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Cityscapes & Fortune Magazine August 27th, 2013

Usually I get contacted by art directors to draw portraits or animals, so this job was quite a unique and a fun challenge! I always have such a good time collaborating with David Powell at InRe (South Texas College of Law Alumni Magazine). The article that I illustrated was about law graduates choosing to work at smaller law firms rather than joining bigger corporations, and this is what I came up with:

I wanted to do something slightly different with this job and rely more on pattern, adding a nice contrast between the small court house and the bigger corporate buildings. Neither of these options could be shown in a negative light, so I had to come up with a way to differentiate them from each other while still making each feel a favorable career choice for the recently graduated lawyers.

Here are some of the project’s process including my pencil linear, some reference and my inked illustration before I added colour digitally. For this project I wanted to go for a less vibrant palette than I normally would use and so I looked to other reference for inspiration and some new ideas.

Some business/corporate magazines can be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to design and illustration but this was not the case with the Fortune Magazine covers of the past. In particular I was taken with the colour palette and the gorgeous way the city was abstracted in this 1954 cover by the very talented Neil Fujita. With my illustration I wanted to have buildings as focal points since I wasn’t particularity excited to draw lawyers, so I took these illustrations (shown below) as jumping off points to try something different and go a little more stylized than I usually would.

Here’s a gorgeous 1951 Fortune cover by Jerome Synder which has a similar feeling to the Fujita piece and was also a source of inspiration. (via Unkee E’s Fortune Cover Tumblr)

Jerome Snyder Fortune Cover - from Jacqui Oakley IllustrationAnother piece by Jerome Synder (il duomo), that caught my eye for the way it smartly stylized buildings. Sadly I had to draw law offices and not a cathedral, so no fun steeples for me. Jerome_synder - il duomo - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Obviously I didn’t want the illustration to copy Fujita’s or Jerome’s style and so I’ve combined them with my own look using organic cloud forms, and trees and tweaking the colours slightly. What I loves about this project is that is helped me incorporate something new into my toolbox that I can use again down the road. Those moments in illustration where you try something new and it works out are always satisfying. It’s nice to know that as an artist you’re continuing to experiment and grow and not to just rely on tried and true techniques and subject matter. Throwing something new into the pot every now and again is always a good idea.

Along with this opening illustration I got to draw a whole bunch of lawyer portraits and David and I thought it might be fun to link them together with the building patterns and colours of the main spread. It was interesting to combine the black ink portraits with these graphic shapes. Again, here’s something new that I was excited to see work.

Thanks again to David and the lovely job he does designing InRe with his exceptional attention to detail.Buildings - Jacqui Oakley Illustration


Here’s some more vintage Fortune covers that really stand out. Love how these are simultaneously both very painterly and really graphic. Artists/designers back then could really do it all couldn’t they?

Below: FORTUNE July 1952 – Illustration by Jerome Synder (via Unkee E’s Fortune Cover Tumblr)

Fortune Cover by Jerome Synder - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Below: FORTUNE January 1968 – Illustration by Romare Bearden & Art Direction by Walter Allner (via Linda Rubes‘s brilliant Vintage Fortune Tumblr)

Fortune Cover by Romare Bearden 1968 - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Below: FORTUNE April 1953 – “Jet Airliners”, another one from Neil Fujita with Art Direction by Leo Lionni (via Linda Rubes‘s brilliant Vintage Fortune Tumblr)

Neil Fujita - Fortune - Jacqui Oakley Illustration
Below: FORTUNE May 1952 – illustration by Jim Flora (1914-1998) (via Unkee E’s Fortune Cover Tumblr)

Jim Flora - Fortune - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Below: FORTUNE July 1949 – illustration by Ben Shahn with Art Direction by Will Burtin (via Linda Rubes‘s brilliant Vintage Fortune Tumblr)

Ben Shaun - Fortune - Jacqui Oakley Illustration


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