Blog : The Man Behind the SCHOOL PLAY Poster

Posted by eddie

 | in The Film

I've always loved watching Tim O'Brien draw. Tim is a friend, a neighbor, boxer, runner, husband and dad. He's also one of America's best illustrators. (Whether you know it or not, you've been looking at Tim's work for years - on the covers of magazines, on postage stamps, on your favorite book covers...)

Some of Tim's recent artwork. You can see why he was named the 'illustrator of the year' in 2009!

I've watched Tim paint and draw for hours in the past. Our families go on vacation together and, when you're with Tim, you see that he just can't help himself. He sketches while we make supper. He even paints on the kids, turning them into superheroes before bedtime. If there's a surface to draw on and a minute to spare, Tim's happy.

With Tim on vacation: Sketching me cooking dinner. Tim, after painting on the kids. Once, he even painted a window onto the wood ceiling of the beach house - so realistic, you'd think it opens!

We were really lucky in that Tim was willing to draw the art work for SCHOOL PLAY. I got to hang out in his studio, the famous Tim O'Brien lair on the top floor of his house in Brooklyn, and watch him bring our poster to life. It's like watching a magic show  - lines coming together to form emotions. A hand waves across a page, whole stories spring to life. He really should charge admission!

Watching Tim draw the SCHOOL PLAY artwork was particularly cool because I'd never seen him work on the computer before.

The funny thing about the SCHOOL PLAY poster is that it's not really a typical "Tim O'Brien" illustration. Tim's known for his startling realism and extraordinary detail. But for this painting, Rick and I wanted less 'realism'. Yes, it is for a documentary film. But our goal from the beginning was to make more of 'a memory play' than a realistic rendering. We were hoping to capture childhood through rose-colored glassed. The art work had to capture this notion too.

Tim was of course more than up to the task. We think he's created another iconic image, perfectly capturing the fear and excitement of a child stepping out onto a stage for the first time. Thanks, Tim!

To see how the SCHOOL PLAY art work came together from Tim's perspective, check out his blog. And while you're there, look at some of his other amazing work! TIM O'BRIEN'S BLOG