Last month, I was commissioned by Zeit Magazin to do a feature project for them. The subject? Drawings of cool contemporary furniture set in unusual natural environments.
The challenge of doing a piece with no humans was something I would have been reluctant to suggest to an art director, and I've never really felt like environments were my strong suit, but the fact Zeit was tossing the prospect of 9 illustrations fitting this description seemed too crazy to not say "yes" to. Working outside my comfort zone on a cover and 8 full-page images with a tight deadline seemed to have "disaster" written all over it. Sign me up!
I knew I would have to simplify the images and focus on loose drawings if I was to get the job done on time, which was the fun part. Typically I like to do a very tight drawing if I'm going to be working with a subject I am uncomfortable with, but for these, there was no time, and it seemed like the better solution would be to do a much looser sketch, and basically do the drawing on the fly with ink and brush.
The ironic part about this is that it's how I prefer to draw, but years of trying to be a better designer of images has gotten me into the habit of being meticulous about my compositions. I am 100% certain that the drawings wouldn't have been nearly as successful, though, if I had gone a different route.
Here are all 9 images, including the cover with type, sketches, and some progress work. I hope you enjoy it!