Several weeks ago I was commissioned by Art Director Andreas Wellnitz at Zeit Magazine (a German publication) to illustrate a feature for a short story written by esteemed fictionist Daniel Kehlmann.
The story was essentially about a writer doing an interview feature for a big literary magazine.
I've generally had great experiences with European magazines in the past because they tend to give big assignments and really let me run with them.
I was given an image of the author and asked to illustrate my version of the character from the story in the same position, with which it would be juxtaposed in the magazine. This would be the introduction to the feature. >>Dramatization<<
The character described in the story was essentially a single, mid-40's, successful writer living in Berlin. For me, designing this man's surroundings was sort of a chance to draw what I could imagine to be the surroundings of other successful artists I know, people who make a living from their creativity, and their work environments, living in a big city. I guess the thing I was going for was more a creative person's workspace rather than the usually imaginary super swank famous big city artist experience.
I used my friend and fellow illustrator Doug Cowan as the model for the character. I pushed his hairline back and tried to age him up a bit with gray hair. In reality, he's much more handsome than was appropriate for the story, but Doug can pull off a good angst-ridden artist look, which I thought fit the character's personality well.
Also, they requested that the illustrations feel similar to this piece I did a while back for NYU Magazine.
I will be posting more images from this series in the coming weeks.
Conceptsby Jillian Tamaki
Fellow illustrator and kindrid spirit Jillian Tamaki just wrote this fantastic article about how she comes up with ideas for her illustration assignments. If you don't know her already, you must not be clicking on the links I post on here. Jillian is a Society of Illustrators Gold Medal winner, Ignatz comic award-winner, phenomenal draughtsman and all-around good person. Respect!
Thanks for reading,