Been a while since I’ve written.
The green light to begin sketches on the graphic novel came through over the weekend, and I began work on outlining the structure of the book, and this week I have been hard at work at sketches. Nice to be busy again. I’ve set the paint brushes aside for now, but hopefully when things get a bit more under control I can return to them.
But as a nice reward for getting back into the painting, I decided to enter three pieces in this year’s “Festival of the Arts” visual arts competition. Our town hosts an all-volunteer run arts festival every year (this is their 50th year anniversary), and I have only ever entered artwork once before, way back in 1990 (or thereabouts). I am pleased to report that all three were accepted and will be on display from June 1-22 at the old art museum here in Grand Rapids. From the previous post, the paintings were “Life of the Party” (the sleeping man with the party hat), “Shot and a Beer” (man in the tee shirt with the bottle of J&B) and “The Water’s Fine” (the girl in the bathing suit).
Meanwhile, I’ve also had a few smaller assignments to work on in the margins. Above was another fiction piece for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and below is a sketch for an upcoming River Styx assignment.
And as a sneak peek at what has been taking up most of my time this week, here’s a look at one of the sketch pages for the Dan Rather “What Unites Us” graphic novel. More on this, I’m sure, over the coming months.
I received a very nice Christmas surprise in the mail this week. I have been working for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine since my first year in business (1989), but, unfortunately, I have not been very good at saving my original artwork and/or printed samples over the past thirty years. I put out an online ‘appeal’ to anyone who may have back issues of this magazine to try and recover some of these lost illustrations from my early years in the freelance business (some 33 missing pieces to this puzzle when I first made my christmas list). Thanks to a reader in New Jersey, and over the course of the past several months, I have now been able to fill in the blanks in that chronology to the tune of 20 missing illustration assignments from the years 1989-1993 (many of these arriving the day after Christmas).
Of course, most of these early illustrations appear very amateurish to me now, (looking back from a thirty year perspective) but it is interesting to me to look back and see how far I’ve come. Here’s a link to a AHMM checklist of each and every illustration I’ve done for them in the past thirty years.
The illustration above was for a Holiday card design I did for this publisher back in 2007.
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).
Between finishing up another MacMillan ‘Epic Fails’ project, and the Wheatland Music Festival over the weekend, and several smaller projects pictured here on this post, it has been a busy week (and catching a cold partway through it didn’t help matters any). Above was the finished illustration for Dover’s Evergreen Classics line of reprints, this one for ‘A Little Princess’ (I had shown a sketch version of this one last week, and they asked that the monkey be moved over to the window for the final version). Below is the finished version of the Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine illustration. This one is drastically different than the original sketch. The editors felt that a ‘hanged man’ would be too disturbing for their readers, so I picked a scene from earlier in the story. I’ve been doing illustrations for AHMM now for almost thirty years, you can see an entire checklist and links to all the illustrations here.
Below that, it is once again that time of year for the Llewellyn Witches Companion cover. I’ve been doing these now for over a decade, and it is interesting to see what concepts the editors come up with each year to keep it unique and different, and yet, basically the same.
Aside from the book illustrations I’ve been doing every day for the past few weeks, I also had a sketch today for an upcoming Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine story. Tune in next week for the finished version. Also, be sure and check out the index of all the AHMM illustrations I’ve done since 1989.