This past weekend I was working on an illustration for the University of Dayton Magazine from Dayton, Ohio, to illustrate an editorial column by Thomas M. Columbus. It actually was quite a challenge. Thomas’ editorial deals with a lot of ethereal ideas about what we consider a relic in today’s society, often calling them “sacred”.
It was quite tough to pinpoint a direction for an accompanying illustration that would pull the page-flipping reader in to read what he has to say. He was talking about the average, everyday person as being a possible sacred relic. So, my initial thumbnail sketches explored that concept. I drew lots of mundane faces with halos. It felt kind of corny, but I could see it working in color.
I sent the above sketches to Art Director Frank Pauer because the deadline was looming, but it kept gnawing at me. While Frank was pondering the initial sketches, I was chatting with a friend about it when the idea hit me to sketch an idea that was less esoteric and more story-driven – why not have an Indiana Jones type character coming for a baseball signed by Babe Ruth? It’s more of a modern day type of relic, and made more of an editorial comment that complimented Mr. Columbus’ written words. So I worked up the following thumbnail:
As I sent that off, the Art Director came back with the suggestion that I rework sketch C without the halos. So, while he pondered Indy, I did the following color thumbnail sketch of just four faces with a central halo-ish effect. (And yes, for those of you who know me and are wondering, that is me in the upper left corner.)
As I sent this one off, the Art Director got back to me saying they liked the “Indiana Jones” angle. I was glad because that was clearly going to be the most fun for me to illustrate anyway. So, next, I worked up this final pencil drawing for approval. It got the thumbs up.
Check back with me later this week. While the piece is all finished and turned in already, I’ll show you the painting stages and the final piece in my next post! Thanks to the University of Dayton Magazine for allowing me to show you these images!