This illustration is a piece by Ralph Steadman, the notorious “gonzo artist” companion of Hunter S. Thompson. What I really love about Steadman’s work is the amount of energy he’s able to convey. The splattered ink, confident messy lines, and selective use of color give his work the feeling of quickly drawn impressions and brutal honesty. Everything Steadman does looks pretty much like this, but though his style is consistent, and has been for years, it manages to avoid seeming contrived. This particular illustration, which refers to the protest at Chicago’s Democratic National Convention in 1968, captures the chaos of the scene brilliantly. Panicked eyes, reaching hands, a flurry or billy clubs, and barely human, sneering cops are crowded into the frame and seem ready to tumble out. It’s easy to imagine from this what people who were at this event might have experienced, and it is that ability to create understanding and empathy, more than a show of technical skill, that makes an illustration great.