Three Portraits for Cover Art – Clinton, Bumpers, and Pryor

I recently did this artwork for the cover of TBP Magazine’s March-April 2016 issue. While it might look like three regular portraits of three gentlemen standing in suits, sharing a joke; the assignment was a challenging one, and when the client’s approval came in the first shot saying “I like it a lot,” it felt great.

Here’s the artwork:

Portraits of Bill Clinton, Dale Bumpers, and David Pryor for the cover of Talk Business and Politics (TBP)

 

The cover:

Portraits of Clinton, Bumpers, and Pryor for the TBP Magazine
And the story:

Portraits of Dale Bumpers, David Pryor, Bill Clinton - for Talk Business and Politics Magazine.

Photograph Courtesy: Bryan Pistole

 

The Challenge:
This might sound like a problem from the GMAT Question-paper, but it isn’t – it’s real, factual data. Mr. Bumpers (the gentleman at the left) is about 10 years older than Mr. Pryor (the gentleman at the right,) and Mr. Clinton, the rather cute looking gentleman in the middle is about 10 years younger than Mr. Pryor. Mr. Bumpers belonged to the expensive and low-res era of photography and so the web isn’t choke full of his pictures (which obviously means that the references weren’t easy to come by.) Mr. Pryor was close to retirement when the digital era began, so there were some pictures of his older self available but not many of the time when he was politically active. However, there was no dearth of pictures, as far as Mr. Clinton is concerned.

But this is just one part of it.

I needed to paint all the three gentlemen as they looked in the past; as their younger selves. That and the differences in their heights – all that had to factored in while creating this artwork. I enjoyed the challenge and also the fact that I was drawing and painting portraits for a change 🙂

So that’s that. Coming up soon is a post by the writer in me.

 

Caricature Illustration: Hillary Clinton and Mike Huckabee take Uncle Sam for a Boat-Ride.

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.

Caricature Illustration Mike Huckabee and Hillary Clinton (Presidential Candidates for 2016 Elections) Row a boat and take uncle sam for a boat-ride. Illustration for Talk Business and Politics, Arkansas.

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…
  1. They’d leave their lecterns,
  2. They’d roll up their sleeves, bend their knees, and begin circling each other,
  3. They’d put on their boxing gloves and lunge at each other, and
  4. America will be left all the more confused after their high-octane, energy-packed, verbally violent debates!
Huckabee is as conservative as Hillary is liberal – they are opposites that don’t attract…at all. Recently Huckabee said that Hillary’s interview on CNN was too painful to watch, and I think Hillary isn’t smitten by him either.
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.