Continuing with my ‘President’s Day’ Illustration Tribute, showcasing most of the Presidential illustrations I’ve done in the past thirty years.
The period from 2000-2008 was the busiest time in my career, and just so happened to coincide with George W Bush’s presidency. As a consequence, I have more illustrations of Dubya than of any other president (although Trump is starting to ridiculously come close, after only a year in office, and only half as many assignments). Most of these illustrations come from either Newsday, Legal Times, Barrons or the Wall Street Journal (although there are a few from other sources). I struggled with his likeness for a very short while at the start (would have preferred Gore had won for many reasons, one of which being the ease at which he was to draw), but once I had several of them under my belt, it got to be where I could draw him with little or no reference material. Anyhow, here’s ‘most’ of the George Bush illustrations I have in my files (there are a few more, but aren’t worth the time to drag out into the light).
I’ll be moving on to Obama, and finally the current resident of Pennsylvania Ave, tomorrow, more than likely.
Continuing this “President’s Day Tribute” with samples of every time I’ve drawn one of the Presidents in my career. Above we have Eisenhower through Johnson. Again, mostly from the Uncle Goose Presidential Blocks project, the Dover Presidential Caricature Stickers Book, and several illustrations from the Penguin books I’ve been doing recently (there’s also a leftover Theodore Roosevelt that I had skipped before, and an extra William McKinley). More to come.
At this point, we are getting to where the president was actually in office while I was working as an illustrator. I started illustrating full time in 1989, so George Bush Sr. was just getting started in his single term Presidency, and by the time Clinton came into office I had several clients that were regularly asking for illustrations featuring the sitting president. My only surviving George Bush Sr. illustration predates my ‘digital illustration’ days, and was a small spot cartoon featuring George and Barbara Bush for Christianity Today Magazine, from about 1991. When Bill Clinton came into office, I struggled for a long time with his likeness. Most of the ‘smaller samples’ on this page are from early Legal Times or Newday assignments, from back in the mid to late 90s. It was only later on, when I was getting more comfortable with the medium, that the larger samples come from (all done after he had left office). I have many more awkward examples of the early struggling days, but I think I’ll just leave them aside for now.
And, as a bonus, here’s a few more Clinton illustrations I found. A page from the Hillary Clinton Coloring Book from a few years ago featuring Bill and Hillary in an ‘American Gothic’ spoof, and an early one from Legal Times (probably circa 1998 or 99) that also features Ronald Reagan, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and one other unidentifiable character.
A week to go before we head down to the BVI for our 25th anniversary, and work has started to pick up a bit after a rather slow summer and fall. Several large projects will be keeping me busy over the Thanksgiving weekend as I try to clear out the docket. Taking vacations has never been easy as a freelancer, and with the uncertain economy I’m a bit leery of missing any work due to being in communicado.
The illustration above was for the Wall Street Journal last week. The original version is the one on the left, as I wanted to show the dark murky depths swallowing the figure near the bottom of the layout. However, the designer was worried about how it would print, so I revised it so that the solid blacks weren’t so pronounced. I’m torn as to which one I like better.
Also for the Journal earlier in the week, I had a quick rush job, an icon for a recurring feature on ‘books’. Not much direction was given, just something generic involving books and reading. I’ve posted both the color and black and white version below.
Also for the journal over the previous weekend, I had an illustration regarding ceo’s refusing bonuses during these tough times (but not necessarily the middle management).
During the past few weeks, I’ve begun hearing from a few clients who I hadn’t heard from in many years. The above map for Legal Times was the first assignment I’d done since 2005, and I also had a fun ‘icon’ assignment for Strategic Finance, who I hadn’t heard from since 2003. These were small (they will be printed approximately 1 x .5 inches) and will go with various topic headings in a ‘bulletin’ section. I’ve posted one of them at a greatly increased size, and a sampling of the rest of them at a size approximately double how they will appear in print (there were nine of these total).
There were also a few jobs for Barrons in the mix this past week. Most have been involving the economic woes of recent months. (above and below)
And, also this weekend, I had an interesting piece for the Chronicle of Higher Education, involving scientific research in the age of instant information dispersal.
And much more to come after the weekend, plus work lined up for when I get back from vacation. Nice being busy again.
Above are the monthly quota of ‘health care’ spots for the weekly column that I illustrate for the Wall Street Journal. When I started doing this column back in ’02, this was primarily a black and white assignment, and then as it progressed, I gradually would get a request to ‘finish it up in color’ once in a while. These days (in ’07 I routinely give them both a color and a bw version, but I never know which one will ultimately run, and sometimes the color version will appear as a teaser on the front page). The small spot to the right was for the same client, and had something to do with genetics and the possibility of ‘dinosaur cloning’.
The above illustration was for the same client, and seems to warn of storm clouds on the horizon, perhaps an early warning about the housing crunch that would hit in a few years. The illustration to the right was something to do with either rising or sinking interest rates.
The illustration below looks as if it could have been for the same newspaper, but in fact this one was for the Chronicle of Higher Education. I don’t quite remember what it was about, perhaps tuition or scholarships or something like that.
One other notable milestone for April, was the last illustration I would do for Legal Times in Washington DC. I had been doing fairly steady work for them since the early 90s, but then when the art director I dealt with moved on to another job, the work continued but at a much slower pace, gradually dwindling down to a single assignment every three or four months. Eventually they stopped calling. Not sure why. Could have been a change in designers, or cutbacks in illustration usage.
The above illustration was for the Chronicle of Higher Education, and was a long horizontal that stretched across the top of a newspaper tabloid sized page.
Below was an illustration for what was once a regular customer of mine back in the 90s, Legal Times, a newspaper out of Washington DC. I used to do pieces almost on a weekly basis for this client, but then a change of personnel diminished that workload to an assignment once over couple of months, and it gradually dwindled down to nothing by the following spring.
Above are four ‘health care’ column spots for November for the Wall Street Journal. The topics this time were; ‘hand sanitizers’ (sneaking in a self portrait in hiking gear), ‘fountain of youth medication’, ‘safe sealants for children’s play areas’ and ‘foot care’.
I also had a series of very tiny black and white spots for this same client during the month of November. I dont’ quite remember what they were all about, but I suspect they were for some sort of article discussing various ‘economic indicators’. The were quite possibly the smallest spots I’ve ever had to do, most of them only measuring 3/4 of an inch square in size (enlarged slightly here for this blog).
The only somewhat ‘large’ assignment this month from this client, was a piece on ‘online dating sites’ pictured below.
A piece for US Catholic about different versions of the painting ‘Madonna and child’, gave me an opportunity to ape a couple of artistic styles, and do a couple caricatures to boot.
The piece below was for Newsday, a lifestyle section piece about holiday preparations (who sits where, having enough tables for a large crowd, etc).
And then, finally, another fiction piece for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. This one was a departure for me and my usual ‘dark’ treatments for this publication. A rather sunny and bright illustration about a woman who moves into a house with a pool where a murder was committed by the previous tenants. At this time in the magazine’s design, they would frequently include the title and author text in among the illustration, thus the white space at the top, fading out.