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.
The financial crisis continues to get a lot of play in recent illustration work, as the example above for the Wall Street Journal shows. However, the world continues to turn regardless, and other news worthy topics also get some attention from time to time. The small spot to the right was another in the series of ‘dubious health care claims’ that I do on a bi-monthly basis for the Journal, this one regarding new ‘baby swaddling’ blankets supposedly able to better simulate the womb environment. The illustration below, also for the Journal, was regarding business people who are taking a chance on going back to school to earn MBA degrees, only to face an uncertain job future when they get out of school.
Got an assignment from Newsday, a client I hadn’t heard from in a while (was a steady client for about 15 years, with 2 or 3 jobs a month, until the beginning of this year when the paper started making cut-backs). This one was a sunday editorial, something about non-profits, and organizational strategies (the article used a metaphor regarding the planting of oak trees instead of flowers).
Below is another fiction illustration for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. The setting this time was an 1880s style boxing match, where a spectator is killed, seemingly in error (meant for one of the boxers). Some nice figure work in the last two illustrations, both done with very little visual reference, aside from some costume research on the boxers, and a photo reference taken of my own hand for the hand in the foreground.
Heard from an old client this week that I haven’t had a chance to work for since early this year (their art director and my ‘usual contact’ was given ‘early retirement’ in January), Newsday, the Long Island Newspaper. This illustration assignment was for a sunday section cover to accompany an article about Alzheimer’s patients. I took advantage of my Dad staying with us this week, to use him as a model for one of the characters (my wife stood in for another one, and the other two were from other sources). I was quite pleased with how this one turned out, both from an illustrative, and from a conceptual standpoint.
The previous week, I had an assignment from a new client, Cruising World Magazine. I was tickled to get this one, being a sailing enthusiast myself, but also a bit nervous about how much attention to technical detail it would ensue. I was given lots of handy reference to the boat in question, however, the angle at which I chose to draw this boat, was the one angle not covered in the reference photos, so I had to do a bit of guessing and camoflage at the same time.
Had another assignment for LA Weekly this week. This was a book review for a murder mystery set in the Hollywood hills, and I had a bit of fun with this one. Originally, I was going to use the ‘hollywood sign’ with a single woman’s pump in the grass, but after sketching out the undulating letters on the hillside, I felt that a reclining woman’s figure would fit there better. One of those rare occasions where I did the figure without any photo reference.
The above ‘three panel’ assignment was for the Wall Street Journal this week, something to do with possible economic scenarios that could play out in the near future. The illustration below was a full page assignment for the Miami Herald that I did sometime in the middle of last week, something about credit card debt. Of the two sketches I submitted for this concept, I actually preferred the one that didn’t get chosen, and may finish that one up on my own when I get some free time.
Spring is starting to make a tentative appearance around here. This ‘blustery’ illustration above was for Barrons last week.
Over the weekend I had a small ‘online blog’ illustration for the Far Eastern Economic Review’s new website. This would be an ongoing usage icon (and larger usage on a linked page) for the upcoming Taiwan elections, featuring a caricature of the two rival candidates (link to blog).
Had some bad news from a long time client late last week. Newsday, the long island newspaper who I had been working for since 1994, gave their art director an early retirement. There’s been a lot of attrition in my customer list over the past year, which is making me a little bit nervous for the future.
Meanwhile, the Chronicle of Higher Education, after warning me of a possibility of slow down in ’08, have been keeping me quite busy over the past few months.
I had another series of small ‘election topic’ spots for a series of roundtable articles in the last issue. These all dealt with immigration from various angles. I also had a color illustration for the same client early this week for an article about ‘searching for university presidents’.
I’ve also been working on this years’ ‘oscar poster’, which I got a real late start on this season, due to the workload. Hopefully I’ll have it done in the next week or so. Also starting to work on a few postcard ideas to try and drum up some new business.