So often I am asked if I do the drawings I share each week with my readers. My answer is a resounding, I wish! I have talent in other areas, but drawing wasn’t a skill I was encouraged to develop ever. As I defined my idea for my practice, I thought about including a visual element with my written offerings; however, I needed a trained artist to help me bring that aspect into focus.
Several months before, Alex Mikev, then an art student at Parsons School of Design in New York, had completed a design project for me. As I looked through his portfolio, I was awed by his drawings. I knew immediately Alex could bring my vision into reality. Almost three years on, our successful collaboration continues.
It all started for Alex with a high school drawing class. Drawing gave him “more joy and purpose,” he says, “than anything else.” With passion and dedication, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Art from Ball University. His artistic style draws on the influence of the great masters of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. He wants to “make things that are as jaw-dropping real as possible.” His beautiful, commissioned works reflect this intention.
Alex applies the same desire for realism to our weekly illustrations, with the added consideration of “understanding the conceptual nature of how L.J. and George are relating to each other and to the setting. It’s important I understand the story L.J. wants to tell, and keep the continuity of the journey of L.J. and George Eliot in each drawing.” In his hands, my rough, stick-figure sketches, and scribbling of notes quickly evolve into a finished sketch. Over time, Alex says he has learned to intuit what I am trying to say, and so often he is right-on. Every once in a while we get out of sync, and his rough draft makes me laugh. In the end, even the misunderstood ideas end up as successful illustrations. A testament to Alex’s talent!
As I work with Alex, my first such collaboration with an illustrator, I understand just how hard creating a successful “cartoon” is. Alex makes it seem effortless, but readily admits, “Drawing cartoons is not as easy as people think. It is a process of abstraction to correctly summarize the message, because you have to distill a lot of information into a few lines.” I am grateful every week that Alex translates my ideas so perfectly into those few important lines.
Until next time… Be Vibrant!