I just got some piece of junk in the mail last week about the new Monorail Project here in Seattle and the illos festooned all over it were very Fotheringham looking. You see so much of it anymore and it never seems to be the real deal.
He's spawned so many pale imitations.
ed's doing just fine. he's become the 'corporate' illustaion style for nordstrom, as well as picking up work all over. his stuff is regularly in the new yorker. however, back when he first started out, he (miraculaously) was picked up as the sales style for nieman marcus. within 2 years of adopting this new career, he was making around 350 G's a year (that's $350,000, folks).
his career was so spectacularly meteoric that i sort of list him among the small handful of geeks that actually got rich out of the 'grunge' scene. he was sort of the 'nirvana' of illustrators.
I agree Art, it has a "vibration" or "buzz" to it, a liveliness. Is he raking in the bucks these days? I remember reading an interview a few years back where he said he was gonna ride this style into the ground and squeeze as much $$ out of it as he could. I admired his honesty!
also, ed was just as funny in his other styles, but it was the novelty of this 'old-fashioned' look combined with a new 'freeing' of ed. it was like when he found this technique, his inner mind opened up and he 'became' what he drew. it was marvelous to watch.
his other work, even though just as witty, wasn't expressive enough to really protray hgis ideas. this blotted style was loose and felxible enough to give him that freedom.
the bottom line, though, is that it's not the 'trick', it's how you use it that counts. if ed wasn't so damned funny, his technique would have bombed into oblivian like a million other styles.
it's what you bring to the table, it's how you THINK that counts, not the way you throw ink on the paper.
"i used to use fountain pens on napkins or blotter paper to do it"
OK, I can see that.
"do your drawing on one side (work fast before the ink blobs soak in) and then fold the other side over to create the blot"
Aah, THAT'S the trick.
"nowadays ed does this whole style with computers."
Oi!! Thx Art, this is why we like you here. :lol:
it's kind of a long story. bear with me.
ed used to be a gallery painter (great stuff - studied under jacob lawrence. that kind of work). but he got tired of not making any money. besides he lived with mudhoney, etc. and played in the thrown-ups. so he came to me at the rocket wondering if he could get into commercial illustration work. he'd already done several record covers (mudhoney's 'every good boy..., the sad and lonely's, an image for me for love battery's 'dayglo' lp, etc.). he had two basic styles (three if you include his paintings) and they were a childlike line drawing look (sort of stick men), and a lino-cut style (like the dayglo cover illus). so, he did a few of those for the rocket.
then i was hired by mudhoney to do the 'piece of cake' record cover. they wanted to know if they could include their buddy ed's work in the design. no problem. so we worked a lot on how to approach this (mudhoney's major label debut).
in meetings, the band kept talking about 'old jazz covers'. i pulled out reid miles blue note samples, and they said, that's not exactly what they were thinking, so i pulled out a mess of david stone martin covers and they said 'bingo!' ed looked at his stuff and said, "i can do that!"
so, he went home and drew all night and came back the next morning with about 30 drawings - but all done in that hard line linoleum cut style he did. i said - no, that's not it. i pulled out ben shahn, paul klee, early andy warhol, and a bunch of oldart director's annuals and showed him more of that blotted line style that was so popular in the 50's (and had virtually disappeared). he looked at it and we discussed some ideas how to do it (i used to use fountain pens on napkins or blotter paper to do it).
ed said, "i can do that!" and went back home and , again, worked all night and came back the next morning with 30 more drawing - all perfect! it was amazing.
then i dragged in nathan gluck (an old friend of mine who was warhol's staff designer back in the 50's when andy ran a commercial art studio. nathan did the handwritten lettering on that cover for us (i drew the headline typography). ed talked to him on the phone and nathan explained how they used to do that technically in the 50's - use a hard surace board (bristol board works fine) and hinge two pieces together. do your drawing on one side (work fast before the ink blobs soak in) and then fold the other side over to create the blot. then you touch up the 'blotted' image (it's in reverse, so you have to plan ahead for that) and you're done. viola!
nowadays ed does this whole style with computers. he's figured out how to create the blotted look without having to touch ink to paper! amazing.
but the best part is that, though anybody can do this drawing style, ed's amazing wit and exhuberant personality comes though in spades. it's his personality that sparks the style and makes it successful. just compare his work to others that have followed in his footsteps, and you can see the difference. he has 'it'. the imitators don't.