by Andrew Nahem
A behind-the-scenes peek at the creative collaboration between the Angels on Earth art team and an illustrator in Spain.
When we assigned Spanish artist Jesús Sotés to illustrate an upcoming story from Lou Dean of Dinosaur, Colorado, that references the statue of Pegasus, he did two versions. The statue reminded Lou of a beloved golden Palomino she'd had as a child. So the first version was, as Sotés described it, a horse in “a dark sky surrounded by clouds, something magic and simple with a reduced palette of color.”
But then he went over Lou’s text again, and more images came to mind: “The rural American life in the fifties, so familiar to me (I grew up seeing American films during ’60s and ’70s) that the author describes so well. Also the paintings of Grant Wood (American Gothic), one of my favorite American painters.”
We were intrigued by both approaches, so the editor had the happy idea of making one the cover of our September/October 2020 issue of Angels on Earth and to use the other for the article inside.
I myself had seen the wonderful Grant Wood exhibition at the Whitney Museum here in New York a few years ago. I’d never appreciated him much before—we all know that one famous painting—but it was a revelation. As Jesús says, his paintings are “very bold and, at same time, they treat the rural life with a lot of sensibility. There is a village boy inside me maybe... I love them so much.”
He continued to present us with hard, but pleasant choices. First it was in the color for the cover version. A more vivid blue background.
And here is a more subdued version.
Then it was the “Grant Wood” version. The brighter palette here?
Or should we go with something more autumnal? It was down to the wire with both of them (to some extent, it depended on the other illustrations in the issue), but in the end we went with the first, more colorful alternatives for both.
Jesús Sotés puts heart and soul into his illustrations for Angels on Earth. We hope you love his Pegasuses as much as we do.
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