11.22.14 // Coach House Books

JONATHAN BARTLETT ILLUSTRATION, COPYRIGHT PROTECTED

Butcher.

A stage play….book cover? Yup. Coach House publishes plays!

Having worked with the playwright, Nicolas Billion, in the past, it didn’t take  much to get on board with his latest script. Butcher is dark. It’s mysterious, shadowy, ominous (but we don’t really know why till the end), and it would seem no one is who they appear to be. So good.

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 These are the characteristics and metaphors I want to capture with the cover art. The story takes place exclusively inside an interrogation room so I thought it would be really effective to take us outside of the chaos and set the mood with a looming darkness and rain. But it doesn’t end there. There is a heavy dose of foreshadowing here, but you’ll just have to read the play to find out…

 

10.21.14 // CN Books, TONGWAN CITY


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A new book cover for Gao Jianqun’s historical fiction novel, Tongwan City. Published by CN Times Books. As the Hun Imperial dynasty was being shaped there were two very different leaders, a warlord, Helian Bobo and a Monk, Kumarajiva, both striving for the same end.  I love the idea that you have two characters that represent different approaches to a similar goal. That sense of tension and contrast is a great visual metaphor for the story.

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Some sketches below. As you can see the final changed quite a bit from the original idea…

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10.7.14 // Smithsonian Magazine

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 AGH! I Had so much fun with this job for Smithsonian Magazine! As part of their annual “Secrets of American History” issue, I had the opportunity to illustrate the shadowy rivalry between one J. Edgar Hoover and Mr. Untouchable Elliot Ness.

The article gets pretty technical, but finished with a vivid account of Hoover watching the TV depiction of Ness in 1959′s The Untouchables, and making the point that this is what people take as history, not the facts.  Who is the real Ness?! (well apparently he wasn’t as straight laced as he appeared!) I enjoy getting moody and dark with my work, so this was a perfect opportunity. I also discovered how much I love checker tile floors…

Lastly, it was such an awesome surprise to get the samples in the mail and see that my mentor and friend, Tim O’brien had painted an incredible George Washington for the cover. It’s humbling to be included in the same issue as him.

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Some sketches below:

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8.28.14 // Saturday Evening Post

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In honor of summer’s unofficial end (Happy labor day!) I thought I’d share a cover for the Saturday Evening Post that never ended up seeing the light of day. It was just before memorial day and I was incredibly excited to follow in the footsteps of some of my illustration heroes. To be honest, it was a real bummer when the editorial team changed course, but hey, these things happen. No hard feelings! That’s the business. I’m confident i’ll get another shot in the future.

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My grandfather was the one who turned me on to Norman Rockwell’s work when I was a young kid, he would have been really proud to see me on the cover of the same magazine that made Norm famous. To honor that, I worked my grandfather’s name into the piece.

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Poking fun at gender roles, ’cause we all know who runs the world.

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8.8.14 // The Fall of Adonis

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The Fall of Adonis
36″ x 36″

This new painting rounds out my series of commentary about patriarchal society. Adonis, the god of beauty and desire finally falls.

Previously:

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Coma

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L’ancien Style

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The Illusion of Submission

 

7.2.14 // Pennsylvania Gazette

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Has medicine become too impersonal? An interesting article to illustrate for The Penn Gazette recently. As medicine has grown and expanded so have the practices that come with it. A reflection on these changes as seen through the eyes of a second generation doctor reflecting on his father’s experience– one of an overweening paternalism. This personal and “doctor knows best” approach is considered unacceptable these days.

Some alternative sketches below. Medical cross ball gag!? Maybe next time.

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6.11.14 // Foreign Policy Magazine, Cover and interior

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From a few months ago, a really fun job for brilliantly designed Foreign Policy Magazine. This was being coined their “War Issue” and while I began as the illustrator for just one interior article, as sketches took shape they felt some of my ideas could sum up the issue as a whole. So, cover Art! It is always a pleasure to see my work holding down the cover of a magazine. A less frequent honor these days.  Images and a few other sketch ideas that didn’t get used below. Big shout out to FP Mag for the fun job.

 

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Some rejected ideas. I thought the general carving the new solider was kinda lolz.

 

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6.3.14 // 8×8 Magazine, World Cup!

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This image was a doozy. 8 by 8, the new, beautifully designed soccer magazine from Priest and Grace is gorgeous and with just the first few issues has become a power house of illustration. It was a real honor to get to be included in the current issue. The article details the interesting predicament the English World Cup team finds themselves in playing their first game against Italy in a stadium that is right in the middle of the Amazon jungle. The elements and environment will be unlike anything they have experienced and it’s anyone’s guess how the team will handle it.

My job was to really throw these players into the jungle and make them look as uncomfortable and out of place as possible. As I was told “You don’t have to be *nice* to these guys”. Here’s a link to the magazine website

The players included are:

Danny Welbeck and Leighton Baines

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Gary Cahill and Michael Carrick

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Joe Hart

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Steven Gerrard

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Wayne Rooney

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4.21.14 // “Payback” Outside Magazine

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“PAYBACK”

You’ve got to read this story from Outside Magazine. It’s beyond fascinating, and the writing is so vivid. Hats off to the author, Carl Hoffman

Deep in Papua New Guinea, where tribal lines remain thick and most modern amenities are nowhere to be found, one major source of income for the locals are the tourists who trek into the jungles on guided backpacking tours.

Last September, a skilled guide decided to take a trip down a trail less traveled. The company’s trip was shattered when machete-wielding men attacked the native porters. The motive appeared to be robbery, but something else was at work—ancient tribal patterns of violence that would inevitably be avenged.

By far one of the most interesting, sad, gruesome, exciting reads I’ve ever had for an illustration. The story is complex and the players can get confusing, machete armed tribesmen attack and kill another set of tribesmen. The victim’s fellow tribesmen then set out with their own machetes to avenge the murders. This is the way of life for these people. Eye for an eye. Sadness, but vengeance. Mourning, but revenge.

These are the complexities I wanted to balance with the art. Set the mood between horrific and mellow, emotional but “armed”. At quick glance the men in the image could be mistaken for the original attackers, but with a closer read and an understanding of the mud masks they wear (traditional death masks of mud and ash) as a symbol of mourning, I hope it is evident these men are in pain.

The story is long, but I really suggest you read it, it’s incredibly fascinating. A very interesting look into cultural tourism, tribalism, violence, morals, and economics… Read here

Some close ups and a few of the original sketches (and the original working title!):

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5.15.14 // Raw Meat

An unconventional job, but fun none the less! Raw Meat is a pretty specific magazine for a pretty specific crowd I’d say. The three articles had similar themes so the challenge was to diversify the images, but still tie them together visually. I think palette really helped with that.

 

meat2_final_flat“Global Pub Crawl”

meat_1_final_flat“The In-Cider Scoop” (Pairing Cider’s with meats)

meat_3_final_flat“Building Pubs of the Future” (hint: include more fine food)