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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The New Yorker - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

I did a portrait of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds for last week's issue of the New Yorker.  This was a dream job in many ways for me.  Before becoming an illustrator I was a musician (with the Philadelphia-based band National Eye), and Nick Cave has always been one of my favorite artists.  I love how his voice comes through in whatever he does, whether one of his musical projects or in his writing of novels and films.  My first memory on getting the job was going at midnight with my friend Rick to get a copy of "The Boatman's Call" when it was released and listening to it over and over.  I had actually been listening to his new album "Push The Sky Away" almost non-stop for two weeks when I got the call for this.

Another reason this was a dream job for me was that I got to work with AD Jordan Awan, a great illustrator in his own right.  When I first started promoting my work he was one of the few AD's who wrote back to me.  He even took the time to let me know which pieces of mine he liked, and which pages of my sketchbooks he enjoyed, suggesting that I perhaps push my artwork in those more personal directions.  As my artwork changed and evolved over the last two years of professional work, he would occasionally send me a note of encouragement.  So often in making and promoting illustration work it feels like you are shouting into emptiness, so those small acts of his meant a huge deal to me, and gave me the courage and conviction to continue pushing towards a more personal, honest voice in my work. 

Even though it was a pretty quick turnaround, I did 43 thumbnails for the job, wanting to nail it.  I ended up sending Jordan 6 that I thought would work.  Below are three, including the one we ended up going with.  And again, thank you, Jordan. 


Chris Whetzel said...

Great piece, Jeff. What was the turnaround? I ask because the image looks so refined (if that makes sense).

This is a great story of how an AD encouraged an illustrator to follow their gut. It's great to hear about a relationship that grew out of a mutual appreciation of each other's work!

John W. Tomac said...

Very cool looking image. Great composition.

Jeffrey Alan Love said...

Thanks Chris and John. Chris, call thursday evening, sketches saturday, final monday at 9am.