andrewjnilsen

Cheers to Saul Bass, a design an illustration legend who would be 93 today! I would not be the designer and illustrator I am today without his influence.

You can purchase prints of this piece here. Free shipping until May 12th!

Last day as Art Director of SF Weekly

I meant to write this post much earlier today, but you know what? It didn’t happen.

But yes, it’s true. In about an hour, I will be moving on to pursue working for myself. What they hell that will become is something of a mystery right now but looks like freelance illustration and design are at the top of the list.

I will follow-up this post with something proper, but for now, I have nothing but thanks for everyone I have worked with over the course of the three years I’ve been here. There is no doubt that I have done the best work of my career so far while at SF Weekly. I wish it didn’t have to end this soon as there as so many more illustrators I wanted to work with, but alas, sometimes you don’t get to make the choice when things change.

Stay tuned for what will become of me and this crazy brain of mine.

Here’s my first work outside of SF Weekly to be published. Cover illo for a story about how heath care coverage was being denied to those in substance abuse and mental health recovery programs, after they had already been in the program for a few months.

Ideas started with removing a bandage from someones head, the ol’ bandaid cross on a  brain, the blue cross symbol falling out of a head, and someone trying to cling to a cross being hoisted away (an idea I will save for another time).

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Art Director Mike Kooiman liked the bandaid idea but thought it should show the human head. I agreed as that sketch is a bit impersonal.

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I tried some variations on the bandaid idea.

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As well as the missing cross idea.

Mike and I both agreed that the cross was a better approach.

Since the City Pages cover is newsprint, I had to stay away from the color scheme I liked best - black background, white head, blue brain - as white would have let the ad printed on the other side show though and too much black is not a good idea on newsprint. Plus, Mike had a dark/black cover the week before. So red and gold it was.

I struggled a bit with how to show the cross cut out of the brain without using drop shadows or 3D effects. I had it in my head that black was off limits, but duh, in a small quantity it would be fine.

Below are the two finals I submitted. I wasn’t super happy with the textured version when I finished so I went back to the drawing board and drew up a more graphic brain. I’m glad it was the version they used.

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And finally, below is the version that I feel better fits the tone of the story. I guess having glossy covers to work with over the past three years has got me spoiled…

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Big thanks to Mike Kooiman at City Pages for giving me one of my first assignments and my first cover as a freelance illustrator. Cheers!