There are certain illustrators who I lean on heavily when times are tough (meaning, I have no idea what to do for art). Perhaps the subject of an article is very abstract, or complex, and I need someone who can distill it down to its essence for me. James Yang is one of those artists. I’ve worked with him for many years, and he has pulled me out of a fair number of art dilemmas. He is someone I know I can hand a difficult assignment, and he will come through with flying colors. He makes ME look smart, when really he is the smart one.
The article “Monkey Mind” is about overcoming mental chaos, so I asked James to give me sketches that “represent what Monkey Mind feels like.” He gave me several clever sketches (above left), and I was totally charmed by his monkey characters. My only thought was “I need more monkeys!” So he revised two of his original ideas to include more of the little buggers (above right). The final art (below) does a great job of showing how it feels to be overwhelmed by the various thoughts that are constantly going in and out of our minds. Here’s hoping we can all conquer our own monkey minds and gain focus on what’s important. Thanks to James for helping me out with this illustration!