This was the 2nd assignment from Cricket magazine. This was a bit more ambitious than the first one, and I tackled this one with a moody black and white pastel treatment. This was a tone poem about a playground in the moonlight.
I also received my first assignment for what would become another long time steady client, US Catholic Magazine (the art hasn’t survived, unfortunately). I also had another assignment from Adweek this month (which I had completely forgotten about), an inside spot on the ‘wine industry’.
This was the very first illustration assignment for Cricket magazine, who would become a fairly frequent client over the course of my freelance career until it got bought out by Carus Publishing (and they changed their payment schedule drastically, leading to my dropping them as a client). This one came across my desk at the tail end of my first year in business, just a month after my son Keenan was born. Back at this time, this magazine primarily used two color artwork on the inside of the magazine, and full color on the cover. Doing a two color separation was a bit tricky, but if I remember correctly, I ended up doing an overlay of tracing paper, and adding watercolor directly to the overlay. The original art still survives (for sentimental value probably), although the overlay has long ago disappeared. Below is the original black and white illustration, and above is how it appeared in print.
This assignment came across my desk around the final part of the month (billed out the day after Christmas), and on the final day of the year, just before New Year’s Eve, I got a call from Adweek for a cover assignment. I wish I still had the original art for this one, or even a tearsheet. I’m sure it was horrible looking, but I put a lot of work into it, late into the night to meet the tight deadline (and my first experience with FedX overnight delivery), and was a big boost to my morale when it really needed it. I began to think, ‘hey, maybe I can do this job’.
UPDATE: While going through some old paperwork in 2014, I ran across a tear sheet of the Adweek Cover (I was right, it was pretty awful looking), and here’s a photo of it: