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Sculpting Trump

A look at how SFR's art director created the horrible Trump face for this week's cover

August 10, 2016, 9:00 am
An early part of the process.
Anson Stevens-Bollen

We’ve been having a lot of fun at Donald Trump’s expense in our 7 Days section (and elsewhere), but this week’s SFR cover story was a little more serious. Contributor Bert Johnson’s feature delves into the thoughts of Mexican citizens in regards to proposed Trump policies in Mexico. It’s a fascinating read, but have you noticed the almost-nauseating artwork on the cover?

Like some sort Jabba the Hut-esque monstrosity, Trump’s visage oozes out of the edges of the cover and looks almost as if you could reach out and touch it in all of its horrible spray-tanned glory. It is so recognizably Donald Trump, but exaggerated in a way that is, while humorous, worthy of just how terrifying the man himself can be.

The startling clay face was created and sculpted by SFR’s very own art director, Anson Stevens-Bollen. “He’s just such a character and he deserves to be made fun of, I think,” Stevens-Bollens says during a hectic deadline day. “I just thought that his plastic appearance needed more than an illustration; it needed to look more realistic, but more plastic-y.”

Now with ears.

Stevens-Bollen says it was a relatively simple process, all things considered, that started with sculpting clay. “It’s a lot like vector art or when you draw something on a computer,” he says, “there are layers of sculpted shapes.” Once he had the basic face created, he used various sculpting tools, his bare hands and toothpicks to fashion it into the hideous creation you’ll see on the cover. “I’ve looked at his face and drawn him so many times that I’ve noticed these key features,” Stevens-Bollens continues. “Even when he’s not angry, his eyebrows are always at a “V” angle, he has small eyes … these jowls on the side of his head that define him, the signature hair-swoosh … everybody has [key features], but you have to figure them out.”

The final step was to colorize Mr. Trump in PhotoShop, a process Stevens-Bollens estimates took him around two hours. “I could’ve used paint, but I think that would’ve taken away from the texture,” he says.


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