Monday, May 16, 2011
The Twelve Wonders of New Mexico
Clockwise starting from upper left: Ancient Wonders, Dive Bar Wonders, Grave Wonders, Wonders to Avoid
A couple of weeks ago, the Weekly Alibi approached me to do a series of twelve black-and-white spot illustrations (3x3") for their feature "The Twelve Wonders of New Mexico". The art director provided me with a list of twelve different kinds of wonders that was further subdivided into lists of seven specific wonders... For a grand total of 84 different wonders! I live for jobs like this. The more info I get, the happier I am. I had a ton of fun trawling the internet for visual references and tried to stuff as many different wonders into each illo as I could.
For instance, for the upper left "Ancient Wonders" illustration, I included Chaco Canyon ruins, Acoma pottery, Bandelier National Monument, Ghost Ranch (with its coelophysis dinosaur bones), and a Chaco Canyon petroglyph.
Here's the feature article!
Clockwise starting from upper left: Sci-Fi Wonders, Natural Wonders, Religious Wonders, Roadside Wonders
Composing in squares is always challenging, because of how symmetrical they are. Because these are spot illustrations, I didn't want most of them to feel square -- I think only two of them really do. This job addressed the same concern I have when doing my Macleans jobs; I didn't want them to look the same. And because all of these are appearing together, it was even more important that they didn't look TOO similar. But just similar enough!
Clockwise from upper left: Underwhelming Wonders, Water Wonders, Weird Wonders, Old West Wonders
I had four days to complete all twelve. Let me tell you, it was a race to the finish the whole way! I've always felt that one of my weaknesses is how slowly I work. But as I get more experience, I'm finding that I'm getting faster and better. If I'd gotten this job a few years ago, I'd probably would have panicked, cancelled all my weekend plans, and then panicked some more.
In fact, for the Macleans job I got right after this one, the art director complimented me on my speedy turnaround -- and that one I screenprinted!
All throughout school and for a few years after, I was constantly frustrated by how hard it was for me to make illustrations. Uphill both ways, walking into the wind with an albatross around my neck HARD. There'd be an occasional job here and there that wouldn't be as tortuous, but for the most part it was an epic slog to the finish. That's changed somewhat. And I feel really good about that.
Overall, I'm very pleased with how these turned out. Too bad I missed the deadline for The Society of Publication Designers spot illustration competition!