Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Walrus



I recently had the honor of illustrating the May cover of The Walrus magazine! (for my fellow Americans that may not know-- it's basically the Canadian equivalent of the New Yorker/Atlantic Monthly/Harpers.) Coincidentally for the May issue, the cover story was about Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party in Canada and the sole Green Party Member of Parliament. Big thanks to AD Brian Morgan! I absolutely love how the cover text came out.


I really enjoyed learning about Ms. May, she's an incredibly smart, capable woman, but as an independent in parliament she's got all the chips stacked against her. For the cover, they wanted Ms. May standing up & speaking from her actual seat in the far corner of the Parliament, up against the yellow curtained wall. Rockwell's "Freedom of Speech" was cited as as a good inspiration:

Since I was given a pretty specific idea for the cover, it seemed like just a matter of putting everything together in a pleasing way. I sent this sketch to Brian, and we kept building from there:
This was generally fine, but Ms. May needed to be at her desk, right against the wall. When looking through photos, I noticed Ms. May often gestures while speaking and wanted to include that.

Reworked to better show Ms. May's actual Parliamentary location & the MPs around her

I felt the image needed some warming, and Brian said I needed to adjust the likeness.





This likeness got closer, and I started adding in the specific MPs around Ms. May (and warming things up even more)
It seemed like there was some drama/color missing, so I added a shadow.
Tightening things up, and making the image more graphic. (I used a hard light layer overlay on the shadows for more saturated colors)
The final image, all cleaned up with some subtle texture on top!

I don't do too many likenesses, but this was a fun (and informative!) challenge, and I'm proud to be featured on the Walrus cover. I wish Ms. May all the best, and hope she likes her portrait!

13 comments:

Christopher S. Jennings said...

Brilliant final image. A study in complementary color geniusnessocity. Thank you for sharing the process. Congrats for landing the gig!

Philip A. Buck said...

Wow Congrats! Thank you for sharing this piece and your process. It is very informative and inspiring! Wowza, you've got mad skillz!

Wouter Bruneel said...

Thanks for sharing your process!

Zeddy said...

Great picture. As a subscriber I am disappointed that the Walrus chose to make a side show their main event in one of the issues.

Owen said...

Awesome work Kali, and the process steps are really cool to walk through.

Craig said...

DAMN! This works on every level. Complete love.

Amy said...

Beautifully done cover! And thanks for generously sharing the steps to final image.

Aaron Becker said...

Thanks for showing your process. Love your work.

Tali said...

So interesting to see the process you went through. Thanks!

Kali Ciesemier said...

Thanks everyone! Glad you liked the sketch reel! :) My work doesn't usually drastically change after a sketch is agreed on, but this ended up being a bit of a different process for me. Fun, though!

S├ębastien Sans-Arcidet said...

This one is awsome

Hallie Bateman said...

Really appreciate the details about your correspondence with the AD. helpful to me as a new art director/illustrator.

asendigo said...

amazed...I am