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February 5, 2015

2014 Recap: Slate Book Review - Part 2

Last week I posted the banner and first three illustrations that I did for the Slate Book Review in October 2014.  Below are the final pieces that I created for this assignment.

Please note that all of the illustrations in this post were first published in Slate™ Magazine (I'm required to say that!)  Also, while I'm at it, if you click on any of the pictures below, you'll be able to see them a bit bigger.

The fourth piece I did was all about vaccines, which involve needles, which I am terrified of!  This illustration has two inside-jokes: 1) the doctor looks like my dad, who is a doctor! 2) one of the things that really helped me meet this tight deadline was the release of Weezer's new album Everything Will Be Alright In The End.  As I was working on these, it was released on iTunes as a sneak peak, and I was pretty much streaming it non-stop while working on these illustrations... How is your eyesight?  :)

The fifth piece was about this new book of poetry by Claudia Rankine which she wrote in the second person.  It's all about racist interactions, but because it uses the pronoun "you," the reader experiences the racism first hand, even if they are not a person of color.  I tried to get this across by having the word "YOU" changing the head of a white guy to that of a black lady, Rankine herself!

Blackness Visible by Jonathan Farmer

The sixth piece was about a series of murder mystery books that take place in Dublin, Ireland. The article referenced a lot of different locations around Dublin, so I found some photos for each of them and drew them inside some "house" icons and laid it over the Irish flag.  Ta-da!  Conceptual.

The seventh piece was about a new novel that filmmaker David Cronenberg wrote.  I have never seen a David Cronenberg movie (too scary/gory for my taste) so I was having a hard time with this one.  The final idea was flat-out handed to me by my awesome art director at Slate, Dan Kois.  He said, "find a screenshot of this scene from this movie, but make the TV screen a book."  I had no frame of reference for what this image meant, but I was working on it behind my table at the Alternative Press Expo when my pal Liz Prince looked over my shoulder and said, "Wow, that's a really clever idea." I wish I could take credit for it!  Thanks, Dan.

So just to review, thus far the themes of my Slate illustration had been: suicide, the great depression, the holocaust, disease, racism, murder and horror movies.  As I mentioned last week, this is not the neighborhood of illustration that I normally hang out in - serious stuff!  Also, something about having to do all of these in a single ten-day stretch was putting me in a dark mind space.

So it was a great relief when the last piece turned out to be about the pleasure of reading plays.  As an undergrad theatre major, I agreed whole-heartedly with the article, and I had a lot of fun looking up reference photos for the lighting instruments and the cover design of those ubiquitous Samuel French manuscripts.     

All in all, this assignment was a lot of fun.  It was a pleasure working with a great art director, and I definitely got to stretch my illustration muscles a bit, exploring some new territory.  All that being said, it was also nice to come back to some simple, happy work for children after this series of dark illustrations!

Next week I'm going to start posting some of the work I did for Highlights in 2014.

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