These two illustrations were samples for Eerdmans Publishing, for a proposed reprint edition of ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’. The project never came to fruition, but I managed to hang on to these two large drawings. Both looked incredibly labor intensive, with all that methodical cross hatching, and I probably would have killed myself trying to do an entire book in this manner.
I had done a few other book projects for this client in the early nineties, and this would be the last contact I would have with them until a small book cover assignment in the late nineties (and then a chance encounter with Amy Eerdmans at Meijer Gardens sometime in the early to mid ’00s).
In April of ’92 I had my third book assignment from Eerdmans Publishing. This was an ‘earth friendly’ kids book from a christian perspective (cherishing god’s creation etc), paperback, with a color cover and back cover illustration and a whole bunch of inside spots, all done in a loose cartoon style (that was still rather primitive looking at this early stage in my career. The book is still available used on Amazon for mere pennies (link here)
The book was laid out in a faux ‘newspaper style’ with articles and headlines and little factoids sprinkled around. Most of the illustrations inside were black and white line drawings with spot color added. I remember going in to see the designer, and her having a fondness for my ‘rats’ (which I used as a continuing motif throughout the book), and her having little cut out snippets of them sprinkled all over her desk (this was back in the days of ‘paste up’ before computer aided design).
Also this month, I had a couple book cover assignments for Baker Book House. One was a caricature grouping for the cover of a book entitled 6000 Sermon illustrations (still available used on Amazon link here), and another was for the cover of a trade catalog. I found an image of the book cover online (pictured left), and I may or may not still have the original art for the trade catalog cover which I may post at a later date. I also had a pastel cover assignment from David C. Cook Publishing out of Colorado, but my records are spotty on this one, and don’t know the name of the book.
After doing a few book projects for Eerdmans Publishing, a local firm, I was also asked to provide a few ‘sample’ illustrations for a couple other projects that never got off the ground (at least with me drawing them). The above illustration was for a ‘boyhood life of Jesus’ book, which was one of these ‘sample’ pieces.
Another new magazine client in December, Institutional Investor, for which I did a full page scratchboard illustration (unfortunately the art has long since disappeared).
This book of children’s poems, translated from the Dutch, I illustrated for Eerdman’s Publishing in late ’91. For many of my relatives, this is the one thing they know about my work, even 15 years later. I’m known as the ‘children’s book illustrator’, even though I have only done maybe 5 or 6 children’s books over my 20 year career, none of them particularly successful. The interior of this book was all black and white line art, mostly in a crosshatch style that I eventually abandoned, and the cover was a combination of line art and watercolor. The book is still available used for reasonable rates at Amazon (link here).
My one regret, is that at the end of the project, the art director asked me if I wanted all the artwork back, and I, in typical ‘who gives a shit’ fashion, shrugged it off with a ‘no’. Fifteen years later, I got a request from a fan in Holland, who wanted to buy original art, and unfortunately, I only had a single piece available that I had hung on to out of sentimental value. I contacted the publisher to see if maybe the art wasn’t still cluttering up some drawer somewhere, but it had long since been tossed. Nothing remains from this project aside from a single ‘demo’ illustration similar to the giraffe below.
My son was about 2 when this book was completed, so I snuck a few drawings of him into the cover, and into the ‘parade’ illustration on the inside endpapers.
Another nice project that came my way in October of ’91 was a full page caricature illustration of the Supreme Court for an east coast design firm, which appeared in a paid newspaper ad in USA Today. I held on to a nice PMT of this art (since the original was never returned) for several years, but it seems to have eventually disappeared.
This was the first full length children’s book project I ever did. This was a short paperback book of bible stories for Eerdmans Publishing, a local firm. The cover had two color illustrations, one for the front, and one for the back, and the inside work was all black and white line work with grey wash. I believe this was (like the other project I worked on the following year) an updated version of an older title in this publisher’s archives. Most of the drawings were pretty forgettable, but a few of them had a certain charm, and I’ve chosen a few by way of example to post here. This book is still available used on Amazon, although it is rather pricey (link here)
Work was starting to get a little more steady by the end of the year, many of the new clients I had started working with this year were starting to give me a fair amount of repeat business, and with one or two new clients added to the mix every couple of months, it had a nice snowball effect.