Assignment of the day

It’s hot as a bastard and we are all recovering from four performances of Annie Get Your Gun in three days. I have spent the past two mornings in the air-conditioned apartment working on an assignment for The Morning News which is about to launch its year long redesign. Rosecrans, my editor, asked me to draw three illustrations to work as launch-pads for the serialized books that appear on the site every couple of weeks.
I had already done a couple of different icons for Peanut:

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This one is meant to look like a sonogram of a peanut. It’s okay though a little gimmicky.

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Then I came up with this one based on a photo of an embryo, sort of 2001-ish but not really uniquely mine.
I decided to start from scratch with more conventional ink and watercolor drawings, each about 4-5 inches square. I painted this fairly scary drawing; still it’s somehow cute in a plucked chick kind of way and I like it.

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For The letters of Gary Benchley, Rock Star, I bypassed my initial thought of painting some instruments ( I have recently done three different illustration jobs requiring sketches of guitars) and decided to try to capture some rock’n’roll energy. I did this drawing fairly quickly and I like it too.

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I struggled most with The Education of Elisabeth Eckleman. It seemed that every story had Elisabeth in tears at some point so I decided to tackle it this way. I was a little worried that I had been overly influenced by fantasies of Molly Ringwold and was listening to too much of the new 9 Inch Nails album and Elisabeth isn’t quite in that nexus.

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I fired off an email to Sarah Hepola, Elisabeth’s creator, who wrote: “She’s a cute 18 year old girl — brown shoulder-length hair that’s a bit curly/frizzy (she likes to straighten it out), a little girlish pudge in her cheeks. Blue eyes. She’s from a small town, so she doesn’t have that natural college girl look yet — she wears a lot of makeup, probably earrings. she probably wears a lot of tank tops and shorts.”
I’m no expert on the nuances of 18-year-old girls anymore and I was a little tense as I went back to the drawing board.

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This was my second and final effort. It has personality and particularity more than the first but tells less of a story and has a little too much Walter Keane in it
I’ll let Rosecrans pick.