The Sunday New York Times Book Review is the section of the paper that hangs around our house the longest, it’s usually still on the dining table when the next week’s edition arrives on the front porch. Nicholas Blechman calls the best illustrators and if they are like me, they always say yes to his assignments. So when he called last week to ask if I had time for a cover illustration I was in.
This was for a review of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism” by Bill Keller. Nicholas’ only request was to avoid a portrait of Teddy Roosevelt and focus on the turn-of-the-century journalism aspect of the story, and that maybe the image should include some headlines. I made a list of things that appeared in Keller's review and designed a collage that carried some of the pounding-typewriter-vitality of the era. Blechman recently sent out a Twitter communication that said “Illustrators: you don't need to add texture to your images, there is already enough dirt in the newsprint itself,” so I kept to flat colors on this one. I was surprised the reporter’s cigarette and office bottle survived.
So wonderful. I hear the music and see the action. In the argot of the era, it has biff and bang. You could do a great animation about that campaign, particularly on the relationship between these two big guys. The NYr review of the book reports that DKG reveals that Taft actually got through some reforms that TR gets credit for. Strange for the first modern conservative Republican. That was the moment of split. About to have another. Will Christie be the new TR (with the belly of Taft!)? People are surprising.
TatsuroNovember 16, 2013
I think even the preliminary rough sketch is already a work of art.
David FlahertyNovember 16, 2013
Lots going on in there! Like sketch two as well.
Victor JuhaszNovember 16, 2013
Love this illustration, Paul. Such great energy, composition and color. What do you do with your sketches?
Rob DunlaveyNovember 17, 2013
That's fun Paul. It's nice to see this type of designed cartoon-like intricacy still getting airplay in major publications.
Paul RogersNovember 17, 2013
Thanks for the kind words, nice to read, especially coming from artists I admire so much. Victor, I have a drawer full of pencils, same as you.
David GoldinNovember 20, 2013
Great post. Beautiful job!
Douglas FraserNovember 21, 2013
You are one of the best. Thank you for this symphony of colours.