Blown Covers

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Frank Viva confesses that, when he started on this week’s New Yorker cover, “I knew nothing about golf, apart from lugging my grandfather’s clubs around when I was five years old.”

“The earliest draft I sent is in Illustrator and in color, so it would seem like a final, but it’s only the equivalent of a pencil rough. It has a kind of effortless quality to it.”

“There was something that didn’t seem naturalistic, so I started to revise the pose. I got my daughters in the act—had them posing for me in the kitchen to try to figure out the exact tilt of the body, what happens to the right foot, what happens to the left foot.”

“When you’re in this pose, your body’s twisted and you’re contorted in an odd way. Your chin is hidden behind your shoulders. If you look at the model’s shoulders, you’re pretty much seeing the back of the figure, but when you look at the hips, your model is in perfect profile.”

“It was a struggle to make it look realistic, but not loose the liveliness. I felt I had gone a little too far in the direction of realism, and so, for the final, I pulled it back so that it had the geometry correct but still had the simplicity and charm of the earliest versions. It was a balancing act.”
[Excerpted from the New Yorker’s Culture Desk Blog]

Frank Viva confesses that, when he started on this week’s New Yorker cover, “I knew nothing about golf, apart from lugging my grandfather’s clubs around when I was five years old.”


The earliest draft I sent is in Illustrator and in color, so it would seem like a final, but it’s only the equivalent of a pencil rough. It has a kind of effortless quality to it.

There was something that didn’t seem naturalistic, so I started to revise the pose. I got my daughters in the act—had them posing for me in the kitchen to try to figure out the exact tilt of the body, what happens to the right foot, what happens to the left foot.

When you’re in this pose, your body’s twisted and you’re contorted in an odd way. Your chin is hidden behind your shoulders. If you look at the model’s shoulders, you’re pretty much seeing the back of the figure, but when you look at the hips, your model is in perfect profile.

It was a struggle to make it look realistic, but not loose the liveliness. I felt I had gone a little too far in the direction of realism, and so, for the final, I pulled it back so that it had the geometry correct but still had the simplicity and charm of the earliest versions. It was a balancing act.”

[Excerpted from the New Yorker’s Culture Desk Blog]

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Behind the scenes with
New Yorker
art editor and TOON Books Editorial Director
Françoise Mouly

and with
Nadja Spiegelman

twitter.com/FrancoiseMouly