Posts Tagged ‘Siempre Mujer Magazine’

A few months ago I walked into my creative director’s office at Siempre Mujer Magazine, where I work as the photo editor. She was in the middle of doing stock research for a story she was designing. If you don’t know, stock research is the process of finding pre-existing art to use for publication. Anyway, she wasn’t having much luck in finding a suitable image, so she asked if I’d be interested in doing an illustration for the article. Being that I’m the photo editor at the magazine, this really isn’t something I do too often for them, but I found the topic of the article interesting, which was why meditation and good eating is good for a healthy heart in women. I also thought it would be a good idea for me to add a womens’ focussed piece to my portfolio, since it lacks those kinds of works.  The illustration was slated to run as a FULL PAGE, which was also an added incentive to do the assignment. I immediately saw a few images in my head, so I sketched them out really quickly. (See the sketches below.) When I do sketches for assignments or personal projects, I always try to think up at least three different concepts, to help fully explore the topic. I try to keep the drawing very loose and rough. This helps me to not commit to any one idea too soon.  When presenting my sketches to clients, this technique also helps to move the discussion forward quickly because I’m giving them options. Clients LOVE options.  Here’s a little side note. I’m an illustrator and I’m a photo editor, so I have the unique opportunity to place myself in the shoes of the client/art buyer and the artist. Having a foot in both worlds really gives me valuable insight into each one. Anyway, I digress.


SKETCH #1: For this idea I wanted to create a light atmospheric mood, by showing heart shaped balloons rising into the sky. The main character grasping the balloon affectionately is symbolic of her taking care and loving her heart.

SKETCH#2: For this idea I wanted to evoke a sense of power, which stems from a healthy heart. I was planning to make the heart look like an ornate tattoo design. I added flowers to the composition to represent life and the beauty of living.

SKETCH#3: For this idea I wanted to make the role of the woman be a super hero, her heart being her super power deflecting off danger.

The creative director and editor-in-chief approved SKETCH #1. They also requested that I do a RUN-OVER image to accompany the main FULL PAGE illustration. RUN-OVER illustrations usually appear much smaller than the main piece and they usually echo the idea of it.  So, I drew up this tighter sketch along with an idea for the RUN-OVER illustration, which was a bowl of salad floating on a heart shaped balloon.


At this point I had to show the tighter sketches to my creative director to get approval to move to the final illustration. Once I got her blessing, it was time to get busy.  My illustration technique is made up of a combination of  traditional and digital techniques. I printed the sketch onto a clean sheet of water color paper and then I inked it using waterproof india ink and a brush.


Then I scanned my drawing into the computer so I could start the coloring process in PHOTOSHOP.


These are progress shots I took while working on the piece. Naturally there’s a lot of back and fourth during this process such as figuring out colors and in this case, I changed a few elements in the characters face, hair and the clouds in the bottom right corner. I also added a set of buddhist prayer beads to the main character’s wrist, which is a tiny detail that I thought would re-enforce the idea of meditation, which this piece is ultimately about.

Finally, the piece was finished and I delivered it to the client aka my boss.



Here’s how the story turned out in the end.



Thanks for looking!



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I’m super late posting this, but hey, better late than never. For the April/May 2013 cover of Siempre Mujer, which was shot by Warwick Saint, we featured The Today Show’s, Natalie Morales! It was honestly a great experience working with her. She was sweet and excited to be on set with us. While we were picking the clothes she was going to wear for the shoot Natalie told me,”I’m here to have fun!” Which, was exactly what Warwick and I wanted to hear. Our awesome team consisted of Marie Argenziano (hair), Ja Nina Lee (make up) and Deborah Ferguson (Wardrobe). The cover and cover story was designed by our Creative Director, Stacy Marchelos. Special thanks to Gilda Torres for helping with the coordination. What did Natalie have to say about the shoot? Follow the link and see for your self.  Natalie Morales is cover girl for Siempre Mujer.




