Infinite Jest – Cracking Two Skulls with One Stone

by AMD about Lacko Illustration

As the New Year approached, I found I had some unfinished business left to tackle.  One was the AltPick Deck of Cards artist’s promotion project and the other was the Brooklyn Art Library 2012 Sketchbook. My deadlines for both works were fast approaching and I wanted to create new artwork rather than reformatting existing designs.

The deck of cards took priority because it is a personal financial gamble designed to inspire new clients. AltPick.com curates a limited collection of cards that feature the works of selected artists in illustration, photography and design. Used for promotional purposes, the decks are sent to design firms, art directors and art buyers who use the cards as a reference for hiring freelance artists like me. I definitely needed my 2012 Trump Card!

I used the “Deck of Cards” as the inspiration for the artwork and created a visual pun on the Joker in every card deck. I wanted to create a Shakespearean skull like Hamlet’s Poor Yorick, the dead jester whose skull inspires the famous Act 5 soliloquy – a fellow of infinite jest. 

The basis for all my artwork starts with hand drawn sketches that I use as templates for vector art. Each of my sketches gets scanned and then filed away as reference.  After sketching too many skulls, I was at a loss for picking a favorite. As I lined up the skulls on the table to figure out which one to choose or how I could squeeze them all onto the card, the idea hit me –

“Trask-Radio! Trask-Radio!” echoed in my head.

For those of you who did not spend the late 80s watching movies like “Working Girl,”  Trask-Radio is something my wife says all the time when she has one of those EUREKA moments. She’s referencing the moment in the movie when a random notion inspires a major solution. Totally corny? Yes. But at my house, it means somebody is going to win…

With all my jokers in a row, I decided to develop the skull sketches from my AltPick deck and use them for the Brooklyn Art Library 2012 Sketchbook Project.

After selecting the best of the remaining skull sketches for the Sketchbook Project, I transferred them to the Scout sketchbook (provided by the Art Library) and enhanced my graphite pencil sketches with a variety of Faber-Castell color pencils, then Indian Ink and finished them with hand cut silhouettes. I wanted to take the sketches I so often use to create digital artwork and transform them with the illusion of motion. I needed to create a 3D pop-up animated flip book out of a 2D traditional paper medium.

My “Encyclopedia of Heads” will be the first in a series I’d like to create for the Brooklyn Art Library. In the back of the sketchbook I’ve asked viewers to send me their photo holding the book so I can use their faces as inspiration for the second book in the series – “Encyclopedia of Faces…”

Both the “Infinite Jest”playing card and the “Encyclopedia of Heads” sketchbook are Memento Mori, artistic reminders of our mortality that date back to antiquity.

The 20th Anniversary AltPick Promotional Deck of Cards is scheduled for release at the end of May 2012. The Brooklyn Art Library 2012 Sketchbook Project World Tour launched in Brooklyn, NY on April 14th-29th and ends in Melbourne, Australia November 10th-21st.

Check out Lacko’s Sketchbook on tour #S61289 and share your photos at http://www.arthousecoop.com/users/lacko For more information about Lacko’s Infinite Jest AltPick Deck Card or his illustrations: contact him at hello@lackoillustration.com / www.lackoillustration.com

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2 Responses to Infinite Jest – Cracking Two Skulls with One Stone

  1. Carol says:

    Loved reading your concept development. Thanks for sharing. I also really liked the images.

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