Mr. Lincoln goes to Hollywood (1 of 2)

A while ago, I was contacted by the Smithsonian magazine to do a cover illustration for their article about the upcoming movie by Steven Spielberg: Lincoln.

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After the editorial brief, based on the working title: “Mr. Lincoln goes to Hollywood”, I provided them a series of sketches based on the instructions and guidelines provided to me by the art director ; as always:  I did some very simple sketches with enough information to get the idea across, featuring of course Abraham Lincoln.

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After viewing a lot of proposal sketches, the editorial selected the sketch above (on the right) that fitted their requirements.

There are a lot of pictures of Abraham Lincoln,  lucky for me after a lot of research found a reference that I could use legally. Of course we are all familiar with that photo of Lincoln, I had to use the reference as a base and put an interpretation for the illustration that was not too far from the actual photograph but with enough small variation to make it my own.

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I also looked at other pictures of Abraham Lincoln depiction: mostly sculpture, because the reference is rather flat for information, by looking at sculpture of Mr. lincoln, it gave me other interpretations of the man’s face as guidelines.

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Because we are all familiar with the existing depictions of Lincoln, little details always come up when one does illustration: what colour were his eyes?

These are small details that always come across the execution of any illustration for an illustrator. I love the internet: the best tool ever for research. Why do I bother being diligent when I do my assignments: probably by my nature and also my many years of doing commercial illustrations. The last thing you want; is to have a phone call from the client after the delivery of the final art and having the client asking you: “are you sure about this or that”. Because I started my carreer painting in oils, I realized then that it was easier to research any project properly, rather then correcting later… in oils.

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Time to add skin textures and defining some wrinkles: a bit of humanity!

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According to the client’s choice; they opted for the sketch with a film strip to be part of the concept. I also added the idea of using the old sepia photograph look as a support to the concept. Using the film strip as a frame to enhance the idea of an historical figure coming to life.

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As it stand at this point: this is how the illustration of Mr. lincoln was delivered to the Smithsonian Magazine. After discussion at the editorial level, as it happens often, a variation from the original approved sketch; was requested. To be fair, they (the client) are the end user of the image, as an illustrator I am aware of that situation having been doing illustration for 30 years: did I agree: not my call at that point!

At the end: on the news stand the viewer will never have seen any previous versions.

So here are the final version and the revised version (right) as requested by the editorial staff.

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