That's How Close It Was

Today's illustration is another collaborative exercise featuring dollar bills so expertly rendered by the artist Chuck Todd that he is likely under governmental surveillance. Fans of art – and concerned federal agents – can see more of his criminally fine artwork at

I estimate our effort was completed, from a standing start, in less than one shift's time. Mr. Todd whipped up the initial thumbnail, Mr. Daymond Gascon designed a layout around the thumbnail, and then I began fleshing out the drawing.

Hands are one of my favorite things to draw -- whether I draw them well or not -- but almost every hand-drawing I undertake results in a surprise. For this piece I invented a hand, similarly posed, but it looked wrong. It was interesting and not terrible, but it was distracting. As a supporting character, it had to be an accurate, tame and humble hand.

I took a quick PhotoBooth picture of my own hand, placed it in photoshop and traced over the top of it… but it looked weird, too. Using my weird tracing and the photo as reference, I drew the final that you see here. Time was lost to that wobbly process but I managed to create an unremarkable human paw.

The hat was fairly quick work and the floating rectangular shapes for the money were easy to do. (Looking at this now I should have had them complete their fall into the hat. Woulda looked better.)

The big slowdown started when I was confronted with the app-style logos. My intention was to create quick versions in illustrator and then work over the top of them in photoshop in a manner similar to the rest of the illustration, to make a more harmonious presentation.  But I'm slow and out of my element working in Illustrator. As I worked to make even simple logos, the deadline sprinted faster.

I was beginning to sweat a little when Chuck Todd offered to fill in all those dollar bill shapes I had roughed out. Hmm. Drawing that would be really boring, I thought. "Sure," I said. "I mean, I want to draw many dollar bills, but I may not have the time." Ha. Tricked him into it.

How it appeared in the paper
Good thing! Even with the assist I wasn't going to be able to create and trace those logos. I opted to make them look like actual app-style buttons, all vectored-out and unashamedly different from the drawing. A necessary compromise.

It was easy to drop in Chuck's money and I colored them quickly. I arranged and re-arranged the elements for a few minutes, splashed some spattery splatterings in the back ground and sent it to be placed on the page. 

The deadline snapped shut as I hit "send." Page designer Jennifer Morris placed it on the page, made a few adjustments and that was that.

If the deadline was a trap in an Indiana Jones movie, and Indy reached back into the trap to grab his hat before making his escape, his arm would have been crushed and yanked out of it's socket. Poor Short Round would have had to tie off the artery with the whip and drag him, bloodied and ruined, out of that cave. That's how close it was.

The End.

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