Zina Saunders on
Jan. 2009 cover of The Progressive:
Nick Jehlen contacted
me about doing the January 2009 cover of The Progressive, featuring
Obama, along with two interior illustrations. The images had to
related articles about how activists and progressives need to keep
their agendas with Obama and not sink into complacency.
After reading the
articles, I asked Nick if there was anything in particular he had in
he said he'd like to see what I'd come up with, so I started sketching.
I came up with eight
roughs that I thought went well the text. One thing I had to be mindful
that I didn't want the scenes to look like Obama was being threatened
attacked by activists...I wanted to get across the idea that the
urging Obama in the right direction, and that they were all pulling
There was a passage in
one of the articles that described Obama being very open to hearing
and urging people to call him. So one of the sketches featured Obama in
oval office on a phone with a multitude of wires feeding into it,
the many voices he'd be listening to.
addition to the many
voices you refer to, the red phone can be interpreted it as signifying
problems/crises Obama will have to tackle …
It's great to hear that
an image can prompt different ideas and interpretations, and I like
interpretation a lot. It was Nick Jehlen who said the phone should be
part to evoke the, "Who would you want to answer the phone at 3 AM"
Hillary Clinton ad from the summer.
Jan. 2 and 3, 2009 e-mails
Nick Jehlen on the October 2008 cover of The Progressive
The October 2008 issue received a lot of mail... The reaction was
surprising to me - a lot of people crying homophobia, which I have a
hard time understanding.
The idea behind the cover
started with trying to show the tabloid nature of the campaign coverage
- the artist was showing me photos of Soviet leaders kissing, and that
led to the idea of the two candidates doing something that would surely
have grabbed the headlines.
But my favorite thing
about the cover was that everyone I showed it to had a different
reaction - I think it was so unexpected that people read into it
whatever they were thinking about the campaign.