Tuesday, August 26, 2008

UTNE Reader

I have created a new illustration for an article in the latest issue of the UTNE Reader!

(UTNE Cover, Sept - Oct 2008 issue)

(Page 87)

The illustration is for a short piece by Denise Herrera called The Purloined Library. It's a sweet story in which she recalls the best thing she's ever stolen: a fifth grade social studies book, and a dictionary.

For this illustration I worked with UTNE's Art Director, Stephanie Glaros, who was very fun to collaborate with and had clear and helpful ideas about which aspects of the story to focus on. She mainly asked that I illustrate the memory side of the story, and the urgency of the little girls act of stealing. Now, I hate showing my sketches to people... I find it a little embarrassing... but I'm trying to get over this phobia because it's just silly. Anyways, I'm going to post the preliminary sketches I sent in for this project so you can see how this illustration got started. Please don't judge them too harshly, they are such young and tender souls.

You can see these aren't straight up thumbnails... I really don't do well with stick figures. I think taking the sketches a step further, such as drawing a fairly realized face, helps me get excited about it. Once I pick a couple that I like, I scan them into Photoshop and add some color, a piece of a photograph or maybe a texture if I have it on hand. But the most important part of my process doesn't involve paper, pencils, photographs or even Photoshop. Oh no.

Well... maybe paper.

I hope someone finds this helpful or even remotely interesting. Special thanks to UTNE and Stephanie Glaros for the opportunity! I'm really sorry that this "thank you" comes moments after making a poop joke. : )

Final thought: What's the best thing you've ever stolen? If it's a good story maybe I will illustrate it. Extra credit if your story involves ninjas and explosives.


  1. It is super hot that you're working for Utne. Very nice image and process pieces too. Congrats!

  2. Yay, Ally in Utne! It looks great. The other two sketches have more content which makes them more interesting to me, but your final piece is gorgeous as always. Great job!

  3. Hi Ally,

    I love all your pieces. Thank you. All of them fit the story perfectly! Denise Herrera

  4. Congrats, AL. I picked up a copy of the mag for me and beth to share. Also, to reinforce the idea that UTNE is no mofo joke, you should know that Beth and I were watching Family Guy the other night and Brian, the dog character, was reading a copy of UTNE. You are so pimp, AL!

  5. Beautiful illustration and sketches as always. I also wanted to mention that there seems to be urinals behind you in the bottom photo...how odd.

  6. i stumbled into you c/o docile & feral and LOVE your work. it's interesting to see the final and working process pix. thanks for sharing.