Back to Work

Christian Home & School, ChronicleHE, Far East Economic Review, WSJ


After a quiet November, it was a relief to have the phone start ringing again in the first week of December. The above cover assignment (with accompanying inside piece) came across the desk in that first weekend after Thanksgiving, and a flurry of jobs followed in its wake. The ‘on hold’ job that I superstitiously blamed for the slow down got the go ahead that same week, and another job (that at the moment is rather hush hush) that was proposed in the early part of the year, got the green light as well. The cover and inside illustration above and below were for the Chronicle of Higher Education. I certainly threw myself at this project with a lot of pent up enthusiasm and gusto.


The Far Eastern Economic Review from Hong Kong emailed that same weekend and handed me a pair of illustrations, one of them an ‘overview’ of a telecommunications segment of the paper, and another one was a portrait of an up and coming politician. I also had due around this time, a series of small cartoon spots for Christian Home and School, having to do with various ways of showing kids that you care. (pictured below)

I was reminiscing with this client (who was retiring after the end of November), how when I first started working with him, how I would routinely use my son as reference for ‘kids’ in the illustrations, and how he’s now taller than me and looking at colleges for next year.

It was nice to have a chance to work in this loose cartoon style again. It had been long time since an assignment like this had come along. It seems like I’ve done little other than scratchboard for the past year.

I also had a couple of spots for my ‘health care’ column gig that I do every other week for The Wall Street Journal during that slow period in November. The one above was about some sort of ‘new improved’ chicken feed that makes the chicken more healthy to eat (or the eggs, I forget).

And the other ‘health care’ spot concerned the purported health benefits of eating garlic.

And of course, as is usually the case with these ‘cartoon’ pieces, I try to sneak in a picture of my dog, Lady. (bottom left)

I had a few other jobs going on around this time, but I think I’ll save them for a future posting. (some of them I’m not sure have been published yet). The postcard went out last weekend, and it already seems to be getting some responses back (it seems to have printed a little darker than I anticipated, but it still looks pretty good). Nice to be getting back to work again. All Play and no Work makes Tim a dull boy (not to mention anxious).

Witches Bird and Sharks

Barrons, Christian Home & School, Llewellyn, Newsday

Over the past week or so, I’ve been working on a large batch of black and white spot illustrations to fill out a book for Llewellyn Publishing on the wiccan religion. I’d done the cover earlier in the summer, and they contacted me later for some last minute inside work (I gathered that I would be among a number of other illustrators working on this project, in order to get it done in time). Many of them I finished while on the road, driving my Dad to Arizona, working at night in hotel rooms on my wife’s laptop. I’ve included only a few of them here (there were something like 12 of them total, on a variety of topics). After a long dry spell during the end of September, it was a relief to get a lot of work back on the docket, but at the same time, the drive that I committed to with my father made the timing a little stressful.

The subject matter was a nice change of pace, from my usual financial topics that I’ve been mired in the past few years. Nice to not have to draw a businessman’s suit, and in some cases, even got to do away with clothing altogether.

ADDENDUM (Jan 9, 2008): I just got my complimentary copies in the mail today for this book, and it looks pretty nice. Can be purchased at Amazon here.

When I got back from Arizona, I had a few color pieces for Barrons. I had done a number of sketches earlier for a general all purpose topic of ‘risk’, and these were a few leftover ideas from that earlier session, that I was asked to finish up for future usage on upcoming articles. I’ve included the ‘measuring the shark bite’ example, of the two that I completed early in the week (below left).

Also had another quick black and white daily for Newsday, this one on endangered New Jersey wetlands, and had to do a little research on a specific species of ‘Meadowlark’ (pictured at bottom). I liked how this one turned out. I always seem to prefer how the black and white pieces turn out over the color ones, not sure why. The color seems to dillute the power of the scratchboard technique just a little bit.

And to round out the month, had an illustration assignment for Christian Home & School about ‘being a bit too busy’ (the woman in the story is so engrossed in her phone conversation and coffee that she runs a red light and nearly runs down a little girl at the crosswalk, only noticing her in the rear view mirror after she passed). Got to experiment with a different medium than the usual scratchboard, using washes and colored pencils for a lighter sketchy feeling. Thanks to the wife for rushing out into the driveway to pose in the family car for me.

Mortarboards and Luxury Items

Barrons, Christian Home & School, ChronicleHE, Far East Economic Review, WSJ



A couple of assignments for the Chronicle of Higher Education came through in February. The one above concerned tenured professorships in some capacity (protecting tenure perhaps?), and the one to the left involved federal funds. One of the better Uncle Sams I’d done in a while (another staple of the editorial illustration cliche playbook, and I’ve lost track of how many I’ve done – right up there with cigar chomping fat cats, mortarboard wearing profs, bears, bulls and the perennial favorite, the bag with a money symbol printed on the front). I particularly liked the challenge of drawing someone upside down, I thought I did a rather nice job on Sam’s pants.

