Slideshow: Illustration Drafts of the Obama Baby Jan/Feb Cover Art

Rough drafts, vintage Saturday Evening Post images, and more details from the design process behind our Jan/Feb Obama baby cover art, as explained by Tim J Luddy, <i>MoJo</i>‘s creative director.

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Tim J Luddy explains:
When we started developing Mother JonesJanuary/February 2009 cover,
we were looking for a way to depict President-elect Barack Obama in a
lighthearted way, while acknowledging the mammoth task he has ahead of
him the minute he assumes office. After rejecting numerous ideas,
including one of Hercules shoveling dung out of the Augean stables
(you’re welcome!), we were intrigued by the image of Obama as an
innocent New Year’s baby (the thinking being that “innocence” can mean
“not guilty” of said mess, but can also imply “inexperienced.”)

I arrived at Norman Rockwell’s predecessor at the Saturday Evening Post, illustrator J.C. Leyendecker, who blogger Charley Parker claims
to be the source of the New Year’s baby metaphor. Aside from having
developed the “Arrow shirt man” (reportedly a likeness of Leyendecker’s
partner of 48 years, Charles Beach), and Saturday Evening Post covers throughout the first half of the 20th century, it seems that Leyendecker created the New Year’s baby image for a 1908 Post cover and continued to explore variations on that theme until his very last cover, on their January 2, 1943, issue.

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THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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