Illustrators and artists working in black and white have always captivated me, and have been inspirational in keeping me practicing drawing directly with ink in my sketchbooks
. Ink forces you to move only forward in a drawing, which I find instructive and exhilarating, and perhaps the closest to a "live record" of the process.
In most illustration assignments, the ink drawings are just the first step in the process, so it was particularly exciting to get a call to illustrate a series for Mother Jones with ink drawings as finishes. The feature was an excerpt from the upcoming book A Sliver of Light
by Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal, and Sarah Shourd about their experiences as prisoners in the Iranian Evin prison for 780 days beginning in 2009, and the visceral detail and intimacy of each of the voices in the story is astounding. As I re-read it I felt a growing weight of responsibility to create as an honest sense of reportage as is possible secondhand.
The initial sketches were inspired by various personal accounts throughout the piece, and once the ideas had been edited down, I was actually able to discuss additional visual reference and specific details with author Shane Bauer. Much thanks to AD Ivylise Simones
for the collaboration and opportunity to look at things in black and white.