Monday, February 15, 2010

Pay Up Sucker

Illustration by Graham Smith for The Washington Post

Marianne Seregi, the Topic Designer for the business section of The Washington Post, called last week with an illustration assignment for an article about debt collectors, and how they are trying to change their perceived negative image.

For this section cover illustration, I presented a number of ideas ranging from vague and safe, to scathingly editorial.

This was the safe sketch, paper sharks circling a debtor cut from paper money.

I was hired based on my ability to draw people well with pen and ink, the irony is, that I didn't use pen and ink in the final execution. Inking her made her into a specific person, instead of generalized debtor, so I thought it better to present her as receipts and money.

This sketch was a bit too much for The Washington Post, and I can see why. A giant cockroach on the section cover, on Valentines day, just might put folks off their breakfast. The writer, Christian Davenport, came up with new headlines to fit each new round of sketches. This rejected sketch would have potentially been paired with, "Debt collectors: We're not just here to bug you. We promise."

What do you folks think, is it better to present a safe sketch, an edgy concept, or both?


alex fine illustration said...

I personally liked the cockroach guy but the final turned out great!

Graham Smith said...

Thanks! I knew the cockroach guy was pushing it for the Washington Post, but their lawyers super hated it.

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