My Wife’s Employer

Gemini Publications, Oxendine, US Catholic


Around this time, my wife was working for a local regional magazine. A client that I had been a contributor to since my first year in business. This month would mark the last assignments I would do for this magazine. The above full page illustration was for a special supplement on ecommerce, and the portrait to the right was a personal favor for my wife for a photo that the company requested of her to place on their new web page.

At this time I was starting to phase out some of my lowest paying clients, in order to free up some of my time to accept some of the more lucrative assignments that were starting to come my way. I hadn’t done an assignment for this client for almost a year at this point, and this assignment was a bit more than the usual rates.

Also this month, I had a pair of cartoon assignments for a catholic magazine client. This one dealt with ‘reading clubs’, and these two cartoons would be placed along the bottom of a two page spread.

Another rather strange cartoon for the same client this month is pictured at right. This one dealt with how middle aged adults are starting to help their parents through old age, and in some ways the parents ‘become the children’, and this story dealt with one couple’s experiences taking their elderly parents snorkeling.

I also had my first assignment for a children’s version of a major national magazine. I would later get occasional assignments from this client, but never what I would call regular work. (pictured above)

I also had another larger cartoon illustration for my ‘college’ magazine client this month. (pictured left)

Cartoons

Cobblestone, Gemini Publications, Metro Detroit Parent, Newsday



I had a fun cartoon assignment for my east coast newspaper client in January. This was a large horizontal busy illustration that was to accompany an article about all the different ‘camp options’ available to send kids to in the summer (horse camp, music camp, etc etc). I’ve enlarged one section of it to better show the details that went into it. This was a favorite piece of the year, and would be used long afterwards as a sample of my ‘cartoon style’ on my own website.

This month marked the final two spot illustrations that I would provide for a long time local client, a regional magazine that I’d been working for since my first year in business. The rates were always very low, but the deadlines were usually pretty liberal, and I was always given lots of freedom and it was a good opportunity to practice my cartooning skills. My workload was becoming such, though, that I could no longer justify the time spent on these assignments.


Above was another ‘puzzle page’ assignment from a children’s publication that I did regularly for a number of years. This one with a fun ‘sci fi’ theme.

To the left and below, are a few black and white cartoon assignments for my agent, for a michigan regional parenting publication.

A Cartoony Kind of Month

Children's Television Workshop, Christian Home & School, Gemini Publications, Metro Detroit Parent, Newsday, Oxendine


This was one of those unusual months, where I actually had more cartoon assignments than scratchboards (not to be repeated again for the next 7-8 years or more). It sure looks as if I’m having fun this month, there’s a lot of sly humor creeping into a lot of the illustrations (also see the accompanying ‘cartoon spots’ entry this month), and I seem really at ease with the style, the linework and the colors.

The above illustration and the one to the left were two additional larger spots that I did for my ‘college lifestyle’ magazine client. Usually I just provided small spots for this client, so it was fun to stretch out a little and do something a little bigger and more involved.

Another ‘larger’ cartoon is pictured below, this one for a local christian parenting magazine, a full page assignment on ‘busing’.


I also had an unusual assigment from my agent for a michigan regional parenting publication (pictured above). Usually, I only provide black and white illustrations for this client, so it was fun to try something in color. This was about the over saturation of marketing towards kids, and I tried to fit just about any kind of toy I could think of into the layout. Some of my usual subversive humor hidden away here and there (and an annoying toy my son got for christmas the previous year I notice down in the lower left corner).

The illustration to the left was for a major children’s magazine publisher, and had something to do with ‘family sing-a-long software’ available for your home pc.

Another small cartoon for a different local parenting magazine is pictured to the right. I don’t quite remember the angle of this particular story (play time with your children, perhaps?)

Pictured below is an assignment this month for my east coast newspaper client. This one dealt with teen workers in the fast food industry.

Another assignment for the same client is below that, a piece on holiday weight loss.

Parenting Cartoons

Children's Television Workshop, Gemini Publications, Newsday


Had a lot of ‘parenting’ related cartoon work in August. The piece above, and the companion piece to the left, were for my east coast newspaper client, and had to do with packing, moving, something like that, in relation to kids in some way (getting harder and harder to remember some of these topics, nearly 8 years ago now). The larger one above was one of those fun ones that I like to do, where I can make it real busy and hide a lot of details throughout the illustration.

I also had a few small illustrations for our local regional parenting magazine, one on ‘grandparents’ (right), and another one having to do with ‘baby auditions’ for child actors and models (below left).


I had an assignment for three illustrations this month for a national parenting magazine (I think this one was for the ‘spanish’ version of the magazine), having to do with computers and kids, and software, and other related topics. It is amazing how quickly these ‘computer’ illustrations are already looking a bit dated. I used my G3 as the model for most of my illustrations during this time, and while it looked quite modern and snazzy at the time, it is starting to look a little bulky and retro to my eyes now (can’t wait to see how I was drawing computers back in the 90s).

January Cartoon Assignments

Carus Publishing, Consumer Reports, Gemini Publications, Metro Detroit Parent, Newsday


One thing I have been amazed to discover as I dig deeper in the archives, is how much of my workload was made up of the ‘cartoon’ style back around this time. These days (around ’08 is when I’m writing this) I work almost exclusively in scratchboard, aside from the occasional exception. One positive aspect of this, is that I’ve gotten much better at the scratchboard than I was in 2000, but I wonder if I’ve lost a bit of the spontenaety and fun that I’d picked up from working so much in a lighter style.

The illustration above was for my east coast newspaper client, an illustration on ‘busy working mothers’. The black and white illustration to the left was part of a larger ‘text heavy’ illustration that I did for my agent this month, for a michigan regional parenting magazine (the rest of the illustration covered a lot of space, and was mostly made up of rather dull hand lettering).
Another hand lettering assignment for the same client is pictured below, and was a bit more interesting, trying to make letters out of various ‘school projects’. I don’t do lettering very often, but this one was kind of fun and challenging.

The tutorial on ‘how to use chopsticks’ pictured to the left was for a children’s publication client this month.

Below are a few more cartoon illustrations for my east coast newspaper client. Most of the ‘cartoon assignments’ were for the ‘ladies lifestyle’ section, as the lighter, less serious style seemed to fit the tone of the articles a little better than the heavy handed dark scratchboard technique.

The ‘woman giving flowers to herself’ illustration was for an article about being single on Valentine’s Day, and consequently, being nice to yourself. Below that, was a larger illustration about safety issues for work at home Moms, with an imaginary inspector pointing out what’s wrong (labelled ‘inspector’ on his helmet in case you missed the point).



Above is a ‘puzzle’ assignment for one of my children’s magazine clients (a kids version of a well known consumer advocate magazine, which unfortunately ceased publication the following year). This puzzle had something to do with twins and finding similar shapes hidden through the room.

To the left and below were a few more black and white assignments for my agent (same client as the other two black and white assignments above), both having to do with valentine’s day presumably.