Had another assignment for Barrons, a publication I’ve been working with for a year or so now. Love drawing sailboats and water, any excuse will do. This one had to do with navigating rough seas ahead for certain stocks. Fun and challenging trying to fit in a lot of information (and a sailboat and rough seas) into a fairly tight little image area. Kept this one fairly simple despite the busy nature of the composition and it seemed to work ok.


Had an illustration assignment around this time for Christian Home and School. This full page went with a story about making new students feel welcome. One of the rare chances lately where I’ve been able to draw some children who are actually a little closer in age to my own son.

Did a series of tiny spots for the Wall Street Journal around this time period. These spots were to accompany a story about luxury items and I needed to do one on ‘fine art’, one on ‘sports cars’, one on ‘homes’, and another on ‘watches’, and then as a last minute addition, they needed a few of these items squeezed together into an ‘overview’ spot. Alert readers will notice that on the ‘fine art’ spot, I reuse an illustration that I did for a Sexuality College Textbook that I did back in the beginning of my career (although filtered through the software’s ‘Van Gogh’ cloning tool).

I’d done a similar series of spots for this client before (perhaps more than once), as it seems to be an annual story around tax time for this publication. I don’t normally like drawing cars, but for some reason, all the times I’ve been pressed into service lately in this capacity, I seem to actually like the finished product. Perhaps I’m finally learning how to draw the pesky things.

Here’s one of the spots a little bigger to see the detail a little better. Another assignment from this client (which I haven’t bothered to include here for reasons that will become clear), was a rather strange one. I was asked to draw a ‘family tree’ regarding various tv dramas and sitcoms and tracing each of their spinoffs. I was required to include photos from each show, and somehow fit all their branching and overlapping limbs into a rather small spot area. It didn’t turn out too bad looking, but really didn’t involve a heck of a lot of actual drawing, it was more of a logistical problem solving exercise.

Also around this time got a job for The Far Eastern Economic Review, out of Hong Kong, with another of my favorite (?) subjects to draw – buildings and architecture. This one was about the modernization of certain banks in China. Needed to fit in a horizontal space which made things a bit tricky layout-wise.

In addition, I also had my usual small spot every other monday for the WSJ, a ‘dubious health care’ column that I’ve been providing tiny little drawings for a number of years now. This one seemed to be about either temperature checking devices, or looking into your child’s ear canal. I can’t quite remember now what the exact topic was.
I usually provide a trio of sketches for each article, running the gamut from very conservative scenes involving the product or claim, to some very strange playful takes on the overall topic. This would be a good example of one of the more conservative concepts.

New Years Resolutions

Adventure House, America, Barrons, Christian Home & School, ChronicleHE, Newsday, WSJ


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.

Breaking Out of the Mold

Christian Home & School, Instructional Fair, Newsday, US Catholic


I had a job for Christian Home & School magazine in February, a full page illustration about ‘family travel on a budget’. I went with a cartoon style, and kept things rather simple and fun, which made for a fun illustration. I played around with some different color treatments in the background, keeping the trees rather sketchy and stylized, and this one seemed to work nicely. While in some respects it was quite the normal ‘cartoon’ style that I’m used to working in, I still managed to find something new different and challenging in the treatment, which kept it from being dull and mechanical.
For US Catholic magazine, another long time client of mine, I was given a pair of portraits/caricatures of two authors who would act as bookends for a pair of reviews of their latest books. I don’t know who these people were, but both made fairly nice portrait subjects, and I worked in a slightly different style than I usually do, which made the project more fun than it could have been.

Then, for Newsday, I had this full page cover illustration for a travel section about ‘online tours’ of cruise ship staterooms. They wanted a somewhat reminiscent scene of a ‘travel poster’, and I chose to do it in ‘faux oils’ (at this time I was using ‘oil pastels’ as I was still a bit intimidated by the ‘oil brushes’ tools in my software program). I’m glad I chose the yellow for the sky instead of the usual blue, it definitely opened up a whole mess of possibilities for the color treatments. I need to remember this in future projects, it seems to me I lean on ‘blue sky’ way too often.

The additional black and white spots sprinkled around this posting are a sampling from a workbook project that I did this month for Carson Dellosa, ‘Teamwork Test Prep Grade 4′ a teacher guide in this ongoing series of books that I would do much more for over the course of ’04. More samples from this book can be found in a separate posting.