If you happen to be heading off to see “the southernmost glacial lake in the hemisphere that has been preserved in pristine condition totally free from development or encroachment” you’d find yourself in the Poconos, in northeastern Pennsylvania, visiting the Lacawac Sanctuary. While there you’d have a decent chance of running into a sign pointing out the kind of wildlife that inhabits the area. The sign was painted about five years ago by New Yorker cartoonist, Bob Eckstein. Mr. Eckstein recently agreed to answer a few questions for Ink Spill about the sign.
Michael Maslin: Have you ever done anything like this sign before?
Bob Eckstein: I’ve done many assignments similar to this although it had been quite awhile. But when I first started out I made my living painting photo-realistically and that included educational signs like this. That was before computers. I’d use French crayons and gel mediums. Very suddenly I changed to a very loose style and worked in gauche and acrylics. When the computer came along I immersed myself into Corel Painter and I was able to handle way more jobs and the demands of the clients such as color correction, changes and time (I used to have to scan my paintings on a scanner drum). Digital files became so much more efficient…for me.
MM: How long did it take?
BE: About four straight days.
MM: What materials did you use?
BE: Sketched it on-site, scanned it and painted it and the animals (using photograph reference) with Corel Painter on a Mac .
MM: Did you work on it at home, or on the site?
BE: Early stage on site and finish on my computers at my studio which is located walking distance from this sign. I have a house right outside the entrance to the sanctuary. I actually walk to this site each day for exercise