I had a blast creating a conceptual sports image for The LA Times’ annual NBA Preview section. It is always a thrill to create full-tabloid size images for them, and I am very lucky to do so for a great art director! For this image, we had to work fast as the deadline was tight. But again, I am very lucky to work with someone who trusts me and with whom I am comfortable both taking artistic risks and trusting with my images.

The concept for this image had to be based on how critics feel this year is the last chance for the current Clippers roster to win a championship as well as how the Lakers are now a young team with their chances coming in the future. For those that don’t know, Los Angeles has two NBA teams so both needed to be represented in the preview.

I sent over these roughs even though the art director was pretty set on the hourglass concept after I pitched it in an email. I loved the absurdity of #3, but it was probably way too silly for sports fans.

Here is the original sketch based off of the selected rough. We decided to use likenesses of players Blake Griffin and D’Angelo Russell. The image is designed so that when the reader rotates the page, they see a successful Laker player coming up out of the sands of time ( which accumulate as the Clippers’ time runs out).

The sketch was revised by dropping the columns and basketball hoop; this made room for text as the hourglass was to run the whole length of the page. Eliminating the hoop altered the message of the Clippers’ player which was a shame as I liked how he was clinging to it while being pulled by the sand. But being a professional means making those changes and not taking it personally 🙂 The image was still strong so I was happy to do so. As you can see, I was already working on aspects of the final while we were still refining the sketch. Tick tock tick tock!

Here is the final version that I submitted. I delivered it with a separate background layer so that the art director could play with the color for optimal printing. They actually decided to go with a slate background, and they said “it printed SOOOOOOOOO well!”

And here is the final printed version shown both right side up and flipped so that you can see how it looks both ways.

Thanks for reading!

Enjoy the Day,

Chris