Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The One that Got Away


Friday at 5pm, I got the biggest call of my editorial career- the cover of Sports Illustrated. Illustrators certainly think of the cover of Time and the New Yorker as the crowning jewels of our industry- but Sport Illustrated hasn't had an illustrated cover in a long long time- according to their Design Director. Of course, with Sports Illustrated, a weekly magazine, you don't have much time. Final art due by Monday, they close the issue at 2pm. For the high honor of an SI cover I'd have to chain myself to my desk for the next three days- but it would be worth it if I could pose the following question to my friends at parties for years to come, "What do I have in common with LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Jacque Vaughn and Brooklyn Decker?"

With Colorado leaving the Big 12 conference for the PAC-10, and Nebraska leaving for the BIG TEN- the fate of the athletic college landscape rested with the University of Texas. They dramatically announced last week that they were leaving for the PAC-10 and taking four other with them. Goodbye Big 12. The concept for the cover was to illustrate the PAC-10 as a golden paradise- drawing all the great teams into the beautiful Rose Bowl.



I sent the first sketch on Saturday and we were revising the mascot placement every few hours as news broke about which teams were going where. I should have seen where this was going...





Sunday was quiet and I spent most of the 24 hours drawing and painting on the final art- just hoping that Texas didn't get cold feet before the closing of the magazine on Monday.

I sent in the final art, exhausted, right on time.

Just as the email leaves, I see this story on ESPN. Texas is going to stay. Story over. The PAC-10 isn't the promise land, it is just another conference. The cover is dead.

This is the point in the post where I write with great eloquence about the nature of our industry. Perhaps I will even evoke terms of poetry to describe how the tight deadlines and pressure-cooker editorial changes creates the very fiber of our business, which at the core, is thrilling to be a part of on a daily basis.

This is the point in the post when I can say that pouring three days into something like this to have it flushed by a 3pm press-release just stinks. Now, if you'll, excuse me, I need to get back to the drawing board.





12 comments:

Brian Taylor Illustration said...

Man. Too bad.

anne said...

brutal! but excellent process blog post about illustration industry, wow!!!

Wilson Swain said...

sorry to hear it. ugh. you'll get more calls and covers.

cagedwisdom said...

I know what you already have in common with Brooklyn Decker.

DB Dowd said...

Okay, the outcome sucks, but you can say you were the first guy to (almost) do an SI cover in 25 years. You can (almost) put that on the resume, I guess. Crap!

John Hendrix said...

Thanks everyone- feeling much better about it now.

SI said...

That must have felt really really wrong. But good on you for getting back up on your feet again. Thats hugely admirable!

國昆國昆 said...
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怡婷 said...
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Dan Z. said...

Looks great no matter what! Totally adorable Mizzou Tiger. If you wanna look on the bright side, you don't have to worry about the mythical SI Cover Curse...

Louise Smythe said...

:(

David Apatoff said...

Ouch. But being asked was a great triumph-- it reaffirms what league you're in-- and the artwork itself remains permanently splendid, regardless of what Texas did. You have a lot to be proud of.