LA Times

By Nightfall

Editorial assignments are generally fast-moving targets, and having one good shot seems like the best you can usually hope for.  So the chance to take two swings at the same subject for two different assignments was unexpectedly nice.  The assignments were book review illustrations for Michael Cunningham's new novel "By Nightfall," in which the main character, a successful Manhattan art dealer, begins to question the life and career he's built after the his wife's younger brother enters their lives.

The first call was from Nick Vogelson at OUT, and the focus was on a specific chapter in the book to accompany an interview piece with the author.  Below are the sketches, a few color phases and the finished piece.

Shortly thereafter, I got a call from Paul Gonzales at the LA Times to do a piece for their book review with a broader focus on the overall story.  It's rare opportunity to do a second finish on the same concepts and characters so in the LA Times piece, I tried more of a designed poster format.  Below are the sketches and the finished piece, where the main character is being pulled between two worlds with his wife on his arm and a young and bright figure drawing his attention behind him.  Overall a lot of fun to do both, much thanks to Nick and Paul for being great ADs as always.

Kings of the Earth

"Kings of the Earth" illustration

Here is an illustration I did for the LA Times book review. The book is Jon Clinch's latest book Kings of the Earth: A Novel about the lives and deaths of a family on a rural upstate New York farm. After going through the first half dozen sketches based on the short synopsis available before the book's release, I realized the ideas were really just guesses at plot points and character descriptions. For the final sketches (the last three which I submitted), I tried to keep the themes broader and more symbolic rather than narrative.

Ultimately the obscured, voyeuristic family photo idea was selected, and the finished piece ended up running in black and white (below right). But as luck would have it on newsprint the black and white version gives off an eerie documentary feel that hopefully helps drive home the concept of the story's unsettling, incomplete history. Much thanks again to Judy Pryor for the assignment.

"Kings of the Earth" illustration process and print