The portrait of Obama that I did as a self promotional piece last fall found a home this week in the Los Angeles Times. It’s nice to see a spec illustration like that see some action. I’ve often thought that I perhaps ought to choose a ‘newsmaker’ once a day to do a portrait of, on the off chance that a client somewhere may have a use for it as a form of ‘home grown syndication’. It would also give me a chance to experiment with some different styles in a low pressure situation.
This week has been busy, but with ongoing projects that may not see the light of day until later this month or next. I had a few assignments this past weekend for the Far Eastern Economic Review in Hong Kong, and they are pictured below. One was a cover, and another dealt with Mixed Martial Arts.
I also had a rush assignment on Tuesday for the Chronicle of Higher Education. The founder of the ‘Pell Grants’ had died over the weekend, and this was a tribute article. I also had a quick turnaround assignment for Barrons, a similar idea to one that I had done the week before, sort of a ‘banks who survived the mess’ portrayal. Any excuse to draw some boats.
About six months ago, I had a project for the Miami Herald regarding the ‘weak economy’ in which I submitted as one of my concepts, a parody of the old Charles Atlas ads (in the original, the US Dollar was being kicked around by the Euro). When it wasn’t selected, I set it aside, and sent it along to an associate of mine, who I had done a few editorial humor pieces with (and a faux children’s book earlier this year). I thought it might make an interesting graphic later on down the road, perhaps with a different subject matter. Well, this week, with the $700 billion buyout story dominating the news, it finally seemed to fall into place. The call came on Wednesday, and by Thursday night’s LA deadline it was shipped off to the Los Angeles Times for inclusion in the Friday paper. (click on the image above for a larger, easier to read version)
One disappointment though. The original bathing suit design I had put on ‘Hank’ ended up getting nixxed at the last moment. They thought it was too.. um.. racy.
Still keeping fairly busy, but you can tell that summer is here. The above project was for an article in Barrons about avoiding ‘committee investing’. Originally had goldfish in the sketch version, but they wanted something a little less ‘cute’. I was mostly just thinking about keeping it colorful. Bluegills were a nice alternative. Probably pointless though, because there is often the chance that the finish will print in greyscale. A little ‘T&A’ for the usual ‘health care’ spots for the Wall Street Journal (pictured below). The first one was about cellulite removal devices, and then a tricky one on breast self exams, but that they didn’t want to actually show a breast.
I had another illustration for the Miami Herald a few weeks back, this one about rising gas prices. Below that is another fiction assignment for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. This one was set in a New Orleans brothel sometime in the late 1800s. A bit tricky on the police costumes, as I had no reference.
I had another op ed graphic piece appear in the Los Angeles Times last week. This one was a humor piece on the ‘christian license plates’ available in South Carolina. One of the plates is pictured below, and more can be seen in the link here. There were actually a few more than these that didn’t get used. This was more of a ‘graphics’ job than an illustration assignment, dealing with typestyles and layouts, something I really don’t feel comfortable doing.
The illustration above was a bit of spec work that I took on over the last couple weeks, written by the authors of the ‘Dick Cheney’ book (which will be hitting the shelves on Tuesday). They shopped it around to several newspapers as a way of getting a ‘plug’ for the book, and it eventually got picked up by the LA Times. It appears today as the top half of their op-ed page, and is also going out over their wire service, so it should be interesting to see where else it pops up. If you click on the image, you will be taken to a larger sized version, where you can actually read the type.
The last couple weeks have been kind of quiet. I had little more to do other than the usual Wall Street Journal gigs. The ‘health care’ spot to the left was about ‘kettlebells’, a new type of exercise fad from Russia. I also had a black and white weekend edition spot, that was a bit more rushed than usual, so I took a chance and jumped the gun on the finish before the sketch was actually approved, and ended up choosing the wrong one (which is why I now have two versions of this illustration). This one was about divergent viewpoints on the current ‘economic crunch’ (they went with the ‘glass half full’ illustration).
Just about the time I was starting to get worried again about how slow it was getting (you’d think I’d be used to this rollercoaster after almost twenty years of it) — then work started coming in again. I got a big project for the Christian Reformed Church, which should be keeping me very busy over the next month or so, and a couple illustrations from Hong Kong, a full page illo for the ABA, another mystery fiction assignment for AHMM, and a cover for a magazine client I hadn’t heard from in a while for Tuesday. So things are looking up. Going to be pretty busy over the coming week, as we will be getting ready to take a short spring break vacation down to Arizona starting Thursday, see my Dad, catch a Diamondbacks game, and do a little disc golfin’.