Heard from a client this week who I haven’t heard from since 2012. The above illustration was was a two page spread for New York Newsday. It was a nice break from the daily routine I’ve been at for the past three months. At one time, this sort of ‘quick turnaround’ work was the lion’s share of my business, but in recent years it has slowed to a mere trickle, while book publishing work has taken over, with their much longer lead times. Meanwhile, I’m still working on the “What Unites Us” graphic novel project, but I am now on the final week, with only about twenty or so pages to go (more samples to share next week on this). I’ve finished up the interior illustrations for the ‘Saints’ book (the last weeks’ output is pictured below) with total ending up at 68 (or 80 if you count all the heads in the ‘duos and sextets’), and I’ll begin working on the color cover illustrations for that project very soon. Looking forward to a relaxing Thanksgiving vacation.
This is an illustration for Newsday that I did back in 2007 (I had a regular working relationship with Newsday for two decades, from 1992 through 2012) . I barely even remember what the topic was (I’m guessing slow progress on neighborhood renovation?). I was tickled by the unusual combination of snail and bulldozer.
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.