Hello Muddy Colors visitors!
Earlier this year, I was asked by Rolling Stone Magazine to paint a cover for them which celebrated the 40th Anniversary of Saturday Night Live! At that time they weren't certain which of their many amazing cast members they wanted to illustrate on the cover, but they finally came up with four: John Belushi, Tina Fey, Bill Murray and Eddie Murphy.
I initially sent more than half a dozen sketches, which gave them a good variety of directions to chose from.
The first sketch was just a beautiful group of portraits of them as actors. Nothing fancy, just real. Maybe in black turtlenecks. Also there's a derivative version with party balloons, etc and more of a vignette.
Then I tried three versions of some of their best known characters. I picked the ones that are visually the funniest. With Eddie Murphy it would be Gumby or Buckwheat, for Bill Murray it would be Todd the goofy adolescent, for John Belushi the samurai or the bees, and for Tina Fey it's definitely Sarah Palin. I did some regular ones, and some that are a bit more distorted.
The art director then wanted a different Eddie Murphy so I sent sketch this sketch. I don't think he liked the Buckwheat character (which seemed too politically incorrect) so I did a sketch with him as Gumby instead.
After waiting a couple of days, I got the go ahead to do three final sketches. These were much more resolved, and I just needed the art director to pick one!
I realized that there would need to be type on the cover and I was nervous about the cover looking too cluttered, so I sent one with lots of white space.
Then, after waiting another little while, the Editors decided to start from scratch and just do one character… John Belushi!
So… I drew three more sketches, from which they finally picked the Samurai version.
Normally the process isn't as labor intensive, but this was a special cover and I think they wanted it just right! I was happy with the final art and I think they were too. After seeing all of the type they had to put on the cover, I'm glad that they actually decided to go with just one figure!
For those interested in learning more, or pursuing a career focused on Editorial illustration and portraiture, I will be teaching a very special summer session of Smart School this coming July and August.
We will be doing two different projects, and covering a number of different topics in the 8 week class. The first project will have to do with Conceptual Portraiture.
I'll be working very closely with you and I promise tons of information and a really hands on experience! I hope to see you there!
For more information, visit SmArt School at: http://www.smarterartschool.com