Recent Spot Illustration

May 5th, 2009 | Posted in On the Drawing Board

Here’s a 1/2 page spot I did for this month’s issue of Library Journal:

Click for a closer look…

The story it accompanies is about magazines that are popular with teenage kids. I likely got the job because MAD happens to be one of the magazines they list in the article. They wanted a teenage boy and girl reading these magazines. Here’s the initial pencil sketch:


The consensus was they wanted a high impact statement, having the kids reading the magazines but surrounded by high tech toys and other things kids are known for spending their free time with, which they are ignoring in favor of the magazines. They also wanted me to make the kids more “urban” (i.e. not white). The second sketch:


I was able to salvage the girl’s body but the boy I wanted looking more laid back and cool. Plus I needed the image in a more horizontal form factor. Final inks:


You can see the final color illustration at the top of the post. I dropped in approved cover images of the various magazines. Yet another piece in my “colored line” style which is art directors seem to like.


  1. Monty says:

    Very nice. Do you use reference anymore, Tom, or have you just been doing this sort of thing long enough, that you just know the poses? These are great.

    • Tom says:

      I occasionally snap reference pics for a specific pose, especially if I am in a hurry. It’s just plain easier to draw something when you are looking right at it than it is to do it “out of your head”. In this particular case I had my youngest son and daughter pose of a quick snapshot. That’s them on the top sketch. I did not bother to have my son pose for the revised boy’s position.

  2. Matt says:


    Is it easy to get permission to use those magazine covers or ?

    • Tom says:

      The magazine publisher took care of that. They have actual covers inset in the story as well, so they contacted each magazine they featured to get approved cover images. They sent them to me and I dropped them in.

  3. Wow! Really great! Nothing more to add…

    Keep it up, T??ger Torkel

  4. ramanjit says:

    hello sir,
    i am checking your blog daily,but dont know much english and cant find any vidio tutorial for sketching body, how i can get that?

  5. Terry says:

    Top stuff Tom – as a frequent visitor I’d like to thank you for the time and effort you put into this blog. Always an interesting and a great read.
    In awe of your abilities.


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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