Here’s my recent illustration for the July-August Issue of Talk Business & Politics. This artwork accompanies the feature, “Hillary Huckabee and those fickle Arkansas Voters” by John Brummett.
America…hold tight! (Click for larger image.)
While painting this artwork, I found myself wondering what would happen if Mike Huckabee
and Hillary Clinton
were chosen by their parties for their ultimate face-off?
What would happen if they weren’t facing away from each other, merrily rowing away the boat of the American sentiment in their own directions?
Honestly, I can’t really imagine a civil debate. I think…
- They’d leave their lecterns,
- They’d roll up their sleeves, bend their knees, and begin circling each other,
- They’d put on their boxing gloves and lunge at each other, and
- America will be left all the more confused after their high-octane, energy-packed, verbally violent debates!
But my opinion on the duo and all other Presidential candidates is a matter for another blog. Here I must talk only about…
Illustrating the Hillary Clinton & Mike Huckabee Boat-ride Scene:
The brief that I received from the client mentioned Hillary and Huckabee rowing a boat in opposite directions…not flying at each others throats, not debating…just doing their own thing. It was a full-page inner illustration. I read the brief early in the morning…I think it was around 5 AM..right after the morning tea. A picture popped up in my mind and I rushed to my whiteboard and did a two-minute sketch.
After I had sketched the figures for Hillary and Huckabee, I stood back and looked at the sketch. It appeared a little bland. It was a full-page artwork and there wasn’t enough happening. It didn’t have enough in it to make it look funny – so I wondered how I could make it look more colorful and at the same time add more meaning to it. I thought a little more about the boat…and then it clicked. Who was it that these two were trying to ferry across? Of course, the American people. So I added a visibly perturbed (actually, thoroughly disturbed) Uncle Sam with the American Flag to the image, took a photo of it, and emailed it to the Editor. He liked it – and within an hour I had my first approval. I don’t normally send rough sketches (they are neither required nor appreciated – because they don’t really say a lot. Perhaps they work only after you and your client have worked together long enough to see behind your squiggles.)
The next step was of course the sketch, which in my opinion is the most important stage of any illustration. I always put in a lot of effort at this stage – trying to come as close to the picture that I have in my mind. So I sketched the ocean, the pitched ships, the boat, the oars, the flag, the water…everything. I don’t kill myself establishing likeness at this time, but if I have the time, I try to come as close to it as possible. After I got a thumbs-up, rest was simple. Just filling colors in those lines. I just follow one simple rule while coloring…don’t deviate from the actual too much, but add as much color as possible. So the sea is the stormy frothy green and grey, the faces and the hair are their normal hue, and the political symbology remains correct too. Yet, I went a little “liberal” with the color of Hillary’s dress and gave her some big pearls (expensive ones, I assure you.)
This work took a lot of time and tons of conscious effort in trying to put in details that matter, without making them look like they weren’t part of the scene. Notice the splashing water, for instance. It splashes up, covering the Arkansas State Flag and the clothes of the characters. But then the feeling of overcoming a challenge is a reward in itself.
The painted artwork was approved without any modifications… and I got a pat on the back from the client…something that makes me feel really good and grateful.
Draw to Smile 🙂 I should now return to Blogging101. If you are a WordPress Blogger and you haven’t taken this course, do enroll for the next one. It’s awesome.
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I bet you are tired of hearing this but you are extremely talented. I am so happy that you get to dabble in what seems to be your calling.
Thanks Enkay. I don’t know about my calling. Every five years it appears to change 😦 I do dabble in writing but I think I am going to stick to painting in the long-run. Let’s see how things unfold.
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