The full page illustration above was for the American Bar Association, and had something to do with private corporate jets, and their hidden dangers. Not a comfortable illustration for me. Airplanes are about the hardest thing to draw, and the curved hangar roof wasn’t any picnic either. What saved this one, I think was the rough approach that I applied to everything to keep it dark and sinister, and the color choices, which help cover a lot of the perspective boo-boos.
Another odd assignment this month, was for a design firm on the east coast, who wanted a series of plumbing pipes to snake across a couple pages of their magazine layout, plus a small sillouette of an Amish buggy. I don’t remember what this story was about, and I wasn’t crazy about the concept, but I gave it my best shot, giving the only available rendered elements the best detailing I could give them. (I was remembering a card game we had as kids called ‘pipeworks’ or something, where you had to build an elaborate system of plumbing and add leaks to each other’s ‘pipes’ and then fix them – the drawings of the pipes on those cards always fascinated me)
Another large full page assignment is pictured above. This was I think the second out of 4 auction ‘scenes’ that I would eventually do for this client, National Auctioneers. This one was probably the best one from a ‘crowd’ standpoint, although I didn’t like having to put all that text and extraeneous detail on the signs and podium.
Newsday handed me a strange request in January. They wanted a rather stylized ‘black sheep’ for some reason or another. It turned out a little forced and awkward I thought. I don’t quite remember the story behind this one.
The above illustration was another fiction piece for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. There wasn’t much to go on with this story as I remember. The story centered on a carton of guns, and I tried to focus in on that, while giving a little hint of mystery or menace through the cast shadow on the box.
My very first assignment for a new corporate client came in this month. This would prove to be a nice working relationship for some time to come, with regular quarterly gigs for an investment newsletter. They became aware of my work through the spots that I was doing for my national newspaper client, and this first assignment is rather reminiscent of the sort of work that they saw me do in the newspaper.
Most of the rest of the black and white scratchboard work this month was for that same newspaper client. I’d been working for this client pretty steady for the past few years, and a majority of the work around this time was in black and white. In later years, more and more color work for this client would creep in.
The black and white pieces for this newspaper client in January were: The ‘airline merger’ illustration above, the ‘bear wearing a ‘bull hat” illustration to the left, the ‘hospital care’ illustration above, the ‘new years’ illustration to the right, and the ‘computer ancient scroll’ illustration below.
I also had an assignment from an infrequent client (maybe one or two assignments in the past 3 years), and I don’t quite remember what the story was about, but the layout was rather strange, because it needed to spread across a two page spread with the type wrapping around the white space. I don’t remember if the characters were supposed to be somebody in particular, anyhow, I don’t recognize anybody.
America is still getting used to those new long airport security delays since 9/11, and I had an illustration from my east coast newspaper client on this very topic. We also seemed to be worried about computer viruses, which led to this black and white illustration for my national newspaper client. (pictured left)
I don’t quite remember what the deal was with this rather strange ‘french dude’ below, but it was for one of my more infrequent magazine design clients in November.
The illustration above was for an east coast legal newspaper client. I thought it was a particularly nice job with the portrait and frame on this one.
The illustration below was another for my east coast newspaper client. Another early attempt to emulate those wonderful ‘pulp detective’ covers that I’ve been studying around this time.
More ‘stocks, bonds and investing’ spots for my national newspaper client this month. My favorite of the bunch being the ‘teacher’ to the left. I seem to do better with limited available space. Keeps me from overworking the concept.
I also had a ‘technology’ illustration for the same client, in another unusual space requirement, a long horizontal (pictured below). And then a piece on tax preparation (for the same client) is pictured below that.
The piece below was another for my east coast newspaper client. I don’t quite remember the story, but I got a nice image out of it.
Going through the invoices for March of ’97, I recognized an assignment that still has a corresponding piece of original artwork in the file drawers. This assignment for an east coast design firm was for a magazine article about some riots that took place in the 1800s. The invoice mentioned 3 illustrations, but I was only able to find 2 to post here. This is a pretty good example of one of my better ‘color’ scratchboards from around this time.
Adding color to scratchboard was always a tricky matter in the early days. I used Dr. Martin’s Dyes, and if I kept it light enough, I could still scratch in the occasional highlight after the color was applied. The biggest problem was in eliminating the dust that was created during the black and white phase. No matter how carefully you erased and wiped the board, you still got a certain amount of dust in the watercolors, which dulled the colors just a little bit. I’ve heard of some artists who would photocopy the black and white art onto quality paper and then color onto that, but I never got around to trying that method.