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Above is Siempre Mujer’s latest cover featuring actress, singer, songwriter, model and producer Roselyn Sanchez. It was shot by Omar Cruz, styled by Debroah Furguson with hair and make up by Clark Ivor. We shot this in Atlanta, GA where Roselyn is currently working on her new Lifetime TV series, Devious Maids. This cover is meant to promote, “The Heart Truth” , which is a campaign for women about heart disease. The red dress acts as a symbol to alert women to take action to protect their heart health. Since 2003 The Heart Truth has organized a Red Dress Collection runway show during fashion week with leading members of the fashion industry in hopes of bringing awareness to heart disease in women. This year, Roselyn was part of the show.

This cover is one of my new favorites, but it wasn’t easy to arrive to this final image. While working on this project the concept of the photo shoot shifted directions many times, right up until the final moments before shooting it. These shifts in direction were often due to technical, budget and time constraints, which isn’t out of the ordinary.  In fact, it would be out of ordinary if everything worked out as planned. When the photographer, the creative director (Stacy Marchelos) and my self first spoke about the creative direction for this cover, we decided that we wanted to create a monochromatic effect with a textured red back ground and a red dress worn by Roselyn. I usually order the back grounds we had in mind from a company located here in New York. They’re usually beautifully painted on large rolled canvases, which would have cost a fortune to ship. So, I had to find a back drop rental company in Georgia, which was easy enough. However, when the back drop arrived to the studio, the quality we were looking for was seriously lacking. So, we had to come up with a plan B.  Luckily enough, the studio had a large roll of red seamless paper. However, we were all less than thrilled with how it looked. As we stood and pondered, this black freight door caught my attention. When I pointed it out to the creative director and the photographer, they both loved it as well, so we decided to shoot a few options in front of the door as well as the red seamless paper. NOTE: An age old art director secret at any photo shoot when forced to make a complicated decision is to shoot it both ways! Then your never wrong. Of course it’s easy to joke about this now, but the moment was a little stressful because of the sums of money being spent to get the perfect shot. It was just dumb luck that this door was located in the studio, but it took a certain level of calm and awareness to actually notice that it might be the solution to the problem when your in a mild panic. Before I sign off, I’ll leave you with another cool little story behind the picture below, which is another example of thinking on your feet. We staged an area to photograph Roselyn and her baby girl in front of a beautiful textured metal wall and vintage chair. However, as soon as Roselyn sat down with her daughter, she began to cry uncontrollably, the baby, not Roselyn. (ha!) Anyway, Roselyn had to get up and walk around to sooth her. Omar, our photographer, instinctively got up and followed her to capture this amazing shot. In summery, I guess the best plan is to pay attention and live in the moment as not to miss the little special pieces of the puzzle that present them selves to you. As usual, the team was great and we had a ton of fun getting this done. Roselyn was also amazing and did her best to help us get what we needed for the project.






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Let them eat cake or cup cakes, it really doesn’t make a matter as long as they, or in this case, “she” makes a mess of it in the most gorgeous of ways. The story was written by Jess Torres, who by the way, is pretty awesome at this sort of thing. The come up with cool creative stories that are seriously fun to shoot kind of thing. The over all concept of the story was a play off of the Seven Deadly Sins. In this case they were referred to as the “Seven Deadly Skin Sins” or “Los 7 Pecados Capitales De La Piel”. The idea was to show this beautiful, unobtainable, bombshell engaging in a series of bad habits that will ultimately harm her flawless skin. Our model Sarah Blessing seriously nailed the character of the story with next to no direction. She just understood it, which made my job a hell of a lot easier. As a matter of fact, the whole crew made my job incredibly simple. Many thanks to Jeff Harris (photographer), Javier Romero (make up artist), Maribel Carrero (hair stylist) and Ariana Salvato, (wardrobe/prop stylist). Anyway, take a gander at the story, it was laid out by Siempre Mujer’s Creative Director Stacy Marchelos.

Writer: Jess Torres

Photography: Jeff Harris

Creative Director: Stacy Marchelos

Photo Editor: David Cooper

Make up: Javier Romero

Hair: Maribel Carrero

Stylist: Ariana Salvato

Thanks for stopping by.


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I’m about to write something that’s hard to put into words exactly. I often forget that my day to day job, luckily enough, involves making images. How lucky am I? Everyday I get to work with a dedicated and talented team to produce photographs of aspiration and beauty. From this day forward, I’ll try not to forget that and post these images from time to time here on my blog.

With that said, here’s a fashion feature that I produced for Siempre Mujer Magazine, which appeared in our June/July 2012 issue. Ok, what do I mean by the word “produced” exactly? Well it basically means I organized a kick ass team to produce some killer work. For instance, on this fashion feature I presented the following suggestions to the Editor In Chief, the Creative Director and the Executive Director: Photoshoot location, photographer, hair/make up artist and model. I sometimes also suggest the wardrobe stylist, but for this specific story the Executive Editor new who she wanted to use for the project. Once all of my suggestions are discussed and approved, it’s up to me to get everything in order for our shoot day.  This particular story was shot on location in St. Lucia, so it actually involved a lot of moving parts such as finding a day that everyone could work together, fee’s for the job, setting up fee’s for travel days, contract negotiations, scheduling flights, hotels and transportation for the crew, getting wardrobe and photo equipment through customs and into the country, setting up details with the shoot location, setting up ground transportation on shoot day, and finally setting up lunch and breakfast for the crew. When its all said and done and the shoot is over, I make my initial “selects” to use in the story. (This is where the phrase “photo editor” actually comes into play.) Then, I show my picks to the Creative Director and the Executive Editor to discuss which images we’re going to actually use in the magazine, a decision that we all must agree on. This usually involves a lot of back and fourth between me, the creative director and the executive editor. We have to consider a lot of details such as the over all rhythm of the story, the appearance of the cloths we’re trying to feature, the facial expressions of the model etc. Usually, once the creative director places the images into the layout it’s clear to see what actually works and what doesn’t.

This story in particular was a bit of an adventure, which was scary and accelerating at the same time. To make a long story short, we had a plan set, but once we got to the island we completely veered from it by renting a cab for the day to explore and shoot where ever made the most sense for the story. I thought to myself, “We “ONLY” have about $20 grand riding on this story, let’s just through caution into the wind, and make it up as we go along!” (NOTE: I really wasn’t all that calm about it.) Anyway, I’m glad we made it up as we went along because it actually produced a pretty cool story. Check it out:

For a cool look behind the scenes check out this video by Siempre Mujer’s web editor, Haymme Marin.



Photographer: Didier Gault

Wardrobe Stylist: Ellen Silverstein

Hair and Make up: Bryan Lynde

Creative Director: Stacy Marchelos

Executive Editor: Ursula Carranza

Photo Editor: David Cooper

Digital Tech: Christopher Keller

Photo Assistant: Michael Ellis

Wardrobe Assistant: Lisa Metropolis

Model: I bet you’d like to know, but I can’t say.

Web Editor: (Behind The Scenes Video): Haymme Marin

Carnet Broker: Western Overseas

Location: The Island of St. Lucia and The Morgan Bay Beach Resort

Thanks for reading!


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I was looking through the photo’s on my  Iphone recently and I came across this one.  It’s a behind the scenes shot of Danna Garcia getting ready for a cover shoot for Siempre Mujer Magazine last year. She was down to earth and relaxed. Great shoot, great conversation.

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Oh, hello. Your back again! How nice. Check this one out. This is a concept I drew up for a perfume story that ran in the Sept/Oct 2010 issue of Siempre Mujer Magazine. We wanted the image to be mysterious and  empowering at the same time. Once the idea was approved by my Creative Director & Beauty Editor, I discussed the details on how to translate this drawing into a photograph with our photographer, Jeff Harris.

Photography by Jeff Harris. Creative Director: Stacy Marchelos.

BOOM! This is what we came up with.

Thanks for visiting.



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