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GQ Germany 2013

Surviving The Holidays · Final Illustration

In November my amazing agent, Deborah Wolfe, was contacted by Axel Lauer from GQ Magazine Germany with a really great project for me. They had a number of illustrations requests for the Christmas season and I was thrilled to oblige!

As it turns out, I love drawing Christmas imagery (or any seasonal imagery for that matter). There's something about being able to capture some of those vintage americana moments I remember growing up with that is refreshing to my artistic soul - as if I'm painting memories and feelings onto the canvas.

The topics covered in the brief all stemmed from the overarching theme of "Surviving the Holidays" which included couples fighting on New Years, employees enjoying an empty office during Christmas break, and guys enduring family gatherings.  It also included an article on comedian David Sedaris which afforded me the opportunity to do a fun portrait.  Each of the illustrations presented a unique visual challenge I was excited to tackle.

For the Process Junkies: This was also an opportunity for me to use a new step in my working method. I'm always looking for ways to fine tune my methods, especially if I find myself spending too much time with too few results in a particular part of my process. I found that if I print out a sheet of 8.5x11 paper with small boxes scaled down from the final dimension of the illustration, I'm able to quickly iterate on a number of solutions using a good ol' pencil and a few inks.

If that sounds rudimentary, its because it is. Creating thumbnails is illustration 101 but it was a step I wasn't employing before because I was in too much of a hurry to get to the digital canvas working at full size. Hey, we all have room to grow... though my growth often has me going back to basics!

With the process solidified and the project at hand, I was ready to go! I hope you enjoy the results as much as I enjoyed creating them!  Big thanks to Axel for the opportunity and for one of the smoothest editorial projects I've done so far!

The first illustration I did was the couples fighting on New Years.

Couple Fighting · Final Illustration

Couple Fighting · Sketches

Next up was the employee enjoying an empty office during Christmas break. I always enjoy drawing these kinds of scenes where specific elements of the piece are rendered while the paper color itself becomes an element of the illustration.

Relaxing in the Office · Final Illustration

Relaxing in the Office · Sketch

One of my favorite aspects of this assignment was the illustration of Christmas icons. I had a lot of fun drawing these and I think it came through in the finished results.

Christmas Icons · Final Illustrations

Christmas Icons · Sketches

And finally, the portrait of David Sedaris. I didn't have too many details on the story this piece would be accompanying other than it involved Christmas, drugs, and lucid memories recounted by Mr.Sedaris. Overall I'm happy with how everything turned out and excited to see it all in print!

David Sedaris Portrait · Sketch

David Sedaris Portrait · Final Illustration