posted: March 16, 2009
Initial Cheever drawing...
This was an "unconscious" drawing done as an attempt to free myself up for a cover portrait of John Cheever for the NYT Book Review.
After being intimidated by a blank sheet of paper and the prospect of having to produce a drawing worthy of a cover... I resort to just "playing" around on any scrap paper regardless of whether I've already drawn on it. It's a game I need to play with my head to avoid being too uptight. In this case, I liked what was happening. The overlapping/muliple heads seemed to work with the fact that Cheever was a very complicated and tortured soul. Fortunately (to my surprise) the AD, Nicholas Blechman and the editors agreed. After some tweaking of the image to make it work better for a cover... it ran.
The final cover...
Dale Stephanos March 16, 2009
Joe, I was just about to email you to tell you how much I love this. It's on my kitchen table where I usually doodle. It's humbling to see this up against my drawings.
Brian Stauffer March 16, 2009
That's the magic. I love it.
Roberto Parada March 16, 2009
Nice Cover Joe, I do like the black that you added for the cover adjustment. What admire about your drawings is that you do them in pen and ink, a medium that terrifies me. Eraser = security blanket = me.
Steve B March 16, 2009
This is ultimate virtuosity, and moves right through you like a spirit. This is magic.
Leo Espinosa March 16, 2009
Freeing yourself from the pressure of what a cover for the Times brings and giving it all to the story and the interpretation can be only achieve with talent and experience. You're a pro and and a constant point of reference, Joe.
felix Sockwell March 16, 2009
this was a great surprise.. made even better knowing there were no photochop overlays
Nishan Akgulian March 16, 2009
Great cover, Joe. Very striking and unique; really grabs the viewer's attention.
Marc March 16, 2009
A perfect meeting of technique and concept, Joe, and fun to hear how your intuition still inspires.
Barry Blitt March 16, 2009
Great one, Joe. Very Ciardiellic.
James Steinberg March 16, 2009
It a good thing they went with this Joe. It's what you do best AND It really works well with the biography. Bravissimo.
Adam McCauley March 16, 2009
Wow Joe, this is a knockout!! Polyrhythmic.
Nancy Stahl March 16, 2009
Just when I thought you couldn't possibly get any better...! Really stunning, Joe.
Stephen Kroninger March 16, 2009
Joe, your drawing got to me to read the review and the review got me to re-read some John Cheever stories last night. Great stuff as always.
Chris Buzelli March 16, 2009
Incredible doodle!
flaherty March 16, 2009
I'm on board with this. Nice.
Graham McArthur March 16, 2009
Wonderful illustration. Beautifully line.
Joe Ciardiello March 16, 2009
Thanks for the comments everyone, greatly appreciated. It was a bit of a stretch for me, so it's nice to know you all liked it.
Zina Saunders March 17, 2009
Wonderful, Joe.
J.D. King March 17, 2009
Unwittingly, the perfect solution! And I look forward to reading the bio. Bailey did a fantastic job with Richard Yates.
Robert Saunders March 17, 2009
You got his lip DOWN, Joe. Great free-form style in this.
Hal Mayforth March 17, 2009
This is a regular Soul Stew of an illustration. 2 cups of Joe, 1 tablespoon of playfulness and 1 teaspoon of excellent art direction. This illo cooks.
John Dykes March 17, 2009
S w e e t . . . .
Paul Rogers March 17, 2009
This one stopped my morning sorting of the paper for a few minutes just to admire it. No one's better at this thoughtful line work than you.
Cathleen Toelke March 18, 2009
Joe, I keep coming back to your post. I really love the abstract quality of the initial drawing, with the multiple eyes, the overlapping, and the nervous, self-hugging arms. I don't know if there is a way of running something like this as is, because it might not have the visual impact required for a cover. Your black contrasts add the punch, and the results always look so great on the page.
Joe Ciardiello March 18, 2009
Thanks Cathleen. I agree about the original drawing, but I also understand that they needed something stronger to make it work for a cover.
VICTOR JUHASZ March 26, 2009
Conscious or unconscious, it's pretty damn beautiful.
jason walton August 26, 2010
The joy of happy accidents.
Nate March 2, 2011
It's reassuring to know that even greats get intimidated by the page from time to time.
Joe Ciardiello ph: 908-996-4392 email: all images copyright Joe Ciardiello 2019