One of my first jobs out of school was a black and white illustration for The Progressive, roughly 4 years ago - it was a fun little article about wacky 9/11 conspiracy theories. After that first gig I kept doing illustrations for the progressive, once every few months for the past four years, I always got great articles and lots of creative freedom. Then finally, about a month ago, I got an email from art director Nick Jehlen, but this time the subject was: Cover?. This was a great opportunity, after all these years of working with the magazine getting to do the cover was a real honor and I decided I was not going to disappoint them.
The cover article dealt with the growing foreclosure issue in america. Rather then a specific event, I was looking to capture the general feel of desperation and hopelessness that came through while reading the article. I came up with a few sketches and sent them out, the AD decided to go with the one where I had a conceptual play with negative space - the image which had the most contrast and drama.
Sometimes leaving a large 'empty' space in a composition can be a very powerful tool, and can create a subtle yet graphic effect. The color choice was also very minimal, with only dabs of warmth on the family's faces. The result below: