DECEMBER 1, 2011

Man, do I love this job! Thanks to the proliferation of diverse performances of the Tchaikovsky classic this season, (and the good graces of an awesome AD) I got the opportunity to do another headline treatment for this Friday's Journal. Telephone rings Tuesday evening, sketches Wednesday morning, finished art Thursday, just the kind of job I like, no time to over-think and very little to procrastinate.

So, next morning after revving up the engine at a 6:30 spin class, I assemble some thinking tools: my Aquabee #808 super deluxe, Parker Duofold, Presto jumbo correction pen and 1971 edition of Photo-lettering's One-line Manual of Styles (thank you Mr. Benguiat). Two hours later, just as the pen begins to run out my own secret combination of Higgins Fountain Pen India cut with Pilot Kiri-same Iroshizuko, I find myself with a few pages of hopeless scribbles. I throw them onto the scanner and, after a little cut and paste magic in Illustrator, send a half-dozen sketches to my unsuspecting client. Shortly thereafter, word comes back that "A" is the winner. I then get to work, knowing full well how the princess must have felt that evening in a room full of straw with no Rumplestiltskin in sight.

Fast forward to 3:48 pm Wednesday afternoon. How do I know the exact time you may wonder? Because that was the time the dreaded "Spinning Beach ball of Death*" informed me that the last 2 and a half hours or work had vanished into the ozone. Fast forward again to 9:59 pm with a short break for dinner in front of the TV with an episode of "Friends" (The One with the Girl who hits Joey) and the job is complete (and saved in multiple versions on a variety of storage devices). A small triumph for man over machine.

*known also as the "Marble of Doom", "Pinwheel of Misfortune" and, euphemistically as the "Spinning Wait Cursor".

If I was trying to make a "presentation" sketchbook, I probably wouldn never even be able to make a mark.

Presentation sketches are where neatness counts a little more.

The sequence from rough to tight sketches with about 150 intermediate steps missing.

A fun little way to indicate a grainy metallic by layering a medium tone solid under lighter and darker grainy textures.

How do you do a Christmas holiday theme without relying on overused clichés?