The great Derek Jeter is retiring at the end of the month (sorry Yankee fans but I don’t see them playing in October). It was a real privledge to get asked to submit sketches for this cover.
Art Editor Francoise Mouly thought this cover would most likely run towards the end of summer and suggested a certain wistfulness might be good to try and incorporate. I like the long shadows of fall and the thought of Jeter doffing his cap one last time, with a spot of sunlight illuminating him, as if it were a scene from the film The Natural.
My lovely wife Leslie suggested a simple closeup view from behind, showcasing his #2 and with a low, heroic point of view. I added showering confetti or some such as a way of showing the cheering crowd without showing the cheering crowd.
I thought I’d concentrate on the end-of-summer feeling and have a father and son leaving an east coast beach as the sun set, carrying beach gear and wiffle balls etc, both wearing Jeter jerseys.
Françoise informed me that editor David Remnick liked this version best which was great news. Got the gig and the final sketch became a big improvement on my rough thumbnail sketch submission. I eventually nixed the confetti as not really necessary. Fortunately both Jeter’s number 2 and the shape of his head are somewhat iconic, as is the facade of the upper deck of Yankee Stadium.
I generally don’t do color studies but the background color was going to be really important on this one. The orange suggested sunset and autumn, the blue let Jeter pop out of the background more. Francoise chose the orange and I’m glad she did. She also did a great job with the masthead and strap colors. Like I said, getting gigs like this, with so little art direction, for such a wonderful magazine, is a unique privilege.