Star Tribune Illustrations

September 11th, 2009 | Posted in Freelancing

Which Favre?

Today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune has a special pull-out section entitled “2009 Vikings Season Preview” that features two full page illustrations I did of Brett Favre and company. One is on the front of the section and one on the back, each is meant as a “cover” but obviously with different possible messages.

The job was to illustrate two extreme scenarios of the outcome of the “Brett Favre” experiment at quarterback. They wanted not only to convey Favre as a savior in one and as a failure in the other, but also to show how you can flip the section over to see the opposite possibility.

Here’s some of the stages of the project:

Pencil Roughs

Rough "Hero" sketch

Rough "Bust" sketch

This project didn’t need any thumbnails or multiple conceptual drawings as it was pretty well described. The above rough sketches were to establish the basic layout and composition, gags, etc. The only client comments were they wanted to make running back Adrian Peterson more involved.

Final Pencils

Final "Hero" Pencil

Final "Bust" Pencil

Tighter pencil drawings on the final board with art direction incorporated. The text is added via PhotoShop.


"Hero" Inks

"Bust" Inks

Final Art

"Hero" Final

"Bust" Final

I considered doing my colored line technique on this but elected to go with the line and color instead as newsprint tends to make things murky and the hard lines would keep the illustrations sharper.


  1. Great stuff! always interesting to see the process.

    i like the ‘Bust’ Version. a better caricature of Mr. Favre i think.

  2. julio cesar Naranjo says:

    Hi Tom amazing job as always, when you ink this particular ilustrations how many time you spend on this one? Take care.

  3. PaulCapurso says:


    I love this!!!! Being a Jets fan guess which one I’m hoping is the correct one???? ;0)

  4. Carl says:

    Great illustration. TERRIBLE reproduction on Star Trib’s site:

    You’d think they’d have folks on staff who can manipulate images better than that.

  5. Mark Engblom says:

    Wise choice sticking with the black line. The copy here at work is pretty badly misregistered….and the black line gives it at least some coherence.

    At first glance, I thought “Brett the Bust” was House!

    Great job, Tom!

  6. Mugshotz says:

    I think the Busted Brett is a better likeness as well. Maybe I’m a bit biased because I think he should have retired two years ago as a Packer. Now he’s just made himself a punchline.

  7. 15 million Yes I’ll play even in a wheel chair
    Great job

  8. Nate says:

    Great job as always, Tom!

  9. Tomppa says:

    Great post. Nice to see how you build the likeness from the rough pencil stage. These are very helpful and I would love to see more sketchy work from you.

  10. K McNutt says:

    It’s the first time I’ll be looking for a day-old copy of the S’trib… had I only seen this post yesterday!

  11. Chip says:

    Great job on the project Tom! I love sports cartoons a lot.
    I also thought the “Busted Brett” was the much better likeness of the two.
    In “Hero Brett” the smile/mouth is off. Favre’s bottom lip covers half his top teeth when he smiles that grin of his.
    The “Busted Brett” is exactly how he pouts when he’s depressed.

  12. Looks awesome!

  13. Tom says:

    The problem with the “hero” Brett likeness is they wanted him clean shaven and handsome looking. That is not the way he looks. He has perpetual multiple day beard growth, lots of lines in his face and a general scruffy look. You cannot take the personality of a person’s look away and capture them 100%.

  14. Virginia says:

    I think it conveys the visual of how people tend to put public figures up on a shiny pedestal and don’t see the flaws.
    I think it’s more realistic (the irony), because after all, isn’t that we are looking at in a drawing and isn’t the perception of the NFL fan what they are trying to capture?
    Looks good to me! Love the Green Bay Fan add-in. LOL!

  15. Wow, this is awesome Tom! Great work, as always.

  16. julio ibarra says:

    great Work Tom !


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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