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Africa's suffering
posted: November 13, 2006
"Let no good idea go unused". Some time ago, I was asked by Edel at TIME to create an image for the back page, on the current African adoption issue. The article went South, through no fault of ours,  but I filed the idea away, since I thought it successful. Today it was recycled to another publication. I still have the concern that the figures are so dramatic that the shape of Africa might be lost.
17 comments
rag November 13, 2006
I am not sure I would have seen Africa had you not mentioned it. Maybe if you have less contrast in the figures, no black lines other than the outline? Or the shape of Africa in one flat color with just the lines of the figures? Or just maybe grab a beer and be happy you sold this sucker twice!
Robert Hunt November 13, 2006
I like it a lot. I saw africa right away, BTW.
David Gothard November 13, 2006
Maybe it's a nice bonus to the viewer, if they don't see the Africa shape right off...to discover it a few seconds later. But if it fails the 8 second visual test....it's irrelevant.
Christoph Hitz November 13, 2006
Hi David, I did recognize the continental outline just by looking at the recent article tile. It's tough to illustrate famine and poverty and not being pitiful. I like the gestures and scale of the two mothers. Great illustration.
Robert Saunders November 13, 2006
Beautuful solution, David. Your skillful drawing bring this off in a way that I doubt few others could manage. The continent of Africa is clearly visible.
Mike Moran November 13, 2006
Dave, Right from the thumbnail I saw it as Africa. Strong image...
David Gothard November 13, 2006
Thanks all...I feel better about it now. DG
Leo Espinosa November 13, 2006
I saw Africa in the thumbnail. Then it was hard to judge the big image after reading the comments. Who am I kidding, I see Africa in that one too! But, wait, what if her feet would not touch the ground? That might draw a nice "invisible outline" around the continent. I had trouble thinking that this was of an article on adoption since the kid looked dead to me (A little too dead) damn, how can I explain it, like there was really no hope, and I think there should be at least some. You should be illustrating books like Palestine or Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco. You have the touch for controversial subjects.
Bob Staake November 13, 2006
wonderful piece with plenty of heart, dg
David Gothard November 13, 2006
Thanks BS...that's what I shoot for; the humanity of the issue. Leo- that's exactly right...the kid IS dead. The idea being that the peolpe who are adopting are waging the case that adoption is an alternative to the inevitable. An argument that many Africans are understandably uncomfortable with. An excerpt: And so I was wearing my "African" lenses as I watched Madonna on television, cautiously, earnestly explaining the media circus around her adoption. I did not think it my place to wonder what her motivation for adoption was. I did cringe, however, when she said that her greatest disappointment was that the media frenzy would discourage people who wanted to do the same thing that she had done: adopt an African child. She wanted people to go to Africa and see what she had seen; she wanted them, too, to adopt. Later, watching David Banda's biological father speak about being grateful that she would give David a "better life," I could not help but look away. The power differential was so stark, so heartbreakingly sad; there was something about it that made Africa seem terribly dispensable. Your suggestion of floating the figure a bit, to emphasize the continent shape is a good solution. How does Espinosa/Gothard Studios sound to you? Wait don't answer that...it might hurt. I have all of Sacco's works - HUGE fan. Think we can lure him to drawger? Anyone know him? DG
Leo Espinosa November 13, 2006
Man, that final kiss from the mother hurts like hell now. Her face says it all. I'm going upstairs to kiss my kids.
Christian Slade November 13, 2006
Solid. Very nice! The message clear and the figures emotive. Well Done! -C
Bob Staake November 13, 2006
sacco edited a book for fantagraphics waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the day called 'centrifugal bumble puppy' and i used to do things for him. the stuff pops up on ebay all the time. i'll bet he's moved 12 times between today and the time i wrote out this rolodex card in a green prismacolor.
Edel Rodriguez November 13, 2006
At TIME we sent Joe Sacco to Hebron for a couple of weeks back in 2001. He did a lot of great stuff as I remember. We probably have his contact, I'll keep in mind to get in touch with him about coming here, you never know.
David Gothard November 13, 2006
Bob to Sacco: C'mon bumble puppy pal...for ol time sake? Edel to Sacco: This TIME, we're sending you to a place called Drawger.
Vonster November 14, 2006
David, That is incredible! Very powerful and Africa was an instant read for me.
Adam McCauley November 14, 2006
David, this is a really nice piece. I think it reads enough as Africa, but I'd second the earlier opinion to float the main figure , take out the shadow. Also, the earlier comment about less contrast with the robe/skin could work too. Anyway, looks real cool...
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