Friday, August 30, 2013

Anchorage Press cover: Empty Nest

Yet another cartoon cover illustration for last week's issue of the Anchorage Press (an earlier one posted here). The main article was "Empty Nest Society" by C.N. McLaughlin, and was about middle-agers rebooting their lives after the kids have flown the coop (full issue here).

Given the general topic and also a printout of the full article I was able to whip up a few rough sketches to submit for approval. There was one additional concept that involved an older couple passed out on a couch surrounded by semi-opaque scenes of them involved in a range of activities that the article author touched upon (roller-blading, gyms, yoga, hikes etc.) but as that scenario involved investing a lot more time (and given the budgetary constrains was literally not worth it) I put these initial cards on the table in hopes of one of them being good enough. That said I did jump the shark by forging ahead on my personal favorite of the two, going so far as to ink in an updated log-cabin style birdhouse to paste in the theoretical cover. But alas, it turned out to not be the chosen one - which again was a good call on the part of an astute editor - and so maybe the cabin-birdhouse image can be recycled at some later point for another project. Chalked it up as another prudent example of having the benefit of an editorial perspective, as it had much less to do as far as the essay's actual content.

After a last-minute tweak for the foliage (leave it to an Interior resident to project/import a nice fall-ish brown instead of the current local green) and flipping the composition horizontally (better arrangement for a front cover to have the trunk on the bound edge) and finally an improved rearrangement of fledgelings, it was in the can and off to the Press' press. And yeah, it was pointed out to me that raven nests don't look anything like that... but no word on whether or not the critic thought that maybe the choice of luggage was also off.


  1. This happens less frequently and later in life as the offspring find it harder and harder to afford to their own dwellings. On the other hand, the offspring may have to scatter very widely to find a region with a functioning economy. As an added complication, even "good jobs" have become precarious when the accounting department could decide at any moment that a bunch of people have to go.

    How many parents who have emptied the nest are still sending financial contributions to the far-flung fledglings, even when they've relocated in search of their own sustenance?

  2. Good question and insightful observation… not having spawned myself, and also being a solo sample that is more of a “lone wolf” I wouldn’t know enough to comment on the human species. But there are some biological correlations as far as people exhibiting pack and/or herd mentality… many animals follow similar patterns for migration and maturing but we’ve short-circuited critical, natural equilibriums as far as resources depletion and population pressures through factors like economics and technology. An interesting societal experiment to draw anthropomorphic analogies using habitat, nature versus nurture etc.
    Now you’ve given me some ideas…