Philly Give & Get is this fantastic event/organization run by Lansie Sylvia that raises money for kids organizations in Philadelphia. It’s an auction that gives the audience the chance to bid on experts in particular fields. The respective winners and the experts then go on a “date” to, say, Eastern State Penitentiary, for instance, and discuss, well, pretty much whatever. (A much, MUCH better explanation is available here.)
The first auction was held in April of 2013, and my role was to draw a portrait of the Most Valuable Philadelphian - the person whose lot drew the highest bid – riding the mythical creature of his or her choice. Alex Hillman, co-founder of Indy Hall (amongst many other titles), took home that honor.
Below are some photos I had sitting on my phone from the whole process of creating the drawing. I usually end up working late, and my mind wanders. So these photos are a way of isolating the drawing from the environment. They allow me to judge the progress objectively – especially the next day back at the office job.
The next Give & Get Auction is October 10 at Johnny Brenda’s, and features a star-studded lineup. I’m honored and pumped to be invited back to draw that night’s MVP(s). It’s a legitimate ball of a good time. Come for the auction, drinks, friends, and all-around great experience, but stay to do some pushups with me on the dance floor.
Alex initially wanted his mythical creature to be Will Stallwood of Cipher Prime. I sketched this scene out about 10-15 times, trying to make both of them not look like jerks, but I couldn’t make it work. So after getting Alex’s blessing (“I trust you, Mike Jackson.”), I put him on a unicorn/pegasus-type thing.
One of many failed attempts at getting Alex’s face just right.
Finally got it. Figured I’d better seal it in with some ink right away. The rest of the pencil drawing wasn’t even done yet.
I still wanted to work in Alex’s initial request to have Will in the drawing, so I gave the unicorn/pegasus Will’s tattoos (on the shoulders). Will was a really good sport and took his shirt off without hesitation so I could get good reference photos (that I’ve very much since deleted).
The scanned finish:
I initially got a plain black frame for the finished piece, but it wasn’t nearly obnoxious enough. So I found a beat-up, antique, might-have-come-from-the-Louvre-looking something-or-other, and went to work on cleaning it up a bit.
The finished product on the wall at Indy Hall (next to a Sean Martorana original):
Alex was in New Zealand when it went up on the wall, so we covered it and left it there in an effort to draw attention to the next Give & Get auction (October 10!). It was unveiled on September 20, and it seems to have gotten a pretty good reception.