Super Bowl Volunteers

This illustration ran in the Bay Area News Group family of papers back on Thursday, June 25. I try to post here on the same day it prints, but I've been on staycation, cutting back on time spent sitting in front of the computer. It's good to (mostly) disconnect now and then.

Drawn in Manga Studio and Photoshop. Open in a new window for a much larger image.

The day I began work on this assignment I had forgotten to bring my drawing tablet with me. I had to find a pencil and draw on paper. I know it doesn't sound too tough but there was panic and despair -- I hardly ever get to work on paper anymore. It feels weird, but after a few minutes warming up, it wasn't so bad. I thumbnailed my basic idea, gathered reference and created the rough in a couple of hours with the help of my iPad camera and Photoshop. It was fun and didn't slow me down much at all. The rough was approved and I started on the final.

The rough! Pencil and paper arranged in Photoshop.

Jumping back a little bit, I should explain that the story was about how the NFL recruits volunteers in host cities (San Jose this up-coming season) to put on the big game. The NFL relies a great deal on the host community to help out with the huge influx of visitors and press and whatnot. You can read the story online here. It's by Patrick May, one of the writers I work with regularly, and he always does a great job telling the story.

I started to think that Kaepernick may not be the best person to put on the poster. I sent out an email explaining to the editors that maybe Tom Brady should be on there. He is the reigning Super Bowl MVP, immediately recognizable, and much more likely to find his way back to the Super Bowl than the 49ers QB, I'm sorry to say. I heard back from only one editor, and the response was "sounds good!"

So, I drew Tom Brady and put him on the poster and forged ahead on the rest of the illustration.

As I was heading toward the end zone, ready to spike the ball and kiss my bicep, the other editors began to reply to my email and the consensus was we should use Kaepernick instead of Brady, mostly due to the "deflate-gate" nonsense which was flaring up again at the time. If people saw Tom Brady on the front page they would think it was about cheating. Yeah, they were right. Darn. I had to add a bit more hustle to get it re-done.

Every time I put my feet up and think I've got it made, it turns out I'm brutally wrong. Oh, well.

Here is how it looked in the paper:

The End

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