This past Sunday I was mingling around the local Target when I saw a giant inflatable pencil hanging from the ceiling, a harbinger of "Back to School" sales for school children the same way that a hanging sword was a reminder of close doom for Damocles.
Juxtaposed between that odd encounter and this week's theme of "Back to School" inspired this new illustration. Though I felt like I was the one under the threat of a hanging deadline. Turning something around from concept to completion was a real challenge but I'm grateful for the experience as it gave me quite the shot in the arm during a creative dry spell.
Originally I was going to spoof the famous ending of "Planet of the Apes" with two children walking done the beach only to come across an enormous pencil, but didn't think that would get the idea of "impending" doom across. Other ideas I thought of included a giant pencil erasing the word "Summer" while two children ran in terror, or another involving a big pencil sneaking up on unsuspecting swimmers ala "Jaws". Eventually I opted to just "drop the bombshell" on these two kids that summer vacation was over as that notion presented a good opportunity to see their shocked faces. I made sure to include an inscription on the sign of the pencil to indicate what it meant like you might see in an editorial cartoon and also serve as a subtle homage to the "Hi There!" bomb from "Dr. Strangelove", though sadly lacking Slim Pickens. (Have I talked about how much I love movies yet?)
Like I said the short deadline was a great learning experience for me. Far too often I can get caught up in the little details and miss sight of the big picture. Tightening my leash meant producing things not only more quickly but also more broadly so that the image is more legible.
It reminds me of the something Nicholas Meyer said about directing William Shatner on "Star Trek II"; The takes you did with his lines, the more he lost his bravado and it let the character of Kirk shine through. That's kind of what I'm looking to do here. With a weekly turnaround I can increase my output, polish out my rough spots through the constant steam of new projects as well as develop greater spontaneity.
Other returning students from the League: