Drawing, pencil on paper, photoshop, 7" x 8", 2009
On a recent visit to New York, I spent time with my friends Nathan L and Katherine M who both teach at William Howard Taft High School in the Bronx. The school has over five thousand students and was recently divided up into six small schools within the same building.
With the new division of students and faculty, it seemed there was a need to revamp the mascot to unify all of the six schools around a powerful visual image. The current school mascot is the Blue Devil, which is so watered down and generic that I'd bet most students wouldn't know one if they saw it dancing in the street. Nathan saw the need for improvement and commissioned me to create a new mascot from which all of the students and faculty could draw inspiration.
In coming up with the new design scheme, I focused on the school's namesake, the 27th president, William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857 - March 8, 1930). The most inspirational story from Taft's life is when he got stuck in the White House bathtub. I chose to render this misadventure in the style of a political cartoon:
I later modified the cartoon, so that the central image of the embarrassed and enraged Taft could stand alone as the school's new mascot:
The runner-up for the new mascot was Cowboy Taft. This heroic version of Taft won the 1902 Texas Rodeo by using his massive girth to weigh down and subdue the meanest bull in the West:
If you would like to learn more about President Taft, you should read an excellent report written by a second-grader named Jorge.