Nathan Fox Swings for the Masters
Nathan Fox is something of a golf player. He has a decent swing and can hit it straight but, as he says, his short game "sucks." His skill with clubs wasn't going to lead him to The Masters, the ultimate golf contest in the world, so luckily his skill with pen and ink did. Golf Digest commissioned Nathan as their illustrator to bring the experience of The Masters to life, painting his way through his time on the course so that anyone who couldn't be there could understand what the official photos couldn't quite express.
This kind of journalistic artistry comes out of a long tradition that Nathan is aware, respectful, and in admiration of. He knows and studies his predecessors and relishes the experience. "I kind of love drawing on location. It was pretty awesome to be there," says Nathan. "I’ve always been a fan of on location artists and storytellers." Mentioning names like Sacco, Feliks Topolski, and Lautrec, he's continuing a long line of this work. And it's important, not just for the sake of the discipline, but photography is prohibited at the event. ("You can’t take photographs, you can get kicked out," says Nathan. "Even though I caught people sneaking it every now and then.") Since the only photography at the event is the official imagery, communicating the experience can be limited. By bringing an illustrator the event can be represented in a way that is more contextual and visceral.
The breadth of environment was a little bit more than Nathan expected. In order to capture the whole experience he found himself working in ways he didn't anticipate. "I think being there compared to what I could find online: it had a huge effect on my color palate, and some of the choices I made," Nathan explains. Not only did he shift the colors he would have used, he shifted his working process slightly. For this assignment he found himself working directly off his sketches, which is aytpical for his process. But for an assignment as unique as this, habits are going to shift. “They send you there to kind of soak it in and put it into the work, but I just brought a ton of ink and paper with me and painted the entire time and did some massive studies while on location," says Nathan. Those studies transformed directly into the final pieces and we've included some of the sketches and original paintings so you can see the development process.