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Layer upon layer
James McMullan Collection Box 3 Folder 10. Mechanical for Esquire or GQ illustration.
July 25, 2014

Layer upon layer

By: bethkleber

These drawings from the James McMullan Collection caught my eye as we were preparing for McMullan’s Masters Series exhibition coming up this fall (more on that later). McMullan’s art will often combine fine pen lines with gentle watercolor but this is one of the few examples I know of where he (like Chwast and Glaser) utilized actual layering for the mechanical; in this case, the pen drawing was printed on a transparent overlay on top of an original watercolor. I love this piece because it’s so carefully constructed; the reader of the magazine article has no idea how each layer stands so beautifully on its own. The colorful base layer is a slightly more abstracted version of McMullan’s trademark watercolor illustrations. The top layer is more unusual (for him): a highly detailed, cross-hatched comic strip style line drawing.

Two illustrations of the same images but in different medium. The top series of illustration is a cross-hatched comic strip of a man having a picnic with a lady, they're smiling then the man is siting on the edge of the bed frowning and hunched over with the lady is behind him half dressed with is shirt on, the last one is the man in a different room looking  at a phone in the foreground. Below is comic strip is he watercolor lineless version of the same images from above, except the man has no face but the lady does.

 
James McMullan Collection Box 3 Folder 10. Original art for Esquire or GQ illustration.

A comic strip of 3 illustrations. It's drawn with cross-hatched lines. The first image is man at party with several people, he's eyeing a lady in a dress who also looks back at him. The next image is of the man leading and talking to the lady who is in back of him smiling and very close to him. The last on is the man and the lady undressed on a bed. The man is answering a phone while the lady is laying down.

 
James McMullan Collection Box 3 Folder 10. Original art for Esquire or GQ illustration.

A comic strip of 3 illustrations. It's painted with watercolor and is lineless. It has the same images as the one above. The man and the lady has a face and the colors in this are light and peachy.

 
James McMullan Collection Box 3 Folder 10. Original art for Esquire or GQ illustration.

This post also appears on our Picturebox blog.