Last month i got a call from NYLON magazine to do a full page illustration of Panda Bear from Animal Collective to accompany the review of his forthcoming solo album "Tom Boy." Not terribly accustomed to being called for portraits, i was thrilled that the direction was pretty open ended, the only real stipulation being that the piece feel "painterly." It having been a while since i sunk my teeth into some gouache, this was exciting.
I was very familiar with Mr. Bear's "Person Pitch" album from 2007 and was given a one-time use preview stream of "Tom Boy" to listen to while working on the illustration. From what i could assess from that one listen, the new record dialed up the melancholy undertones and slowed the tempos a little from the previous release. More than ever, the music reminded me of a bizarro world post-Pet Sounds Beach Boys, which in turn set me scrambling through my record collection for the Beach Boys comp "Endless Summer," one of my favorite illustrated LP covers ever. I've attached a jpg below - how cool/creepy are the weathered Wilsons hiding in a psychedelic surf jungle?
Using this as inspiration/homage i concocted the following sketch. The other conceit of this design was that it would grant maximum leeway in terms of nailing the portrait by obscuring a lot of the face with psychedelic flowers.
This was then translated to the final below:
Coming off the Fashion Week process and some design related work i've been up to, it felt really great to do something of the "hands dirty" painted approach again. Thanks for reading!