I was commissioned by BusinessWeek to create this full page illustration for an article about Conan O’Brien. As he nears his return to television, he’s lined up to score a big payday as new networks are bidding for him. But writers Ronald Grover and Andy Fixmer report that he may not be the guaranteed success that might be expected.
The last time America saw Conan O’Brien, the red-haired, late-night talk show host was riffing on an electric guitar as comedian Will Ferrell donned a shoulder-length blond wig to screech his way through the Lynyrd Skynyrd song Freebird. As final shows go it was an appropriately wacky end to NBC’s high-profile firing of O’Brien from The Tonight Show. Celebrities denounced NBC. Pro “Coco” fans demonstrated outside the studio.
So you’d think landing another major TV gig would be a snap, right? Actually, no.
It’s a good thing I’ve been painting digitally lately, as Art Director Patty Alvarez emailed me at 8pm before the morning of the deadline to break the news that Coco has been sporting a beard again, so I had to add that in at the last minute. But all told, this was one of the more enjoyable projects I’ve worked on in a while. I hope I can do more for BW.
Here’s the one with the beard:
And this is an early sketch, before I zeroed in on what Patty was looking for: