Art Directors's Corner 
The images on this page are reprinted with permission of the artists.

Joe Heroun, art director for The New Republic, discussed the magazine's 12/2/09 cover in an 11/23 e-mail:

"The concept originated with the idea of a silhouette of Obama, deliberately ambiguous to encompass a range of related stories. We didn't want his face showing to avoid the typical expressions of confidence, triumphalism, conflict, etc., none of which applied to the spectrum of articles in the package and which would seem routine and less compelling than withholding such clues.

"The nuance of gesture was critical; and we wanted no trace of snark or attitude, so a classically-trained artist like Robert Hunt, with his elegant and straight-forward painterly style, hit the right tone, respectful without being hagiographic.

"In the process of searching for reference to base the painting on, I deviated from the silhouette approach when I came across the low-angle, rear view photograph of Obama, which we decided was more interesting than a silho but accomplished the same objective. The silhouette idea also had the potential of appearing sinister, whereas the rear view was not likely to be misinterpreted."

The artist Robert Hunt described his work in an 11/18 entry on his blog.  He includes some of the color paintings he sketched out:

"The idea was to depict the president as he emerges to face the trials by fire that lie ahead for his administration.

"More and more I find it easier and faster to make color paintings as sketches, as opposed to detailed pencil sketches. In this case, where the painting technique  would be an intergral part of the illustration, it seemed essential. I showed a number of ideas as I sketched them over a day and a half to art directors Christine Car and Joe Heroun."

Images of Obama appear as details in this illustration for The Weekly Standard's 9/14/09 cover by Thomas Fluharty.  Obama is shown on the campaign-type button the central figure is wearing and on the cover of an earlier issue of The Weekly Standard in the man's pocket.  Fluharty discussed how he developed the cover in a 9/7 entry on his blog:

"This cover was way too much fun. It's a 'take off' of the famous Rockwell painting which I spoofed. The main dude in the painting is my great friend and artist GARY LOCKE. The gnarly others are no-ones in particular ( I did make them extra gnarly tho). I've included a screen grab of how I created the the female character. I don't go out and shoot models, I find a face that works (the guys face) and then make it the gender I need. I only do this on quick turn-arounds. This job came in on thurs 11am and I finished by Friday 3:30 pm."

Here is another cover by Fluharty. 
The art director's drawing and Fluharty's rough sketch are shown.

Copyright © 2010  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action