Fall, it seems, has finally fallen. And I greet it with mixed emotions. You see, I’m not a huge fan of cold weather. In fact, before I started creating artwork for A YEAR IN THE CITY, I always favored a temperature-controlled car to the out of doors. But art does funny things to people. It draws them out, it stretches their boundaries. It opens up the windows, no matter the weather.
That having been said, I took the photos for this illustration on a lovely day in May, so it really wasn’t much of a struggle. The struggle came later, when I sat down to draw our city’s namesake. It was to be my first calendar page for A YEAR IN THE CITY. January 2018.
I was excited at the prospect of illustrating sculpture. I remembered having studied a Michelangelo painting in college in which the same figure appeared twice in the very same pose, but from two different angles. It was suggested by my professor that “Mikey” was essentially painting a statue, and in so doing, he was showing off his ability to understand form. The takeaway for me was that one could make art from art.
While I had never tried it before, I had a feeling that the sculptural surface of King Louie would prove to be much more forgiving than skin or fabric for rendering. There would be less modeling, making the surface conducive to my style of illustration. What I wasn’t prepared for, however, was just how dull the king’s bronze casting was going to look on the printed page.
To remedy the situation, I drew from my color theory days, hitting the highlights with warm colors and the shadowed areas with cool colors. And that worked just fine for a sunny day. But then I remembered…this was supposed to be January! I ditched the blue sky and brought in that beautiful pink one you might see in January. That’s right, I drew a sunlit Louie on a winter’s night. And, despite my aversion to cold weather, I let the snow fall where it would.
King Louie appeared in the 2018 calendar. He has since been offered as a print, a notecard, and a holiday card. A YEAR IN THE CITY calendars and gifts are available at ayearinthecity.com/shop and in several St. Louis shops, including Down by the Station, Union Studio, and The Missouri History Museum Gift Shop.