Change of Pace Time

Carus Publishing, Newsday, Strang Publications, US Catholic


In order to break the monotony of a fairly busy month of cartoons and scratchboard illustrations, I approached a few projects with an attitude of experimentation. I did a few ‘pastel’ illustrations for my east coast newspaper client this month. One of them about a Brooklyn Writers colony (above), and another one about split personality (below). Still using a bit too much purple in my color palatte I see.


The above illustration was for a southern evangelical magazine client. I’d done quite a bit of work for them in the early 90s, but the assignments grew less and less frequent over the years. This was one of the rare digital images I created for them. Working in a ‘oil pastel’ medium to emulate a painting style (the ‘brushes’ were still a bit intimidating to me around this time), I’m still struggling with this style of work, putting too much dark and detail into the background and leaving the foreground character kind of sketchy and indistinct, mistakes I hopefully wouldn’t make in the future.

For my children’s magazine client this month, I had a map of the Dead Sea area. This was one of my favorite maps of the year, having a lot of fun with the desert terrain. I ended up using this one on a ‘compilation postcard’ a couple years later.

I also had a couple color cartoon assignments this month, where I mixed up the usual ‘colorization’ technique a bit to add some special effects. For instance in the ‘chalkboard’ in the ‘teacher’ illustration below for a catholic publication, and in the ‘mona lisa’ images in the ‘puzzle page’ illustration below that.

Cartoon Spots

Metro Detroit Parent, Oxendine, Strang Publications

I had a series of cartoon spot illustrations this month for a college lifestyle magazine. I’d been doing these small factoid illos for this client for almost ten years at this point, and the styles have changed and mutated over time. This client was always very open minded and I was allowed a lot of freedom to experiment. Eventually we sort of settled on this particular style as being a good compromise between stylistic and time constraint issues. The pay scale didn’t allow me to spent a great deal of time on each, but with this rather loose style I could usually fit in a lot of detail and humor and keep it fresh looking and fun. The most time consuming part of these projects were usually just the brainstorming sessions, coming up with a fresh approach to frequently repetitive or esoteric topics.
I also had a cartoon assignment this month for an evangelical magazine client. This rather strange one had something to do with ‘positive attitudes’. I didn’t care what the story was about, it was just fun to draw a creepy tentacled monster.

Also this month, I had a few more black and white cartoon assignments from my agent for a Michigan regional magazine (the camping and juggling illustrations pictured below).

Unusual Assignments

Newsday, Strang Publications, US Catholic

In this posting I’ve chosen a few of the more unusual stylistic experiments I played around with in March of ’01. I have been trying to develop a sort of ‘painterly’ style this year, but using ‘oil pastels’ instead of ‘oil brushes’, because at the time, the brushes sort of intimidated me. I’ve done very little oil painting in my life, and it is just as difficult to do well digitally, as it is to work in this medium with traditional materials. Anyhow, I continue to give it a try when clients are willing to let me try it.

The illustration at left was for an evangelical christian magazine. I don’t remember what the story was about, but I do remember using my wife as a model for this one (changed her a bit here and there, but she’s still recognizable). Nice colors, but I still seem to be leaning heavily on the purple, as I have all year long. Some darker colors would have certainly helped the contrast overall.

I also was given an assignment this month from a catholic magazine in which I suggested building a ‘mosaic’ using some of Painter’s tools built for that purpose. This was the first time I’d tried something like this, and I wasn’t real happy with the result (and consequently never went back to this technique again). Sometimes the experiments work, and other times they fall flat on their face.


Another experiment this month (again with oil pastels) was for my east coast newspaper client. This was a lot of fun, and came out quite nice, but it still looks as if I’ve got a lot yet to learn about working in this medium, especially in regard to use of color and contrasts.

February’s Maps and Cartoons and Whatnots

Carus Publishing, Newsday, Strang Publications


A map of Ontario for my children’s magazine client this month. An ususual chance to draw my own stomping grounds (even if in a ‘surrounding area’ roundabout kind of way). Not much in the way of ‘topography’ in this one, but seemed to be mostly concerned with rivers, lakes and waterways.

Below is a rather strange conceptual piece for an evangelical christian magazine that I did this month. For a change of pace, I decided to try this one in a ‘pastel’ style similar to a style that I had used quite heavily back in the early days of my career.


Additionally this month I had a series of cartoon spots for my east coast newspaper client. These were for an article about unruly children in public places, entitled ‘Holy Terrors’, and would be sprinkled throughout the article, with various portions of the illustrations sticking beyond the border so that the text could wrap around them. Some were more square in format, while others were more vertical or horizontal in shape.

And also this month, again in a cartoon style, was another ‘puzzle page’ illustration for one of my children’s magazine clients. (pictured below)

Atypical Styles

America, Carus Publishing, Cobblestone, Newsday, Strang Publications


I continue to experiment with the ‘painterly’ style, the above illustration for a ‘recipe’ feature in an east coast newspaper (the author whipping up a microwave dinner for her construction crew), and the illustration below for an evangelical women’s magazine.

Similar in style, but for a black and white publication was the illustration below. This was for one of my children’s magazine publishers, for their ‘teen’ poetry/prose magazine, and this one accompanied a poem about a pear tree.


Another ‘running’ themed illustration for a new client, this one done in a colored pencil medium (but approached as if I was doing my old ‘pastel style’). I wasn’t too happy about how this turned out, I probably would have benefitted from better reference material, and a stronger layout.

Below is a small spot illustration that I did for one of my children’s magazines this month, working in a combination of watercolors and colored pencils, but with a bit more of a ‘realistic’ style. Always fun to draw dinosaurs, wish I got the chance more often.