July 21, 2009
How would it feel to be traded for 10 bats? A bit humiliated? So did the late John Odom. This was for a tragic baseball story for ESPN the Magazine which gave me the sweet chance to do a conceptual portrait, something I really enjoy but rarely get to do.
When I was 15, I got a job drawing caricatures at "Casa Bonita" a tourist trap/restaurant in Denver, Colorado, which I did there and all over the West at fairs, festivals and rodeos through my college years. So in a way doing portraits takes me full circle to my first paying work.
Half way through concepting they told me the headline would be "punchline", so I made sure to cover that base as well.
Art direction by Tjia Siung
Tight sketch and color study. Having the sketch in layers was helpful to be able to move the bats around.
I think the designers at ESPN have an incredible handle on typography. Beautiful design by Siung Tjia.
Here's a quick summary of the story:
John Odom was good enough to be drafted by the San Francisco Giants out of community college and play three seasons in their minor league system. But when he was traded in 2008 from the Calgary Vipers to the Laredo Broncos for ten maple bats he became a punchline. A punchline he apparently could not live with being. Five months after the trade he was found to have overdosed on heroin and barbiturates.