A rare (these days at least) cartoon assignment came through in the middle of March from Highlights magazine (pictured above). I don’t remember the backstory on this one too clearly. The little brother wants to play wiffle ball with his big brother, but he doesn’t have the time for him. To the left is another of my ‘health care’ column spots for the Wall Street Journal. The illustration below, was another chance to stretch the old ‘cartoon legs’, this one for US Catholic magazine, and concerned getting along with your ‘fundamentalist neighbors’.
The spot to the right was another ‘chart accompaniment’ for the Journal. This was another one of those that had to fit in a rather strange sized inverted L space. The topic was something about crumbling infrastructure or perhaps just shaky times ahead for the markets.
The same client, different weekend, another ‘chart accompaniment’. This one about the housing market no doubt. Early rumblings about the following years’ ‘burst housing bubble’.
Plus I got a call from a new client around this time. Honolulu magazine needed a spot illustration about a local girl who tries out for the Jeopardy program. This would lead to a few more spots for this publication in the coming months.
America magazine approached me mid-March with a larger full page illustration. Something to do with a ‘call to arms’ over something or other. The ‘bullhorn’ seems to be getting a lot of use this month.
In the latter half of February, besides the flurry of educational spots (see other posting for this month), I had a variety of assignments from all corners of the spectrum. The above illustration was for D Magazine out of Texas, who I had done work for about a year prior. This was a smaller spot illustration, having to do with school finance laws.
The illustration to the left was for Barrons, and had to do with the real estate market. After the fact, I was asked to go back to this illustration and add a continuation of the ‘stream’ so that it wound its way all the way down the sidebar of the page (I’ve only posted the original piece here).
I had an assignment around this time from America magazine. This accompanied a story about bible scholarship. I was asked a few months later to do a follow up illustration along the same lines.
I also had another of my ‘health care’ illustration spots that I do every two weeks for the Wall Street Journal. This one was either regarding measles treatments, or acne, I dont’ remember which.
I had a couple of small cartoon spots around this time for Highlights magazine. The one to the left was something to do with ‘family activities’, and the other one (pictured to the right) had something to do with figuring out how many kids it would take laid end to end to reach the moon.
I also had another spot illustration for the Wall Street Journal, this one had something to do with a specific airline carrier and their ongoing financial woes. Didn’t quite like how this one turned out. I don’t normally enjoy drawing airplanes, and trying to anthromorphize one didn’t make it any easier.
I also had a piece for Newsday. This one was a lifestyle section color piece having to do with sending your kids off to summer camp. I liked how I treated the clothing of the two main characters in this one. I usually just do a straight color wash, but the patterns seemed to help break up the rather large color spaces better.
2006 started out fairly busy. In addition to all the pieces posted in this entry I also had a series of illustrations and a quarterly newsletter for AG Edwards that I’ve been providing illustrations for over the past few years. I don’t include these illustrations in this site in deference to our usage agreement (but will post them when the time window expires). I also had a textbook project for Adventure House during the month of January, that needed a series of 40 or so small spot cartoons, that I also do not include in this blog due to contractual obligations (and due to the fact that most of them just weren’t all that interesting – pictures of medicinal bottles and faces of different types of people).
At the top, is pictured an illustration that I did for Newsday, for their lifestyle section. This article talked about how the new year’s season is prime time for couples to split up.
The small spot to the left, and the small spot on the right, are both from my semi-regular ‘health care’ column that I provide for the Wall Street Journal. The one above concerning the health benefits of bee venom, and the one to the right is probably something to do with ‘female troubles’ (based on the conservative nature of the illustration).
Also for Newsday, I had a same day black and white assignment in early January regarding the ‘trapped miners’ that were big news around this time, with regards to how the press was being insensitive to the feelings of the family members for whom this was on ongoing ordeal.
Another piece for the same client, was another same day black and white assignment, this one being about the recent elections in the middle east.
