UTNE Reader Cover

April 25th, 2011 | Posted in Freelancing

The artwork for the cover of the new issue of UTNE Reader:

Click for a closer look…

The job was a caricature of Kim Kardashian representing our 24/7 narcissistic society. The art director wanted me to convey how even a casual stroll shopping for someone like her becomes a staged event, and how the public seem to be willing sheep in the process. Here is the final pencil sketch (done on a mock layout with dummy text) and final color art:

Click for a closer look…

Click for a closer look…

I was the folks at UTNE’s choice to leave out any shadows on the dress and have it be a flat pattern. Their call. It does make Kim’s figure stand out more, but it looks a little out of place as well. I adjusted the values on the left side so the text popped better, which made for a nice “atmospheric perspective” effect while still leaving the large crowd intact.


  1. Anabel says:

    This drawing is amazing. I love Kim Kardashian. She is entertaining to watch. It’s interesting how an every day event turns into a media frenzy. I adore watching her in all she does, especially her sense of fashion.

  2. Ray says:

    I recognized your art right away at the newstand, and when I picked up the magazine, the first thing I asked myself was why did he make it so flat? Knowing your work I assumed you had a reason, and now I know.

    Nice piece. How long did the crowd take?

  3. Shiva.Souza says:

    Great rendering as always Tom. But I felt on this one she looks a little out of balance.. Amazing piece as usual, anyway.

  4. Lee Fortuna says:

    I will never understand why AD’s like Sam Viviano wont give you a cover job for rags like Mad? Whats wrong with a cartoon-like image instead of a more “realistic’ Mark Fredrickson style? I’ve met Sam and I’m not saying anything against his judgements, but I think a “change of pace” like your cover for UTNE’s mag is a breath of fresh air! In the old days Mad used several artist’s to do Mad covers, why are they staying so tunnel focused? GREAT JOB TOM!

  5. Mark Engblom says:

    I second that notion! Get Richmond on a cover….PRONTO!

    My guess is that Fredrickson is either contractually linked to X-number of MAD covers, or (as is most often the case) he gives the AD exactly what he’s looking for. Which isn’t the same as “what’s best for MAD’s long term growth and evolution”, but that’s not what always motivates an AD. Sometimes it’s easier to do what you’re accustomed to and what’s easiest. NOT AT ALL saying that’s what motivates Viviano (don’t know the man at all), but just a guess as to why he’s stuck with the same look for so many years (despite MAD’s need to step it up a notch).

  6. julio cesar naranjo says:

    Hi Tom i see what your saying about her dress its like sort of flat without the shadows that gives more depth. Take care.


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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