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.
If there this one guarantee when you enter into the freelance illustration business, it is that you will be dealing in a lot of visual cliches. Yesterday had another crack at drawing a caduceus for Barrons, and I’ve done plenty over the past 27 plus years. Like their good friends: Uncle Sam, Lady Justice, the Top Hatted Millionaire, the Cap and Gown Graduate, The Bear and the Bull, and too many others to mention, they pop up again and again. Below, I’ve collected a sampling of caduceus illustrations from other clients (Wall Street Journal, Newsday, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Chicago Magazine, among others) just for fun.
After a slow week, believe it or not I actually have an assignment today. So today’s portrait has to be a quickie, and since I’m overdue for a caricature, I picked another ‘early caricature victim’ from my friends list. This is Amy, a girl I went to high school with, and these days she’s my sister’s sister-in-law. Rumor has it that she always hated how I drew her, usually with prominent cheeks and jawline. Well, old habits die hard.
Later today I’ll post the results of today’s same-day project, and I’ll no doubt be posting another of my ‘Blown Covers’ sketches that I did earlier this week.
Above is an illustration I did for Newsday this afternoon (click on the image for a larger version).
And as for the “Blown Covers” blog that I’ve been contributing sketches to for the past four weeks. Seems I got chosen this time around for top honors. It looks like they made some alterations to my original sketch (not sure that I agree with the tweaks, I thought the original version balanced better), but anyhow, a nice honor. (Immediately below, my original sketch, and then the version that appears on the site with alterations)
Day Eighty Seven
Today’s illustration was a quick turnaround assignment for Newsday that I did on Friday afternoon for the Sunday paper. This story was on ‘cyber terrorism threats’.
Day Eighty Eight
Finishing up the ‘funny animals’ for Baker this weekend. Next, I’ll be working on a complicated ‘what’s wrong’ picture for Highlights back cover assignment. Stay tuned.
Day Eighty Nine
I haven’t yet gotten the go-ahead on the Highlights job, so I began work on the ‘Witch’ book cover. Here’s a few sneak peeks at a couple of the elements while it is ‘in progress’.
Day Ninety (end of challenge recap)
Today’s illustration is a cover assignment for Llewellyn Publishing. I’ve been doing these for the past 5 years or so (click on the ‘Llewellyn’ category above to find the other covers). I also saved another version of the ‘roses’ on the cover that will be used as a back cover wraparound element (pictured below). You can see a larger version of the illustration above by clicking on the image.
Well, Ninety days later (and only took me 113 days to complete, once you factored in all the ‘days off’ I gave myself). I started this ‘drawing a day challenge’ back in June as a way of distracting myself from the horribly slow sales year I’ve been experiencing, and as a way to motivate myself to work outside the box, and to draw something every day regardless of whether or not I had an actual paying assignment. I have to say it was a positive experience overall. I found myself experimenting more, and then found myself actually using the new skills that I picked up in ‘extracurricular’ work and utilizing them in assignments. Work has picked up slightly in the three months that I’ve been doing this, which is a trend I hope continues, and I may just repeat this experiment again next year, should circumstances allow.