Visual artists rarely get their due. Photographs and illustrations on the internet are treated as in service to the writing (when they’re not being repurposed or stolen outright). An effective piece of art, however, can articulate a story just as well as words can. Which is why at The Takeout, our art department is absolutely vital to our storytelling process.
In case you don’t know, The Takeout is under the corporate umbrella of Onion Inc., which includes beloved internet sites The Onion, Clickhole, and The A.V. Club. Which means that story you shared on Facebook of an Inconsolable Jeff Sessions trying to commit suicide by smoking a joint? That was created by the same group of 10 Onion Inc. graphic artists that designs The Takeout.
This is how our process works: Each Monday afternoon, I get together with the art department to discuss upcoming feature stories on The Takeout. We then brainstorm concepts and medium: Do we commission an original illustration? Are we going for abstraction or playing it literally? How much humor do we want to mine? Each project is then assigned to an artist—and over the course of a week—mocked-up, workshopped, edited, then delivered. So a piece of Takeout art often takes longer to execute than the written story it accompanies.
In any case, we wanted to take a moment—honestly, a moment is insultingly brief—to highlight some of the original artwork of The Takeout from our first six months. Here’s to the artists and illustrators of Onion Inc., and everywhere else.
From The Onion art director Nicole Antonuccio comes this illustration for our story “A Tom Brady hater tries Tom Brady’s meal kits.” Turns out creative inspiration was easy to mine—Nicole is also virulently anti-Brady.
For “How to play god with fruit: a guide to ripening,” Emi Tolibas took our concept of fruits in different stages of ripening and turned it into a print gorgeous enough to hang on a wall. In fact, I’m framing this for my kitchen.
In “How I live with a tiny fridge,” we explored what it’s like (and this is a problem for many New Yorkers) to live life with ostensibly a mini-fridge. Onion Inc. artist Emma McKhann came up with this concept and execution.
Karl Gustafson added a comic book sensibility to “The Takeout’s guide to bailing on awful dates at restaurants.”
For a forthcoming story about ice cream and freezer burn, Allison Corr designed this delightful GIF—and really, more GIFs in the world isn’t a bad idea.
The assignment: Visually articulate “A blind taste test to determine the best ranch dressing.” Allison Corr pixelated out out the label, NSFW-style.
Here’s another design I liked so much, I’m thinking of hanging in my kitchen. As with the ripening fruit print above, this was illustrated by Emi Tolibas. It’s for the story “This summer is all about tropical beers inspired by fruit and tiki cocktails.”
Our final illustration comes courtesy of Natalie Peeples, who was tasked to draw an image for “How 8 minor league baseball teams with food mascots got their tasty names.” (A peanut cheering “Go Nuts!”)