A nice assignment from the Sunday (yesterday's) LATimes Op-Ed Page. Wes suggested portraying Trump as a stand up comic to illustrate the idea that Trump and hid scary politics have been dismissed as a joke by so many. I needed to find the scary element and arrived quickly at the strangled eagle hidden from view. Was channelling Grosz and Gropper and the Simplicissimus gang when drawing the clueless electorate down below.
Future Panic Now!
I've been thinking about our gleeful surrender of privacy as a society, for some time now. My parents' generation coveted their privacy and warned about intrusions. Now with social media, there is this expectation to broadcast our every moment, whether real or mythologized. Drones add a new dimension of spying and data collection to the fray. It's easy to slip into paranoia. So when the assignment for the new issue of The Baffler landed, it was an opportunity to gather these thoughts (and phobias) into a single image. Thanks to Patrick Flynn for the complete trust he defers to all the artists he works with.
Je Suis Charlie
We all awoke to the devastating news today that our French comrades in art were slaughtered by the killers of a twisted ideology. Rest in peace to those who made us laugh while exposing the unsettling truth. When I am moved to tears, it is quickly followed by a reactionary burst of creativity. This image is the visceral response. I emailed it to the first art director on my list and as a result will be on tomorrow's WSJ editorial page.
I've always wanted to make picture books.
Two years ago, I was contacted by the art director at Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins asking me to come in and pitch some ideas. Naturally, I was thrilled. I had quite a few one-book stories on reserve, but they were clearly looking for a cat character that would sustain a series. They had seen one of my drawings of a dancing cat buried deep within one of my online galleries, and at the meeting, the publisher asked if I could spin a story around her. Meanwhile, my lovely wife Julie, who studied literature and teaches English, had been brainstorming story ideas about a city cat who goes on misadventures. I suggested that Julie write the story, and they agreed. And so the exciting process of crafting a story and dummy book began.
Making a children's book is quite a departure from my solo career of turning around socio-political drawings to adrenaline-driven deadlines, and seeing the results published the next day. But our collaboration has been an amazing experience. Our trust and respect for each other's ideas has been the key to the making of the book. We have two small children, and so although creating the time to work together has been a challenge, we couldn't have asked for better inspiration.
When the dummy was finished and presented, the publisher gave us exciting news: they loved the book and offered us a two book contract. And thus, Little Lola was born.
The first book will be shipping out to bookstores April 2. We are learning as we go, about marketing, school visits, reviews, promotion on social media, etc. It has been, and continues to be a great ride. With the help of the uber-talented, Mr. Zimm- whom I have known and respected since the freelancer bullpen days at The New York Times- we have a website ready at LittleLolatheCat.com. And the book received a positive review from Kirkus here and an unexpected boost from Amazon, whose editors selected it as one of the top 20 picture books of the season. We are indebted to our wonderful publisher, Virginia Duncan (also our fine editor) and talented art director, Paul Zakris for their guidance and support. And to everyone at Greenwillow, where it feels like home.
What follows is a selection of art from the book.
A Plan of One's Own
A recent drawing on the GOP attempting to shape an alternative helthcare reform plan.
Add mice to the list of things I like to draw. This is a few in a series of sepia ink and brush drawings for an Audubon newsletter. The story is about a mouse that lives in a n old retired typewriter. when the typewriter is ressurected during a power outage, the mouse is struck with a key and branded with a "P".
The Attack on Women
A quick turn over illo on the recent spate of attacks on women, in the media, for the WSJ.
There was a specific request to have the victim wear an expression of resignation. I had to supress tthe urge to sketch the obvious - a look of horror.