Scratchboards in Color

ChronicleHE, Consumer Reports, Legal Times, Newsday


One of my color scratchboard assignments this month allowed me the chance to draw not one, but two presidents in the same illustration. I forget the gist of the story, but it seems to me that the president mentioned somewhere that he was reading this particular book. This was for an east coast legal newspaper.

For many years, I’ve done a fair amount of work for a children’s version of a large national magazine, which eventually went out of business. This trio of ‘computer laptop’ spots was the last assignment I would receive from this client, this one actually for the ‘grown up’ version of the magazine. A lot of fun assignments came from this client, and I was sorry to see them go.

The above illustration was another for the legal newspaper, and concerned ‘military tribunals’.
The illustration below, was for an educational publication. The figure is supposed to look like she is getting ready to pole vault over the college gates, but I don’t think I pulled it off.

The illustration below was for my east coast newspaper client, and was a caricature of the governor of NY. I’ve done this guy a couple times in the past, and he is always a tricky subject. This is probably my best likeness, but I wasn’t crazy about the colors that I chose for his outfit. (again with the purple – what is it with my use of purple around this time? I seemed to use it for everything)

The illustration at left was another piece for the educational publication. I don’t remember much about the story, except that it had something to do with Harvard, so I needed to do a little research on their cap and gown designs.

Spot Series

Christian Home & School, Consumer Reports

For a consumer advice magazine, I had a series of three ‘bear’ spots in June. I used to do a lot of work for this magazine’s ‘kid version’, but once that went out of business, I had a few assignments for the grown up version of the magazine for a short while, before the work gradually petered out.

Another ‘series of spots’ this month was for a local christian parenting magazine. These I finished in a little different style, usuing oil pastels to achieve a sort of ‘painterly quality’. I see I’m still overusing that same purple background color that I seem to be stuck on all during 2001, but here it seems to work a little better.

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.