Hornet’s Nest

ChronicleHE, Newsday, WSJ

In early November, I received a cover assignment from the Chronicle of Higher Education, with an accompanying inside illustration on a rather controversial topic (which I didn’t realize was going to be so controversial at the time). The story was about Jewish Universities, and how certain guest speakers who held public opinions that were deemed anti-Israel were finding their speaking engagements cancelled at these venues. I was surprised to find myself the subject of a number of angry letters to the publication after this pair of illustrations appeared in print. The surprising thing was that the angry letters didn’t seem to be so much directed at the writer of the article, but at the art that accompanied it. To be perfectly honest, it rattled me quite a bit. I didn’t think that the art was any more inflamatory than the article, but it seemed to touch a rawer nerve for some reason. I guess what they say is true, a picture really is worth a thousand words. I became a little worried about my future prospects from this client, who I had been working for since the early 90s, but they were very nice about it, and I continued to receive steady work from them. This is really the first time in 18 years of working in this business that I’ve been involved in a situation like this, and it was a bit eye opening about the power of the image in some people’s eyes. The cover illustration appears above, and the inside illustration appears below.

Aside from the inflamatory message, and speaking only for the art, I was rather pleased with this pair of images. I liked the color scheme, for once (I often am disappointed with my efforts at large color images), and I was really happy with how the hair on the woman in the foreground turned out. Thanks to my wife, Terri for posing for the women in the picture, and I used myself for the men in the picture (changing features of course, since we needed a nice racial mix). As for the inside illustration. It seemed to not quite fit with the image on the cover (other than the ‘gag’ theme), I probably should have tried a little harder to tie the two together. But it seems to stand on its own fairly well.
Not much else came across the desk in early November. I had another ‘dubious health care’ column spot for the Wall Street Journal, this one on ‘alcohol’s benefits to pregnancy’. One of my more ‘goofy’ concepts for this regular feature, that I was surprised that the editors chose.

I also had a rather uninteresting same day assignment for Newsday. This one was more heavily art directed than most, where they provided the idea of what they wanted, and I was in the position of just ‘putting it to paper’ as they say. I found a way to make it interesting for myself, playing around with the curtains and the shading on the map.