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Texas Monthly
posted: December 20, 2011

When Texas Monthly art director TJ Tucker called last month to ask if I was available to illustrate the cover for their annual “Bumsteers” issue, I felt as though I had received an early Christmas gift. I’m a bit of an obsessive magazine fiend, and Texas Monthly has long been on my radar as one of the great regional magazines in the country from a design perspective. With a slew of all star art directors through recent years including D.J. Stout, Scott Dadich, and now T.J. Tucker, it was both intimidating and really exciting to get the gig.  The Bumsteers edition is basically the Texas Monthly version of the Darwin awards – the “winners” being those who rode the horse over the cliff so to speak. T.J. presented an idea that I loved – basically hammering home Rick Perry’s signature moment in his campaign thus far, the “oops” debate.
 
The subject matter, venue and T.J.’s relaxed direction made this one of my favorite assignments of 2011. I was determined not to make this an “oops” moment.
As I mentioned, the essentials were agreed upon, but the major issue was getting the expression right. Should it be a goofy "What me worry" approach or more of a clueless, brain fart moment....

...we went with the brain fart. After I finish a piece I look back on the sketches and wonder how the hell anyone could have seen where I was going. These, for instance, are bits and pieces of other sketches put together in Photoshop the way we used to do with tracing paper. A stray nose, a mouth that may have not have worked elsewhere....

As I said, my sketches fill me with horror when I look back on them. I think of them more a mumbled suggestions than anything else. Once I start painting (I paint traditionally, but use digital tools), that's when I feel like I can really see where I'm going. Or not....

I love working on the details. I spend more time than I should looking at the sky, clouds. I was playing street hockey with my son and a plane was flying at around 35,000 feet and I noticed the way the contrails broke up. Of course, the little guy used the opportunity to score, but I got some good reference for the "Oops" skywriting....

This was a nice way to end 2011. Maybe not for Rick Perry though. Maybe he'll be too busy campaigning and prepping for debates to notice this boot in the rear.
15 comments
Steve Wacksman December 20, 2011
Pitch perfect and hilarious, Dale! Your attention to detail pays huge dividends here. Talk about hiring the right man for the job- nobody could have brought that one to life the way you did.
Tim OBrien December 20, 2011
Ah, that's funny. Great piece Dale, you're firing on all cylinders!
Marc December 20, 2011
Great cover, Dale. The Bum Steer issue always grabs attention here in Texas, and this one is sure to do well--you knocked this one out of the park.
Victor Juhasz December 20, 2011
Superb. Great capture of expression. You've nailed him.
Dale December 20, 2011
Thanks guys. Marc, I was sweating a bit knowing that this would show up in your neighborhood. I think the only Texans I know are you and my right wing cousin., so it's good to know I'm at least batting .500 there.
df December 20, 2011
I think he's gonna lose that finger Dale. Nice job.
Jody Hewgill December 21, 2011
Great cover Dale. you nailed the expression.
Richard Downs December 21, 2011
Great job, Dale! That contorted mouth is too funny!
Mike Levy December 21, 2011
35 years after editor Bill Broyles and I started TEXAS MONTHLY, in 2008 I retired as publisher. Yesterday I e-mailed TJ and others on the TEXAS MONTHLY staff to say that this is not only the very best Bum Steer covers ever, it also belongs on a very short list of the best covers in the history of TEXAS MONTHLY. It really is most excellent.Dale: Be proud!!
Mike Levy December 21, 2011
35 years after editor Bill Broyles and I started TEXAS MONTHLY, in 2008 I retired as publisher. Yesterday I e-mailed TJ and others on the TEXAS MONTHLY staff to say that this is not only the very best Bum Steer cover ever, it also belongs on a very short list of the best covers in the history of TEXAS MONTHLY. It really is most excellent.Dale: Be proud!!
Dale December 22, 2011
Wow, Mike, that's a hell of a compliment. Thanks, it's greatly appreciated, I'm glad you like what T.J. and I have done.
Leo Espinosa December 22, 2011
fantastic Dale! that face cracks me up (I still hear his "ooops" in the background) His last oops is beyond funny. Perry referred to Kim Jong-Il as Kim Jong "the Second"
sock December 22, 2011
great one dale! hilarious. urgh.
John Dykes December 24, 2011
Dale - wow- this goes to your 'best of' collection, no?? Love this!!
Tee January 12, 2012
I saw this magazine at my local retail store and I was so impressed by the cover that I tried my best to memorize your name to find perhaps an online gallery. You are an amazing artist with an eye for detail my friend. :-)
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