Phoenix Illustrations

I've always wanted to do editorial illustrations for magazines and newspapers and I've done some here and there, but never of any celebrities or important people in the news. Until recently. The Phoenix in Boston asked me to do a few illustrations of people to accompany interviews, and boy, was I thrilled.

The first was of documentary filmmaker and author Errol Morris, who was interviewed for the November 9th, 2012 issue. Here's the rough sketch first:

Errol Morris - rough
I drew this with my Cintiq in Photoshop - I have a pencil brush I use for the black lines, and a chalk brush for the brushy, pastel-y effect for the grays. I decided to abandon the ribbon encircling Errol with all the interviewers and cameramen because I thought it seemed cliché.

As I was working on the various different shades of gray on his face, I liked the effect that gave me, so I decided to take it further in the color stage:

Errol Morris
My concept with the multi-hued color treatment here was that I liked the idea of how Errol approaches his subjects - viewing them through a multi-faceted lens, so to speak. Trying to look at any and all aspects of a particular event that might've affected a subject, like the Jeffery MacDonald case from 1972 - of which he's written a book about the case and why he was being interviewed by the Phoenix in the first place.

The next illustration I did was of political statistician Nate Silver for the November 5th, 2012 issue. (I actually drew the Errol Morris one first, but the interview was held until after this one was published.) Below is the rough sketch, again drawn in Photoshop on my Cintiq:

Nate Silver - rough
For both illustrations, I had already drawn several pencil sketches in my sketchbook leading up to the digital sketching, as a way of trying to get the subject right. For Nate, I felt that I got his appearance right away. Errol was a bit more difficult to capture. (I'm not a caricaturist by heart - but I do my best.)

Nate Silver final
I really had fun drawing this one of Nate. I went with the obvious red/blue for the two opposing political parties - splitting Nate right down the middle, so as not to give any preference for him (since he's just stating facts & figures on his blog and not offering any opinions). Notice that his left is blue, his right is red. AND, notice that in the background, the left side is blue, the right is red. Worked out perfectly, I think! Nate's blog on the NYTimes site is called FiveThirtyEight Blog, hence the number "538" in the illustration.

Been really enjoying working on these illustrations, even with a quick turnaround. I'm happy to say that I'm currently working on a third piece for the Phoenix - of an actress/musician who's in one of my favorite current TV shows. Very much looking forward to working on that one!

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