Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Guns of August

I've recently begun doing banners for the Capital New York, an online publication which is still in its beta phase. Capital New York was co-founded by former New York Observer editor Tom McGeveran.
What's great about Capital New York, apart from just really solid writing, is Tom's goal to include illustration as an integral part of the site, which includes a new banner every week. Other artists to create banners have been Steve Broder (one of my illustration idols) and Alex Citrin. My first banner was a portrait of M.I.A. during her controversial performance at Governor's Island, where sound problems caused her to throw her mic at the sound crew and spit at cameras before a huge downpour started.
This time around, Tom wanted to cover the theme of "the Guns of August" meaning all of the big, flip outs that have happened lately, which includes JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater, David Dinkins flipping the bird, and K Rod assaulting his father-in-law as well as the giant police shoot out in Harlem.
Part of the challenge with these banners is creating an image within such a specific format (708x145 pixels) as well as designing the image to fit nicely with the layout of the Capital New York site. With the sketches, I tried to include all of the subjects in the same melee, as though this were some kind of conspiracy of ridiculous behavior. I also really wanted to include the text "The Guns of August" because it just seems so ominous and cinematic.Both Tom and I really liked the first sketch. I was jumping at the opportunity to do such dramatic poses as well as the detail of the Harlem buildings in the background. Although we opted to change the poses of the three central characters as to not imply that they were all fighting each other.After we agreed on this composition, I went ahead with the drawing. Because of the size of the banner I did nearly the entire drawing with a Micron pen rather than my usual brush to preserve as much detail as possible.From the beginning of the drawing, I already had a color palette in mind. In looking up reference photos of K Rod, I really enjoyed the colors of the Mets jerseys (maybe because of the similarity to that of the Detroit Tigers) and I figured that they could extend to the entire image, including Slater's JetBlue uniform.I'm very happy with the piece and how well the colors ended up working. I'm especially happy with how nicely it fits into the top of the Capital New York site.I always have a blast working with Tom and Capital New York and certainly look forward to the opportunity again!
Stay tuned as I'm working on a couple of new pieces that I'm very excited to show.


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