In his day job, Martin Gee is is a senior designer for Huffington, the Huffington Post‘s iPad project.
When freelance deadlines beckon, however, Martin leaps into a phone booth, swaps his underwear to the outside of his pants and becomes (Tadaaaaa!): SuperDeadlineIllustratorMan!
With a little help from the Force this time, of course: Martin contributed illustrations for an article on the new Star Wars movies for Entertainment Weekly magazine.
Most of those ran on the opening pages of a six-page spread.
Click on these for a much larger look.
Martin took the time to answer a few question for us…
Q. I’ve always wondered what kind of deadline freelance magazine illustrators work with. How much time passed between when they contacted you and you had to turn in final art?
A. I had about four days and luckily it was over a weekend. With most assignments, I drop everything and use every minute. Just ask [his wife]Carrie!
For Entertainment Weekly, it was a fast turnaround but I’ve had as little as two days with other magazines. This is why I love and prefer editorial work!
The issue with Martin’s work is the May 16th cover-dated edition — the one with Jim Parsons, Julia Roberts and Mark Ruffalo on the cover.
Be sure to rush out and buy one before they’re replaced by the next issue.
Q. Did you work up some sketches for them? (And, better yet: Can we see them?)
A. Definitely. I’m kinda embarrassed to show you!
Unlike illustrators like Von Glitschka and Jennifer Borresen, my sketches look nothing like my final art. It’s only happened once, with PopMech.
Here was the sketch:
After this sketch, I carried my green circle template with my sketchbook for awhile.
Here’s the piece that ran in PopMech‘s December/January 2014 issue:
Martin continues with his Star Wars sketches:
One of the EW art directors said he didn’t want a LEGO Yoda. They wanted more realistic and less cute (which my stuff tends to be) but still be graphic and edgy.
Q. Whose idea was it to have Darth Vader accidentally slicing though the headline?
A. It was Jennie Chang‘s, EW‘s Managing Art Director who hired me, after she saw the Vader sketch. She designed the headline and techy borders and I just drew the characters!
Random: When I was at Redeye, I drew a similar but more minimal Vader for Episode III but the editors said it looked too much like an iPod and killed it.
Q. For a moment there, I thought that was your old ninja cartoon head at the extreme bottom left of page 24.
A. It actually reminds me of Deadpool!
Q. So you did Superman…
…for the National and now Star Wars for Entertainment Weekly. What’s next? The president for Time magazine? The Rolling Stones for Rolling Stone?
A. Probably not but hopefully more geeky illustrations! I’ve somehow managed to carve a nice niche for myself.
Funny you mentioned the National‘s Superman: EW specifically referred to that and my Boston Globe robots…
When Variety called with a Amazing Spider-Man 2 assignment with Captain America, Godzilla and the X-Men…
… (and, accidentally, the TMNT)…
[They told him “mutant ninjas” and Martin thought that meant the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Instead, they meant the X-Men. But, as you saw, Martin adjusted.]
…Art Director Cheyne Gately told me “You’re genetically designed to pull it off.”
Martin says he’s:
Living the dream!
First, a little more info about two pieces you saw earlier…
And, even earlier, he had been known to pull off super-hero movie covers for g, the Boston Globe‘s weekly entertainment tab.
Here’s one he did a year ago for his “day job” at Huffington.
This one — starring a grown-up, Jean Grey-like Violet from the Incredibles — ran in the Pixar Times a couple of years ago when the movie Brave came out:
Martin tells us:
The art director, Jerrod Murayama, is a fellow SJSU alumni who has done work for Disney — most notably his Hipster Mickey illustrations and merchandise.
And then there’s this one you might not have seen — it’s not comics or movie-related, but it sure looks like it could be:
This was a really fun pro bono illustration for Elysia Smith, who goes by Dandy Rough on her roller derby team and is the lead designer at Newsday.
Martin studied illustration at San Jose State University and interned at the San Jose Mercury News and the Miami Herald before joining the Orange County Register in 1998.
In 2000, Martin left newspapers to work as a designer for the House of Blues. He leaped back into news design with Chicago’s RedEye in 2005 and then slipped over to the mothership Chicago Tribune before moving back to the Mercury News in 2006.
In 2008, he became art director of the monthly Oregon Business magazine. In 2010, he moved to the Boston Globe as features design supervisor. He joined Huffington in 2012. His wife, Carrie Hoover Gee, is design director at Adweek magazine.
Find Martin’s web site here and his Facebook fan page here. Find his Twitter feed here.