Slideshow: Illustration Drafts of the Obama Baby Jan/Feb Cover Art

Rough drafts, vintage Saturday Evening Post images, and more details from the design process behind our Jan/Feb Obama baby cover art, as explained by Tim J Luddy, <i>MoJo</i>‘s creative director.

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Tim J Luddy explains:
When we started developing Mother JonesJanuary/February 2009 cover,
we were looking for a way to depict President-elect Barack Obama in a
lighthearted way, while acknowledging the mammoth task he has ahead of
him the minute he assumes office. After rejecting numerous ideas,
including one of Hercules shoveling dung out of the Augean stables
(you’re welcome!), we were intrigued by the image of Obama as an
innocent New Year’s baby (the thinking being that “innocence” can mean
“not guilty” of said mess, but can also imply “inexperienced.”)

I arrived at Norman Rockwell’s predecessor at the Saturday Evening Post, illustrator J.C. Leyendecker, who blogger Charley Parker claims
to be the source of the New Year’s baby metaphor. Aside from having
developed the “Arrow shirt man” (reportedly a likeness of Leyendecker’s
partner of 48 years, Charles Beach), and Saturday Evening Post covers throughout the first half of the 20th century, it seems that Leyendecker created the New Year’s baby image for a 1908 Post cover and continued to explore variations on that theme until his very last cover, on their January 2, 1943, issue.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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