Friday, March 29, 2013

Measure of Success

For the past year and a half, I've been providing spot illustrations for PittGirl's Last Laugh, a column in Pittsburgh Magazine. Each month, the Art Director sends me the column, and we work up an idea for an image featuring my cartoon version of the writer.

In April's column, she details her efforts to recreate lost family recipes, and urges readers to document them while their relatives are still around to share.
My usual process is to print out the column, read it over a few times and let it percolate in my head, then scribble out some thumbnails on the back as they occur to me. Normally, I'll rough out two or three. This time, I tried a half-dozen ideas before settling on the eventual choice.
The Ouija board and crystal ball/seance sketches seemed a little too busy. The devil's spatula was an amusing image, but didn't really capture the gist of the column. I liked the look of the writer inside a giant measuring cup, and tried two versions of that.

For the final art, rather than showing her as sad or frustrated, we decided on a tired but happy cook who, after some hard work and missteps, successfully revived a family favorite. She's a little disheveled, and her apron sports a few stains, but she's brought back a little souvenir of her grandmother and is savoring the memory. The measuring cup, which resembled a trap or obstacle in the sketches, is now a comforting resting spot after her hard work has paid off.

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