I drove down to the Ruby Room, the same local bar we used for the Tori Roze photo shoot. It has a nice big booth across from the bar. I set myself up there with a few friends, my sketchbook and a fountain pen. Cocktails were ordered and "the work" began.
I drew the bar with a Lamy Safari fountain pen, in my 11 x 14 inch Aquabee Super Deluxe Sketchbook. No pencil sketch, strictly a la prima. That's the pen, on the corner of the sketchbook. I used a japanese brush pen to fill in the black areas.
The article describes a "kind of scary" place with a "rude" bartender. I left space in my dive bar drawing to place the bartender in later, via Photoshop. If you look closely, you can see my reflection in the mirror behind the bar.
|Ruby Room, ink drawing in sketchbook 11 x 14|
|Dive bar reject illustration 1 - Graham Smith|
I colored the drawing up and submitted it to Philadelphia Magazine. The illustration was rejected. "Too depressing!" said the editors.
Drawing on my vast dive bar experience, I decided to illustrate a female character instead, "an overdressed woman shaking the new guy down for a drink" would be perfect for a "scary" dive bar. I sketched up the idea and send it in.
This idea was rejected too. Philadelphia Magazine does not condone drunken binges, but they did like the idea of this article being illustrated from a female point of view.
|Dive bar reject illustration 2 - Graham Smith|
With the second idea rejected and the deadline looming. I went out to for Himalayan food with Dawn Vitale (Director of Marketing at Eventful) to recharge my battery and to decide what to do next.
Luckily, Dawn "volunteered" to step in, save the day, and pose as the dive bar patron, in an eleventh hour illustration edit. I drew her holding up a well deserved cocktail that night, and Photoshopped her into the illustration.
Here she is, hot off the press in the April issue of Philadelphia Magazine.
|Philadelphia Magazine on my desk|
|"Survive the Dive" for Philadelphia Magazine by Graham Smith|
|Ruby Room - sketchbook detail, Graham Smith|