Continuing with my salute to the Presidents (with President’s Day falling on Monday of this week), I’ve dug up all the presidential illustrations I’ve done in my nearly thirty year career. The more obscure early presidents from John Quincy Adams through James Buchanan are mostly culled from a few projects from about ten years ago, a collection of caricature portraits for a Dover Sticker Book, and a series of woodcut illustrations for a set of Uncle Goose Presidential Blocks (I’ll have to share a photo I have of former President Clinton holding a set of these blocks in a future posting). Once we get to Lincoln, I have several illustrations to dig out of the archives, and scrolling down we also find an extra James Madison and George Washington that I had forgotten about (dating back to around 2002).
In honor of President’s Day (which fell on Monday of this week), I’ve collected every illustration that I could find in my archives in which I’ve portrayed George Washington. 3 of the most recent illustrations are from the ‘What Was the Constitution?’ book which I just completed a few months ago, and the others are from various sources, including the Uncle Goose President Blocks (upper left), Dover Presidential Sticker Book (2nd clockwise from the top), a few early Cobblestone illustrations (more or less center), an illustration from the Miami Herald (bottom left) and a cover illustration for Barnes and Noble (bottom right).
And then, since I found an extra ‘George Washington’ that I did for the Wall Street Journal (the dollar bill portrait with the black eye), I’ve collected all the 2nd and 3rd Presidential portraits that I have in my archives. Again, some from the Presidential Sticker Book from Dover, and from the Uncle Goose Presidential Blocks, plus some others from various sources. Below are the portraits I did of Madison (many from the same ‘Constitution book’ that I recently completed), and the only two times that I’ve drawn James Monroe. The remaining presidents I have on file are rather hit or miss, but I may continue with this series at a future date.
And I almost forgot the paper dolls that I had done just last year for a book on Alexander Hamilton, so here’s Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison one more time.
This assignment above is for an upcoming issue of Ask magazine on pirates. The inspiration for this particular illustration was an image that I had done almost two years ago for a book cover (original pictured to the right), but with some changes to fit their needs. This was one of my favorite images of the past few years, and it interesting to try and recreate some of what I had done back then, and try to improve on the image if possible. Tried some slightly different colorings and techniques, and used myself as a model for the pirate. A fun assignment, surprisingly, and gets me in the correct frame of mind for a series of ‘Treasure Island’ illustrations I’ll be working on over the next few weeks.
Also, on Friday, I had a quick turnaround assignment for the Wall Street Journal. Some hopeful signs for the economy, but I don’t think I’m done drawing bears just yet.
After we returned from our ‘disc golf tour of Wisconsin’ during the second week of August, we had planned on taking a few days at home and then spending the rest of the following week on our boat on Lake Michigan, but weather conspired against us, and we ended up staying home for most of the week, and doing a few short daysails when the weather cleared. Plenty of work was waiting for me when I got back. A set of 4 illustrations for Cricket magazine about whaling in New Zealand and an interesting human/killer whale cooperation that took place there for a time. This is a client that I’ve been working for since my first year in business (back in ’89), although the original AD has moved on during the past year, and the new AD seems to have me pegged as the ‘historical nautical’ specialist. I’ve included only one of the four illustrations (above), as they are unusual shapes that spread across two page spreads, and this one I’ve chosen is probably the best of the lot.
The Wall Street Journal (and affiliated publications) took up the lion’s share of the rest of the workload over the following few weeks. My bi-monthly ‘health column’ (pictured left) regarding some sort of herbal remedy for night sweats. Then a ‘chart accompaniment’ illustration in black and white later in the week. (pictured below right) Something to do with the market gyrations, ups and downs, etc. And then there was also a piece on ‘bullies’, which I don’t quite remember what the story angle was, that was also for the same paper at a different time of the week.
And, for Barrons, who I’ve been doing more and more work for lately, I had an assignment that I had the good fortune to convert from a single illustration to an additional spot thanks to the client enjoying both of my sketch ideas. The story was about some banking scandal where the institution didn’t have the requisite funds in the vault (or something like that). The larger spot is pictured below and the smaller spot is below that to the left. (one of them ended up being used on the contents page as a ‘teaser’)
And, then, in addition to all the ‘financial’ subject matter, I had an assignment the Chronicle of Higher Education, who wanted an illustration to accompany a story about study programs abroad, and the government’s interference with them (or at least that’s how I remember the story – memory is a bit fuzzy on this one). I liked how this one turned out. I usually have trouble with ‘shoes’, but these turned out quite nice. I especially like the background shading that I used, I tend to go a little too light on the backgrounds, perhaps that is why I always feel like ‘color’ tends to diffuse the power of the scratchboard medium. Maybe I’m just being too wimpy with it.
Also had a quick spot for one of Niche Media’s regional publications regarding tongue in cheek etiquette advice for fine dining, more specifically, not fighting over the bread plate. Did this one in a bit more of a ‘cartoonish’ style, something I used to do a lot more of, but has fallen by the wayside of late.
Around this time I also had a same day illustration for Newsday (pictured below). Something to do with sluggishly slow progress on urban development projects in the area.
A pair of illustrations to accompany a story about a flooded farm and the rescue of a trapped calf for Cricket magazine was the big highlight of the latter half of a rather slow November. I had a lot of fun working on this pair of illustrations, as I got a chance to draw what for me has always been a very challenging animal, the horse.
I’m not real familiar with horses, from a structural or familiarity standpoint, and they always require a lot of research and planning on my end whenever an assignment requires their portrayal. (another ‘horse’ assignment is to the right, that also came through around this time, this one a small rush job for the Wall Street Journal) The illustration above would be the opening splash illustration, and the one below would be a smaller spot further into the text on the 3rd page of the story.
And another fiction illustration for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, this one had to do with a murder investigation that involved a poisoning by rather obscure art materials, so my solution was a rather detailed and elaborate still life of an artists worktable.
Besides the two ‘fiction’ assignments, I also had the usual ‘health care’ column gig for the Journal that comes along every two weeks. This one on cholesterol screenings. And over the weekend, during this time, I also had a pair of portraits for the Far Eastern Economic Review in Hong Kong.
My memory isn’t real good regarding the subject matter of these two portraits. I think one of them was the female ruler of the Philippines President Arroyo (the sinking boat was something to do with keeping the market afloat perhaps?) (right), and I don’t quite remember who the other one portrait was of (pictured further below the ‘dove’ picture)
The ‘dove on a sword’ illustration above was for America magazine, that concerned the middle east peace process, if memory serves. I really liked how this one turned out, the white dove made a nice contrast with the dark blood encrusted sword, and some subtle blood splashes across the illustration kept it from becoming too static.
For a while now, I’ve been getting a series of assignments from time to time from Newsday whenever someone newsworthy passes on. This latest one was a personal essay about someone who considered the late Ed Bradley a good mentor, and rather than the usual straight on head shot portrait, I submitted a sketch of a view from behind of the ‘mentor relationship’, with only a hint of Mr. Bradley’s features as one of my concepts. This ended up being the one that was chosen by the AD. Not really sure I’d categorize it as a ‘portrait’, however it seemed to suit the article well.
And, finally, I had a pair of illustrations for Barrons. The first one was a rather strangely shaped illo that showed a small figure hauling a house up from the edge of a cliff (not pictured, as it doesn’t fit the page well, leaving a lot of white space around it, and not a particularly interesting illustration at that), and the other one regarded the wealthy taking advantage of tax breaks for making donations of personal effects. The AD wanted to make sure we understood how ‘wealthy’ the main character looked, so I sort of took a Thurston Howell the Third approach with the smoking jacket and ascot.