Obama FDR for The Weekly Standard
This past week I did another one - day - turnaround Obama for The Weekly Standard. What can I say? The Weekly Standard is by far my best client, they are great to work with, I've done over 35 paintings for them . . . that's nothing compared to the piles and piles of paintings my friend Tom Fluharty has done for them, but I still get excited and look forward to every time I get to work with them. I always try to give my all no matter what the time crunch is.
Almost every time I work with the Standard, the deadline is super quick. It doesn't matter if it's a cover or a spot illustration. I don't know if I've ever had more than two, maybe three days to turn something around for them. I learn a great deal about myself while working on these jobs, and I learn a great deal about what not to do the next time around. Still, it's important to me that the art is good and that it does it's job. It must tell the story that the art director and editor are after, and it must also meet my standards.
This job was no different. The final art that is posted above was all in a days work. I'll explain more below.
This is how the final art will appear in the magazine. The open space above is for the title and text for the article. I liked the painterly look on the edges of the background . . . turned out like this mainly because I was in such a rush.
This was the first sketch I did after getting off the phone with the art director on Wednesday night. About a five minute sketch. It was already time for me to go home for the day, so I would start fresh in the morning. I would have all day Thursday and Friday to complete the illustration.
I wasn't 100% sure what the a.d. wanted, if it was a parody of Obama in the exact pose as FDR or if I should take it to another place. The article hadn't yet been handed in. So until I heard back on what exactly I was going to be drawing, I did this sketch and sent it to the a.d. to get a reaction on whether this was in fact the direction he wanted to go? This sketch was done in about 20 minutes or so.
At this point I had already begun to block in Obama's face, trying to give my self a head start. The a.d. and I talked about different ways to tell the story, and in the end, this sketch just wasn't doing it for either of us, so . . . .
. . . it was time to start again. The a.d. thought it would be funny to show Obama swimming in FDR's clothing . . . everything is too big for him, so I did this new sketch and sent it off as quick as I could to get the OK to move on and take it to the finish. This was near the end of the day, as I do not work nights unless I have to. The sketch was approved.
I then spent my last bit of the day painting his face. I wanted to get it to a point where I would feel settled enough to go home for the day, knowing that I had to finish everything the following day.
Late Thursday night after my kids were in bed, I decided to go back into the studio for a couple hours. Something about the face was really bothering me, it wasn't capturing the likeness or humor that I wanted or that the piece needed. So I found some new references and began sketching . . . and this was the version I settled with. It was now to a point where I could go to sleep and feel good about the work I had done that day.
I was in my studio again around 5:00 a.m. Now that the sketch was how I wanted it, I had until 5:00 p.m. to complete the entire painting. It was a long and brutal day, and for the next 12 hours, I painted non-stop. I took about a 20 minute lunch break somewhere in the midst of my painting frenzy!
All in all, I'm happy with the way the painting turned out, learned a lot and even though it was tough, I had a blast . . . I love my job!