer absorbed in his own thoughts, absolutely oblivious of his son's presence. The son manages to write as well, while carring the weight of his father.
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In one segment of the article there's a description when a famous novelist breaks the news to his son about his parents' imminent divorce. The are sitting on a bench in Central Park in the middle of winter; While holding his frustration, the child only imagines hitting his father with a well packed snowball. I drew this sequence of the kid tearing off and crumpling a page from one of his father's novels, throwing it at him and then collapsing in tears. Later I figured it might look better with only one character in the center with a grey snowy background behind.
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I also thought that this final sketch (which was the chosen one) needed a large empty space around the two main characters. Here, another very busy father looses himself in his writing and turns his back to his child when obviously he needs him.
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