Herman Wouk Is Still Alive

"Herman Wouk Is Still Alive" illustration
This month's issue of The Atlantic is on stands now, and features a new short fiction piece by Stephen King that I was asked to illustrate.  The story (which is available on The Atlantic's site), follows two young mothers who win a small sum in the lottery and a retired couple from outside Fairfield, Maine whose lives eventually intersect.  The illustration appears alongside the first page of the text, so one of the challenges was to allude to the end without undermining the narrative that was taking you there.

The thumbnail sketches below were jotted down in pauses while reading, and rougher than usual since much of the idea phase ended up being done through an ongoing dialogue with the Art Director, Jason Treat.  The conversation was especially helpful with such an emotional and highly-charged story. The third sketch, which was an interior of a van, came up as a strange/interesting option for the bleak but beautiful world the story is set in. And below that is a slightly more worked-out composition, and then the ink and wash underpainting, which was then finished digitally (above.)  Much thanks to Jason for the opportunity.
"Herman Wouk Is Still Alive" thumbnails
"Herman Wouk Is Still Alive" process