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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And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

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