Please note that all of the illustrations in this post were first published in Slate™ Magazine www.slate.com (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.
First up was a banner for the Slate Book Review landing page. Since these illustrations would run in October, I thought of curling up with a good book inside while it is raining outside (I grew up in Seattle, if you can't tell). I also tried to hint at a Halloween theme, with a stack of orange books making a pumpkin shape. I threw in a black cat for good measure!
Above is the version I turned in, though "Slate Book Review" was added on the left side in yellow. You can see the finished banner as well as all of the other Slate Book Review banners (along with the impressive list of other cartoonists and illustrators who have tackled this assignment!) on this Slate Book Review archive page.
"No Child Has Ever Been Harmed by Music" by Carl Wilson
I don't want to post any spoilers, but if you have read this book, you'll know that I had to do some pretty gruesome image research to figure out this drawing. It was the first time, but not the last, during this assignment that I had to look at some really horrific visual reference, which I have not been able to forget.
Thankfully the second illustration was much more tame. Unlike most of the illustrations I work on, the goal with these was to go more conceptual. It was not enough to just depict scenes from the book, I had to find some theme to represent visually. In this case it was contrasting the dust clouds of the great depression with the clouds of heaven.
Likeness of Wings by Marian Ryan
The third piece I did was all about Auschwitz, which, again, lead to some really horrific visual reference. Based on the article, the idea I came up with was to contrast really cartoony characters with a more naturalistic environment. Since the whole concept hinged on the idea of two different styles between the characters and the background, I enlisted the help of my extremely talented wife, Claire Sanders, to paint the background, based on a composition I whipped together in photoshop from various reference photos. This also had the added benefit of saving me some time during this extremely tight deadline. Thanks Claire!
Well, this post is getting a bit long, so next week I'll post the other five illustrations that I did for this assignment, as I continue to post work that I did in 2014.