I don’t like to talk about potential jobs until I’m sure it’s going to happen, because one thing I’ve learned from being a professional artist so far is that any exciting potential project can fizzle out for any number of reasons so it’s best not to talk about it or else a whole lot of misunderstandings will arise (e.g. when FOX said they might be able get me some work doing Futurama merchandise art, but it didn’t end up happening. To this day I think a lot of people think I worked on the Futurama DVDs). So here’s one tale I never made mention of in public — until now!
December 2008, on a Wednesday afternoon while I was busy working on Yokaiden 2, I received this e-mail:
My name’s Bruce Ramsay. I do the covers at Newsweek. I have an IMMEDIATE need of and anime artist like yourself for a cover this week. Due Friday! $[amount removed] fee.
I can explain if you are interested and can contact me…
It’s Wed. night (here in NY)
Many, many thanks,
[phone number removed]
I wasn’t ever expecting to have someone from the second largest weekly news magazine (right behind Time) contact me hurriedly going “Nina! We need an anime artist, quick! And we want YOU.” so for a second I thought it may’ve been a joke. But sure enough, his e-mail was an official Newsweek one, so I phoned right away.
Bruce sounded stressed out, and he described himself as “frazzled”. The editor couldn’t decide on a cover for the next issue (due Friday) and kept changing his mind on it. The cover story was to be about how the Japanese auto industry is upstaging the American auto industry, and how the US can learn from Japan’s ways. The editor decided the cover art should feature The General Lee and Bo and Luke from The Dukes of Hazzard, anime style. Bruce had no idea where he could get an anime style artist, but a friend gave him two names: huge manga publisher Tokyopop, and mine. He contacted Tokyopop, who gave him a list of available artists working for them, and went to my website. He decided my style would suit the subject matter best.
I agreed to the job and did a few rough thumbnail sketches, but unfortunately, the next day he contacted me again saying the editor changed his mind again and the cover story won’t be about the auto industry at all anymore. I understood that things move incredibly fast in the production of a magazine as widely circulated as Newsweek and things change all the time, so I wasn’t too surprised either. He thanked me for the quick turnaround and sent me a nice kill fee for the few sketches I did, which was very nice of him.
It’s too bad I couldn’t do the cover, but it’s still very cool that I was given this opportunity.
P.S. I’d still love to do an awesome magazine cover, so if there’s anyone who can get me such a job reading this…contact me?