I had a couple pieces for America magazine around this time. I don’t quite remember the topics of either of these. If I had to guess, I would say the one above had to do with lay ministry and the one below having something to do with ministering to the sick and elderly. (above and below)
This piece to the left was for Barrons. Once again, I’m afraid I don’t remember the topic. I used a technique that I only use every once in a while on this one (that I really should incorporate more often). When I have an illustration with a plain white background, I like to put just a hint of yellow around the image, as it really seems to help ‘pop’ the black lines of the illustration.
The Chronicle of Higher Education assigned a pair of illustrations to me in January. The piece to the right had to do with medical students and interns needing much more practical experience working with actual patients rather than the textbook-heavy studies that they currently seem to be getting. Thanks to my wife for posing as the student for me.
For the same client, I also had a rather long horizontal illustration. Something to do with government eavesdropping on student’s online communications. This was rather an awkward layout and concept, but I tried to make the best of it.
And, finally, in addition to all these, I had a full page cartoon illustration for Christian Home and School, about preparing your toddler for school, and the ridiculous lengths some parents go to to get their child a good ‘head start’. My dog ‘Lady’ makes an appearance in this one.
Got assigned a series of ‘Saint’ portraits for America magazine in November. These would be used over a series of upcoming issues, and one of them would get recycled the following year for a cover illustration (and would then lead to another similar assignment from another religous publication the following year).
These were all a bit tricky, as there was very little in the way of reference material for these people, sometimes just another poorly rendered illustration from an old textbook.
Also, around this time I was assigned a small spot illustration for the Wall Street Journal, with two portraits of the Japanese prime minister Koizumi and Russia’s Putin regarding their upcoming trade talks. This was the second time I had to draw Putin since he’s been in charge over in Russia. I think I caught a better likeness of him this time. This was either the second or third time I’d drawn Koizumi.
Got a trio of same day assignments during the month of November from Newsday. The above portrait of Bill Clinton was a strange one. I did my usual rough sketch and sent it in for approval, which the editors liked and gave to the go-ahead to. I finished up the illustration, and when they received it, they felt it was somehow missing the ‘magic’ of the rough sketch, and so decided to publish the sketch instead. First and only time this particular situation ever happened to me. I no longer have the published sketch version, but I did save the unpublished finish (which, personally, I still liked better).
… and speaking of the Clintons, I also had an assignment for the same client, regarding the Senate race, in which a challenger was hoping to unseat Hillary in the NY elections. And, finally, back on the topic of ‘saints’, I also had a piece involving fire fighters (which I don’t quite remember the slant of the article, but I proposed a simple image of a resting fire fighter as a solution, which turned out rather nice and dignified).
Probably the one aspect of my job that keeps the work fresh after all this time, is the frequent opportunities I am given to draw something completely out of my own personal sphere of influence. For Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, I was handed a fiction story concerning a travelling women’s basketball team, and a murder taking place while travelling across Russia and Mongolia. So in the interest of some semblance of accuracy, this one took a bit of research into railway cars and depots of the region, but as usual, my focal point and interest nearly always centers on the character, and I probably had a lot more fun rendering the female protagonist of the story, than in the rather dry passenger cars and scenery.
Even a somewhat fanciful picture as the one above took a bit of research into different church styles (although I took some liberties with their design). This was for America magazine (although I forget what the topic was concerning).
The piece to the left and the black and white piece below, were both for the Chronicle of Higher Education during the month of October. The topics that each of these concerned, are lost to memory, I’m afraid. I remember having fun with the trees, though. Always interesting trying to find some new way of portraying trees in scratchboard. I don’t think I’ve quite found the best solution yet, so I keep trying new techniques.
This piece about ‘University Presidents’ was a rare black and white illustration for this client (at least for this time period). I notice that I used a slightly different background technique on this one, perhaps trying to give the look of ‘weathered stone’ to the background. Once again, I’m not entirely happy with the inclusion of ‘text’ in the illustration, but it is not always my final decision.