"Hitting 40 " is this week's cover of The New Yorker, celebrating the start of another baseball season. The NY Yankees are both old and beaten up this spring and were a ripe topic for a baseball-themed cover.
Here's my original sketch, submitted in late February.
In the original gouache painting I debated about adding outfielder Curtis Granderson, who fractured his wrist in his first at bat this spring. Yikes!
I chose instead to have pitcher CC Sabathia as the last person portrayed in this Opening Day lineup. I wanted to show that not EVERY Yankee is disabled as the season starts, tho Sabathia did have off-season surgery.
The NYer's vaunted fact-checkers noted that the sequester budget cuts in Washington meant that extraneous activities, like Air Force jets flying over stadiums this Opening Day will be curtailed. Better photshop out the planes.
Editor David Remnick then requested I replace Sabathia with the latest Yankee to go down with an injury, in this case first baseman Mark Teixeira who just discovered his recent wrist injury was serious enough to require surgery. These Yankees are dropping like flies folks.
I painted Teixeira and the magazine patched it onto the digital file. Voila.
"My Name is Mark" is a book I did last year for an Israeli exhibition that will be partially on display tonight at the Society of Illustrators in NY. It won a silver medal.
The participants were each given a cheap Israeli school notebook and told to do whatever we wanted with it. Since no one would know who I am I decided to tell the students about my life and how I came to be an artist and illustrator.
The best part for me was not knowing where I was going with this. No sketches, no rough drawings, just pen and pencil and 40 pages to fill.
On election day last week I received an email from Francoise Mouly at the New Yorker asking me to submit as many ideas as I could come up with throughout the day about the race for president, not knowing who would win. That meant having to consider the possibility of a Romeny-Ryan ticket as a possibility for the first time. Previously I had avoided even contemplating it. Too scary.
At this stage my sketches are extremely rough. And simple. If I landed the cover I would have to paint it in a day.
Whoever wins would eventually have to address the upcoming "fiscal cliff".
Remember, one of Romney's proposals was to eliminate funding for PBS.
And if Romney won then say goodbye to Big Bird.
Whoever wins has a rather large burden to deal with and much to balance.
I figured that the face of the NYer, Eustace Tilley, might shed a tear should the Republican's prevail.
I thought I should address just how burned out the electorate is over the endless election cycle of American politics.
With America so divided I thought I should show how the eventual results might be interpreted by all.
Just in case the pundits were wrong and Obama were to win easily.
Heard on the news that certain Manhattan buildings would be lit up according to the winning side, either red or blue.
At this point the results were in, I was at friends- eating, drinking and sketching.
Whenever a political party losses its supporters always talk about heading for the borders.
When Obama won four years ago NYer artist Bob Staake did an incredible cover of the Lincoln Memorial and I thought I could reprise that setting.
I got my first feedback from the NYer the next morning and Francoise liked the Big Bird scenario and wanted me to explore settings for this option.
I love the color possibilities of the yellow bird against the green lawn.
This was my personal favorite for the cover, but I don't make that call.
Around 11 AM on Wednesday I was happily informed I had the cover. The magazine opted for the simple image of the Empire State Building, lit in blue. Not my favorite choice because I would have preferred something more conceptual but who's complaining. I explored some background treatments. We discussed the notion of a "new dawn".
Art director Mouly thought a starker night time sky was necessary to bring out the blue of the buildings top floors. We eventually settled on a dark reddish background color.
The finished gouache painting. I wasn't sure if the colors worked and asked Francoise to do whatever she wanted color-wise to make this work.
The cover, out today. Francoise made the background blue, darkened some of the sky and straightened out my building, all for the better. Rhapsody in Blue.
This just came out yesterday as a page in The New Yorker, though it was intended as a cover for last Spring. I wrongly assumed the Mets would suck as soon as the season started. But no, they waited 'til mid season to sink to their true level. So instead of a cover it's an inside page. So it goes.
Some of you may recognize a certain Giants fan in the scene, enjoying the home run.