Thursday, October 25, 2012

An Illo for The Observer for one of my favorite writers, Shalom Auslander

So the story of this piece is pretty funny.  I was working with Ed Johnson at the New York Observer - nice guy and witty emailer - knowing that I was going to do a piece for this Shalom Auslander story.  I love Auslander.  I got to know his work from his readings on "This American Life", and I've been reading him ever since.  Suffice to say, I was psyched.  This is the second of his pieces I've done an illo for, and while I liked the first, I felt it could have been better - not for lack of direction, Scott Dvorin is an absolute ACE! - I just didn't like the choice I made for the finish, and I wanted this one to work.  The only problem was . . . . there was no story.  I won't share what Auslander shared with me and the AD, but it was pretty vague.  But he's a great writer.  Him being vague just sent my mind a flutter with ideas.  I understood it to be about the election, death, the onset of winter, and a general malaise associated with the fact we're all at least little bit effed with whoever leads this monstrosity we call the USA (pronounced Yoo-sa - BING has sent me notice that for lack of education funding, we're going phonetic or onomatopoeia-ic [thus "bing"] ).  So I sent a smattering of sketches dealing with death-ish issues and fall.  I sketched an apocalypse now type thing with Auslander as a crazed hunter, a skull and crossbones topiary . . .   I was psyched when the wolves were selected.  Who are they eating?  Bill O'Reilly!!   That's just between us and the NYO readers.  Ed made a good change and said - "Though lets not make Auslander stand-in bloody at the mouth, maybe just his hands. Don't think implying cannibalism makes sense w/ story."  Very true - and a good call.  I responded - "no prob.  no cannibalism after Labor day."    Anyway - it was a quick finish, but I'm happy.  It's a little morbid, a little comic booky, and quite bit bloody: an illustrators dream.

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