The April 1977 issue of American Artist magazine includes an article by Nick Meglin in which he describes exactly why legendary cartoonist Jack Davis will never yield the title of "fastest draw in the East or West" to any challenger. To demonstrate this claim, Meglin provides a series of roughs Davis prepared for the October 1974 cover of Time magazine.
Meglin tells us that not only would Jack davis often be called later in the week, when Time's editors had for one reason or another decided to change track on a cover story, but even on this abbreviated schedule Davis would typically begin by providing the editors with as many as 15 rough concept sketches!
Davis would execute these concepts on a special pad Time provided to its cover artists (as you can see in these examples) pre-printed with a red border and black TIME logo at the same size as the actual magazine.
Once Davis received approval, the execution of the finished illustration would typically take him less than 24 hours. He would then deliver the artwork in person to Time's downtown New York offices. Remarkably, in the case of this particular cover, the concept was changed yet again, even after the artork had been completed -- and the amazing Jack Davis, "fastest draw in the East or West" began and finished another entirely new cover in just three hours in the client's office!
* Many thanks to Bill Peckmann, who provided all of today's scans!