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.
This was the very first illustration assignment for Cricket magazine, who would become a fairly frequent client over the course of my freelance career until it got bought out by Carus Publishing (and they changed their payment schedule drastically, leading to my dropping them as a client). This one came across my desk at the tail end of my first year in business, just a month after my son Keenan was born. Back at this time, this magazine primarily used two color artwork on the inside of the magazine, and full color on the cover. Doing a two color separation was a bit tricky, but if I remember correctly, I ended up doing an overlay of tracing paper, and adding watercolor directly to the overlay. The original art still survives (for sentimental value probably), although the overlay has long ago disappeared. Below is the original black and white illustration, and above is how it appeared in print.
This assignment came across my desk around the final part of the month (billed out the day after Christmas), and on the final day of the year, just before New Year’s Eve, I got a call from Adweek for a cover assignment. I wish I still had the original art for this one, or even a tearsheet. I’m sure it was horrible looking, but I put a lot of work into it, late into the night to meet the tight deadline (and my first experience with FedX overnight delivery), and was a big boost to my morale when it really needed it. I began to think, ‘hey, maybe I can do this job’.
UPDATE: While going through some old paperwork in 2014, I ran across a tear sheet of the Adweek Cover (I was right, it was pretty awful looking), and here’s a photo of it: