Here’s how that Chronicle of Higher Education piece turned out for Monday. In retrospect, the color scheme seems a bit limited, but I didn’t notice it until I saw it in print later the same afternoon. Been a while since I’ve done a quick turnaround piece. I guess I’m out of practice. Below is the black and white version.
Or to paraphrase a line from a Terry Pratchett novel I just read: “Is that a light at the end of the tunnel, or is the end of the tunnel just on fire?”
In the last few days of this week, after a much too quiet month, business-wise, a few jobs trickled in, which did wonders to buoy my spirits. Above are a few rough sketches for an illustration I’ll be finishing up this weekend for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Oddly enough, this is the first assignment I’ve had pertaining to the coronavirus pandemic. They wound up choosing the first one, but told me to hang on to the other one for possible future articles. And then on Friday, I was contacted by the publisher of the ‘Who Was’ series of books, to take on an upcoming book on Walt Whitman. I’m currently working on one on the Civil Rights Movement, and expect to begin work on a book about Climate Change very soon, so I anticipate having a very busy May, which has put me in a much more hopeful mood than I’ve been in several months.
Earlier in the week, I had a few spot illustrations for GreenPrints (pictured above), and I’ve been spending a lot of time this past month working on a new album for my band, the Jukejoint Handmedowns. This will be our 5th album, which we began recording in February, and then, when the ‘stay at home’ order came down in March, we decided we would attempt to finish the album in isolation, each of us recording our parts separately and sharing them with me for final mixing and mastering. We are very near completion, and below are a few of the ‘in progress’ versions of the lyric sheet insert (front and back) and the rough layout for the album cover. The album was already very dark and apocalyptic in tone before we even began, so the pandemic and shut-down seemed to fit the theme even more urgently. We are hoping to release this sometime this summer, when, hopefully, some of the restrictions loosen up.
Here we are in the third week of January already, and I haven’t posted since the ‘year in review’ near the beginning of the month. Been working on revisions to the “What Unites Us” project mostly for the first few weeks, and in the past week or so I’ve had a few new smaller projects come across my desk. The above illustration is for the Chronicle of Higher Education (one of my older clients, who I first began working for in 1991, but haven’t heard much from in the last few years). I’ve got a few book projects lined up for this month, but so far, I’m still in a holding pattern awaiting information. Meanwhile, below are a few black and white pieces for GreenPrints, and an illustration for the Common Reader that I did near the end of December. Coming up over the next few weeks, an assignment for Hudson Valley and I’ll be starting work on finished art for the Llewellyn Witches Companion interiors. Stay Tuned.
In other news, a new iPod (yes, they still make them) that I got for Christmas has forced me to upgrade my Mac system software, and once installed, has forced me to update much of my existing programs, including Painter (the application I use for most of my drawing). I wanted to wait for this inevitable upgrade until I had finished working on the “What Unites Us” project, because I’m notorious for getting bent out of shape when my drawing program changes, and I didn’t want the headaches that would naturally come with it. I’m happy to announce that, after a few glitches in installation, the new Painter 2020 seems to be operating mostly smoothly.
I’m also excited about a few other ‘art related’ activities I’ll be participating in later this week. I’ll be sitting in on a ‘Life Drawing’ event on Thursday (been many years), and on Friday I’ll be leading a ‘Comics & Creativity’ party at our house with several ‘art enthusiast’ friends. I’ll post some of the results of these exercises later in the week.
And, in music news, my band, the Jukejoint Handmedowns have started work on recording last week. We have an ambitious regimen where we plan on releasing 3 CDs this year, a collection of Originals (our 5th release), a collection of Cover Songs, and a Christmas CD.
The “polar vortex” has us in its grip this week, and I’m still awaiting a go-ahead on a large project that I expect to hear from Any Day Now. In the meantime, there’s a lot of cancellations around here and in-between shoveling the driveway, I got to thinking about that very first Oscar broadcast that me and my brother watched back in 1973. I was 11 years old, and I was a huge fan of the ‘Poseidon Adventure’, and was rooting for Shelley Winters and the Best Song category. In later years, of course, I became huge fans of several of the movies nominated this year, including The Godfather, Cabaret and Deliverance. I thought I’d put some of my spare time to use and work up another caricature poster for that seminal year (for me) of 1972/73. I may finish this up tomorrow, should my schedule permit. In the meantime, below is a quick turnaround illustration I did for the Chronicle of Higher Education on Tuesday.
A pleasant holiday in Chicago (the first celebrated at my son’s house, since his marriage in August), and now back home catching up on some quick turnaround work. Above is an illustration for the Chronicle of Higher Education, and, since these things tend to go in streaks, another ‘Uncle Sam’ themed illustration for a new client, The Common Reader for Washington University in St. Louis (a portrayal of a prison craft store purchase of an Uncle Sam figure made out of scrap metal parts).
I also finished up another fiction illustration for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine this morning (pictured below).