Tim OBrien
January 2010
Arthur Hochstein
Arthur Hochstein.

In 1989 I was just out of school and got my first shot at a Time Cover.  Rudy Hoglund was the AD at the time and under him was Arthur Hochstein.  His warm smile and  positive energy was memorable.   In the years that followed I have been fortunate enough to do many Time covers.  Arthur was the head AD and for most of them I worked with him.  I would not have the career I have had if it were not for Arthur.  He made me appear to be a big league illustrator and taught me how to design a cover.  What works and what does not?  I learned those answers from Arthur.

Arthur is moving on from Time after man years, I won't speculate how many.  It's in solid hands with D.W. Pine.
We've all had ADs move on and recently there have been many. I'm so grateful for all he has done for me and countless other illustrators and the field of illustration as well.
Here's to a beautiful person, Arthur Hochstein.

We created some nice buzz following this cover in the redesign. 

A cover without type!  Remember voting booths?

I always liked this one.  I have put myself in many Time covers.

This one was a bear to complete.  Arthur made it fun.

Tim on the cover or TIme.  I may have done this for Joe all gets fuzzy.

My first Person of the Year cover

FDR,  Runner up for Person of the Century

Gandhi, Runner up for Person of the Century
Einstein, THE Person of the Century.  Arthur gave me the gig of a lifetime.  Cassius was born the day after the art was completed.  Arthur's generosity made it possible for me not to have to work for a while.

America, we made the right choice on both my CHOICE covers.
I love painting X's over bad guys.

Or at least painting over them....

I could continue this gallery of covers for a while but this is about Arthur.  As we all know, if you are fortunate to be in this business for a while you'll have to live with change.  I embrace it as much as I can.  I'm better for having worked with him these many years.
Finally, I am an odd guy.  I am a bit of a hoarder.  Anyone who has seen my studio know this for sure.  I seem to have a few answering machine messages I save to make me feel loved.  I have funny messages from a very young Cassius, a few old friends and this one which is number one.  I won't delete it from my machine, it still makes me happy.

Stefan Kiefer
Many years ago I received a call from an art director at Der Spiegel.  He was very descriptive of what he was looking for and very detailed oriented.  It was Stefan Kiefer.  It turns out he was an illustrator once and a good one.  He understood what was possible and has an amazing eye for what works and what does not.  I've done numerous covers for the magazing since and now count Stefan as a good friend.  He's had me out to Berlin for a Der Spiegel retrospective where I got to see just how much the magazine respects illustration.  Stefan has been to many of the ICONs and many Society of Illustrator functions.  He's plugged into where we are and I know the illustration community loves him.
Stefan is a wonderful guy, a vegetarian, a drummer, and loves to laugh.  Here is my Stefan portrait. 
Stefan Kiefer, a man in charge.

Happy Birthday Stefan.
Here is a close up view of the piece.  I got to leave all my brush strokes untouched, which I love.

I just did this illustration for Stefan last week.  A cover story about Tut. 

These brush strokes are softened to make the gold glimmer and Tut look like the young king he was. 

Stefan and a gaggle of German illustrators seeing what a 15 year old rube does with $25 dollars back in the 80's.

We had a great show opening in Berlin and I remember Stefan was really tightly wound that night.  The Chancellor was in attendance as well as all the Der Spiegel brass and he had to give a talk.  When we was finished Stefan FINALLY relaxed and was almost spiritural in his calmness.  Great memories.

I've always liked this photo.  I had just gotten to Berlin and we were in the building where the workshops were to be held. We stepped onto the roof and it was this wonderful sunset.  This was not the Bono look-alike contest.  That was later and Rafal Obinski won.

Thanks Lou Brooks and Nancy Stahl for posting your great pieces.

Der Spiegel cover 2010
At the end of the year I was asked by my friend and AD at Der Spiegel, Stefan Kiefer to do a cover.  It was their year-end issue and was for a story about  belief in God, and the Bible and Koran, and which belief is more attractive in times of the globalization. 
The idea from Stefan and the editor was Michaelangelo's creation and having the two religions finger wrestle.  I thought that it would be best to have the hand in the Adam position arched like the original.  In the end they opted for the tension of the two locked fingers pulling.  
The funny thing about this cover was sending a sketch, having Stefan say to switch positions, then to have him call back and say switch again, THEN AGAIN!
In my many years of illustration I've learned to roll with the punches.  It just has to be done.  They added a little more noise to parts in-house.  
Finally, the one error in all the shifting was the orientation  of the moon and star.  Mine were in a different angle and they spun them again.  This cover literally flipped over and over and over!

My comment is that nothing ever comes from a struggle over which belief system is better in any way.  I can't imagine a discussion of the topic would go over well in the states.

I actually painted a small painting of just the hand in green to show Stefan how it would look and photoshopped it into the painitng for another file.  I debated whether to show this here since I am positive it looks more like the original.  Looking at it now it could look like a date between a Cardinal and a Imam.  That wouldn't go over too well and I don't need to be building a safe room in my house.

; )

It's always odd to paint in the style of another aritst.  So much of what I do is intricate surface detail and I have to actually leave that stuff out as much as I can handle.

Reference is shot with a timer

Here is the first sketch.  I feared it would not look like a struggle so wanted to show another hand position.

So I tried another position and again, I think it ended up looking like a dance.

This is why we sketch, right?

Here it is in progress. I had to add that outline around the hands to mimic the line-work of the original.
A quick note of thanks to Stefan and Der Spiegel for using me so often in the past decade.  I can only hope they continue to do so in the 'terrible teens'.
The magazine loves the power of images and ideas and trusts their audience to understand the complexity of both on their covers.

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