Archive for August, 2010

Start Choppin’

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When you receive your favorite-ever birthday present from your favorite-ever person, what does one do for an encore? The obligatory Best-Made-8-Question-Questionnaire, obviously.

And yes, the axe itself is breathtaking.

Epic Confusion

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The second rush gig which capped off an epic week of little sleep was the cover for this past week’s Week In Review. Working with Kelly Doe for a fast few hours before jumping on a plane, the article describes the new modern arc of the superathlete a la Lance Armstrong, A-Rod, Lebron James, etc., and how the public’s perception of heroic athletic feats has changed from a sense of awe and aspiration to one of justifiable skepticism. Michael Sokolove kinda, sorta nails it in his opening:

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The notion of looking up to the sports hero was always dubious. Now? Forget it. The new definition of a sports hero is someone whom we don’t yet have enough information on. 

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This one happened so quickly that, in a rare, borderline miraculous feat, we were able to get a concept approved over the phone without preliminary sketches. I’ve heard tell of this feat done with other, far more seasoned designers who contribute to the Times, but being the searching, second-guessing soul that I am, it’s rare that I’m ever so comfortable committing to an idea first before trying to work it out on paper first, so this was a new one on me. Once the idea was approved, I had a few hours to obsess over how best to render it. The other version that we tried out which didn’t make the cut uses a torn paper conceit which I will absolutely hold onto for when the right assignment comes around. The sculpture won’t carry over but I’ll be sitting on those shreds of discarded paper like a mother hen.

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The Twilight of the Dirty Rich

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This past weekend while in the mountains of southern Virginia for a cell-free, wifi-free wedding, I had the unlikely fortune to have illustrations on the covers of both the Washington Post’s Outlook section and also the Times’ Week In Review. Mercifully, these pieces were polar opposites in terms of scheduling and content which in turn helped to keep my brain limber as both pieces were tied up amidst the frenzy of other ongoing projects, the day job as well as the joys of beyond-last-minute packing.

The piece above for the Washington Post revolves around the growing development of the nation’s youngest, richest business folks making their money (and thereby influencing policy) from tech based, environmentally friendly ventures as opposed to the oil and auto industrialists of yesteryear. Working again with Kristin Lenz on this, she distilled the message to me simply: “Dallas, this ain’t.”

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After my first round of sketches, Kristin landed on a way to rope the image into and around the headline just as we had done on a previous assignment. She apologized for this when the job was over, though I do not know why as everyone, myself included were all around happier with the finished bit than with any of the comps which were originally submitted. Moreover, if I’m tasked with finding a way to work an on-the-nose pun around Matthew Carter’s beautiful type, I will simply find a way to carry on as best I can.

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