Monday, June 20, 2011

Finally finished.

This has been a hard illustration of which to let go.  I'm still not completely happy with it, but I doubt I ever will be.  This one is very close to my heart because J.C. Leyendecker is my God.  He was an amazing illustrator.  Simply amazing.  My attempt at homage falls so short of what he deserves, but I can at least say that it is from the heart. 

I printed most of the posters tonight, but I have a few left to finish tomorrow.  There's a limited number and they'll be available for sale this Friday evening at the This Poster is Gay show held at Harvest downtown.  See previous posts for the link providing details.  50% of the proceeds go to the Memphis Gay and Lesibian Community Center!


Saturday, June 11, 2011

I inked them

and I'm not that crazy about them.  I guess I'll stick with the digital Leyendecker-ish painting.  It just makes me feel like a poser, though...because he was the shit.

And yes, I know the hands are too big and in the wrong place.  I did lots of hands and then composited them in the right spot.

A love story

Hey kids, I thought I'd post some progress shots of my poster for the "This Poster is Gay" show on June 24th.  (I'm almost done, Michael, I swear!)  I just want to try an inked version with flat colors and then I'll put the type back on.  It'll totally be done today.  I swear. 

And now...a little back story.

I chose J.C. Leyendecker (my all time favorite illustrator) and his lifelong lover Charles Beach as the subjects for my poster.  Their story is a sweet, but sad one.  J.C. Leyendecker painted hundreds of Saturday Evening Post covers, created the concept of the New Year's Baby and he created the famous Arrow Collar Man.  Norman Rockwell admired Leyendecker so much that he moved into the same neighborhood and pretty much stalked Leyendecker until they became friends.  Many years later Rockwell would serve as a pallbearer in Leyendecker's funeral.

J.C. and Charles met when Charles modeled for one of his illustrations.  One illustration turned into many and before long the two were inseparable.  Eventually Charles moved into the Leyendecker mansion shared by J.C., his brother Frank (also an illustrator) and their sister(kinda crazy if I remember correctly). 

Leyendecker lived in the golden age of illustration when an illustrator could make GOBS of money and a mansion, expensive cars and lots of clothes.  Unfortunately, he also lived in a time when being gay simply was not accepted.  He and Charles spent the rest of their lives together, but did so in secret.  They enjoyed many happy years together, but the stock market crash of 1929 wrecked the economy and his commissions declined.  The already quiet illustrator became even more reclusive and his death at the age of 77 in 1951 went largely unnoticed.  A heartbroken Charles Beach died just one year later.  The saddest part is that while J.C. is buried with his family in New York, no one knows where Charles is buried.  Two men who devoted themselves to one another had to live and love in secret.  Two men; two HUMAN BEINGS who spent their lives together couldn't be laid to rest beside one another in death.  That's heartbreaking.  The info on J.C.'s wikipedia page is ok, but not as detailed as it is in J.C. Leyendecker by Laurence S. Cutler and Judy Goffman Cutler.

This is my homage to Leyendecker's Arrow Collar Man who usually emerged from a black background and was accompanied by a girl in a colorful dress.  Since the Arrow Collar Man was actually modeled after Charles Beach I thought it'd be sweet to give J.C. the same tux and have them emerge from the darkness together.  The only moments that are visible are their quiet glances, the crisp white shirts with vests and their hands held proudly in the other's.  I've also posted the pencil sketch and some of the painting before I added the black.  Few pictures exist of the reclusive Leyendecker and almost non of Charles Beach.  I've posted a photo of J.C. and a few of the Arrow Collar Ads featuring Charles Beach.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Um...I do? I think?

Who's that handosme blue silhouette?  Me.  It's me.  It looks like I have a tumorous growth on my back, but I swear that's just the way my shirt falls.  Anyway, I'm not going to spend too much time talking about this one because I'm not that crazy about it.  The story turned out a little differently than did the synopsis I'd received earlier and upon which had based my illustration.  Needless to say, the night before it was to print I had to completely rethink my ideas and whip out something new.  Many thanks to the ever awesome Lindsey Turner for reading the story as she put it on the page and for not only signaling me that my original idea wouldn't jive, but for also helping me come up with a solid concept to match the actual story.  Basically, the Amazon order fulfillment station(s) they're building in Chattanooga mean herald Amazon getting some special deals with the state of Tennessee that the other businesses in Tennessee don't find fair.  Plus, there's some ther stuff about stepping on the TN constitution.  To be honest I was having a "my brain's not working" kind of day and it really just didn't click.

The other illustration (which should actually appear at the very top) is my favorite from this week.  It's about cutting the cost of your wedding.  Well, not YOUR wedding.  You might not be getting married.  And if you are, someone as high-toned and fancy as yourself may not NEED to cut costs.  Whatever.  Anyway, the article is also about sustainable, eco-friendly, green weddings!  But I was told to just focus on the cost cutting part.  I'm really pleased with this one because I think my groom doesn't look like me.  My male charactes always look like me...or so I'm told.  I completely disagree.  You know...apart from admitting to using my silhouette in that other illustration...for which you're welcome.  :)  Anyway AGAIN, I think he looks like a more handsome Nathan Lane.  My bride looked like Jennifer Lopez at one point (by accident, of course) but during the inking stage some of her features changed slightly and she ended up looking like she does in print...which is cute...I think, anyway.

Someone say something about these things.  If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm really just a child shouting out in a big ol' effort to be the center of attention.  Only, I cuss more than most children and ride a pretty badass motorcycle.