Court Jones Blog
A Magazine Cover for Christmas 
Sunday, December 04, 2011, 09:40 PM - Paintings
Posted by Administrator
I recently finished an illustration for the Dec. 2011 cover of Pacific San Diego Magazine. This was a job I was really excited to do, because I don't often get asked to create a traditional/non-caricature illustration. They wanted something along the lines of a Norman Rockwell, but with a modern San Diego setting. And with a hot girl, of course. So I started sketching ideas by thinking about Christmas time in San Diego and how our climate and landscape might make for a different kind of yuletide image than we are used to seeing. I also referenced a book I have on Haddon Sundblom's classic Santa/Coca-Cola advertising art to study how Santa is traditionally depicted.



I chose the backdrop of the Hotel del Coronado, because it's one of our few really well-known San Diego icons, and the beach idea seemed appropriate. Once I had the setting and background in mind, I tried to place myself in the moment and figure out how someone might celebrate the holiday season in that environment. So the idea of the sand-snow man came to mind. The Hotel del usually has standard white Christmas lights on it's main cone shaped tower every December, but I thought it also looks a bit like a Christmas tree already, so I took those decorations a step further.

And then I figured if Santa were here, he would do as most tourists do and take advantage of the warm weather and beaches. Oh, and he would definitely surf.



Since I knew this would be a realistic traditionally drawn illustration, I took my own photo reference for almost everything and tried to do things "right", which included, photographing the location, buying/borrowing props and wardrobe, and hiring models. I drew everything out in pencil on a large board, but the painting itself was painted digitally with Photoshop, and a little bit of Art Rage Studio for the impasto paint effects.

I also did a few comic panels in ink and watercolor for the inside pages of the magazine, which you can view entirely online here: Pacific San Diego Magazine - December 2011






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