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strutting my peacock feathers

BY: | August 13, 2010

I had the honor of being asked to create a cover illustration for the September Self-Promo issue of HOW magazine. Everyone there is a pleasure to work with, and a special thanks to the art director, Bridgid McCarren for bringing me in on this issue. The editor, Bryn Mooth was kind enough to write  a post about the new cover on the HOW blog.

here are the initial roughs:

the inspiration behind the peacock feathers came from a conversation i had once with the amazing, modern day, god father of illustration, Brad Holland. it was at my first showing at the Society of Illustrators in NY. specifically the now defunct 3-Dimensional Salon. Being Mr Holland was one of the judges for the exhibit he came to the opening and it took me all night to get the courage to walk up and speak to him. After we exchanged hellos, he asked about my studio name Red Nose Studio and how many people i had working for me. i told him it was just me and my dog and he chuckled and said i was using the name like peacock feathers, to sound bigger than i was. i kindly replied that i chose the name because it had more character and branding than ‘Chris Sickels Illustration’ and that i hoped it would allow my work to also expand into other markets beyond what was then, for me, mostly editorial illustration. Thanks to Mr Holland for the chance for me to justify and clarify my career objectives, for being a factor in how i was able to show my first pieces at the Society, for being an inspiration when i saw him speak when i was in school in Cincinnati and for leaving an impression that helped me generate this image that ended up on the cover (my forth!) of HOW.

this is the second concept, i like the idea that the character isn’t quite sure how to use the megaphone and the sidekick dog seems to really add a punch line. i am sure this duo will show up again in my sketches.

this one was a bit of a stretch and just didn’t have the quick ‘zing’ that the others had.

this is the chosen concept in the cover template, with an added sidekick, but the sidekick was more of a distraction..

the approved sketch. we decided that the assortment of megaphones showed how he has tried a few other ways to promote himself and that the peacock feathers became the best choice.

these are the fabric swathes and color studies i did for myself prior to the build.

the final cover on newsstands at the end of the month.