Came into the office early and worked on our big vaquero package with Robert Ray and Meghan Saar. Excellent images and text by Lee Anderson and Jay Dusard. Going to be a very sweet cover story. And speaking of the cover, we are having fits with it, trying to give the cover the right Old West patina. It's a color photo and the desert is too green for a classic Vaquero scene. Dan did four or five versions today, while Robert Ray is tweaking the photograph as well, trying to find the magic mix that will make it a winner. It's late in the day (4:15) and we still don't have it, but I have confidence in the boys to pull it out.
And speaking of age old patina, I had to go home at 10 this morning to meet the plumber (we've got a leak in the kitchen sink). While waiting, I started my daily sketches by whipping out a gaggle of patina washes:
After the plumber left (and I was $115 lighter) I went out to the studio to whip out some patina boards. Building off of the last several days, I felt kind of cocky (always a bad sign), and, so, I immediately ruined four boards. Here's the least bad of the bad:
And here's the second least bad (which still has some possibilities):
I don't even want to scan the others, because they are so bad. As, is usual, after the five bad ones, and just when I was about to give up, I got this puppy:
In the huge forest fires we have been having out here in the West, they are so big they are creating their own weather systems and that's what this illustrates. Thinking about putting Mickey Free riding towards it, at the bottom, with a mountain range ahead of him, burning across the tops the ridges. Should pop it into a nighttime scene. We'll see. Wanted to do it before I came back in the office, but chickened out. Too afraid I'd ruin it.
And speaking of ruining it, and this cover we're fighting, sometimes we get tired of fighting the same old battles (insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results), and other times we get tired of fighting each other ("Where you want the contest is not among people, but among ideas." —Casey Cowell). We are closing in on 100 covers and it can get wearisome, but I remember a quote by Alice Roosevelt, when in old age, someone asked her how she felt about outliving her enemies and she said, "I miss them terribly because they defined me." So, although we all get battle fatigue from time to time, I think it's good to remember ol' Burke's advice:
"He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper."