Despite the fact that 2011 was one of the slowest years since the mid nineties, it had its share of highlights and bright spots. I had a few high profile assignments this year that I hope to share later in the year once they ‘go public’, and I got some encouragement by hearing from a few old clients who I hadn’t heard from in a while. Rather than wallow in self pity this summer during a slow period, I gave myself a challenge and assigned myself a ‘drawing a day’ for a 90 day span, which both served to keep me busy, and let me experiment with some new styles and techniques (some of which came in handy when the work started picking up later in the year).
On the personal side, my wife had to go back to work this year to help make ends meet (and the health insurance, which ended up being a bigger blessing in the long run). We didn’t get much sailing in due to hectic schedules, but I did a great deal of bike riding during the summer months, and my wife and I joined an adult softball league in the fall through the community radio station that wife has begun deejaying for this year. My son finished up his Junior year at Columbia, and is now halfway through his Senior year, with plans on graduating in the spring. He has started playing with a number of bands and pick-up groups on the side, as well as working for both the school in the writing department, and for my brother at his restaurant on the north side of Chicago.
On the music front, the Jukejoint Handmedowns had a fairly good year, keeping pretty busy as well as adding a third member in the spring. I kept track of income for the ‘music’ this year, and actually made a small profit (not enough to make up for the shortfall in the illustration business, but encouraging nonetheless).
Anyhow, here’s hoping for a brighter year ahead for all of us, on to my 23rd year in the business, with my 50th birthday coming in a few short weeks. Here’s what I consider my ‘best work’ of the year (keeping in mind that there are a few pieces that I did last year which should be in here as well, but will share later for contractual reasons):
Approximately 225 (plus 90 extracurricular) illustrations completed this year (down slightly from the previous year) bringing the grand total up to approximately 12,476 illustrations since 1989.