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.

Cartoons in January

Carus Publishing, Christian Home & School, US Catholic

The above cartoon was for a christian parenting magazine. I don’t quite remember the story behind this, but I think that the child is somehow misinterpreting an explanation being offered by his parent.

I also had a series of small spots for my east coast newspaper client in January, again in the cartoon style. These were for an article about different embarassing situations involving kids.

I also had a cartoon style illustration this month for one of my children’s magazine clients. This was a rather straightforward piece about kids looking at the stars. Looking back at this one today, I would probably handle the sky a little differently, darker perhaps, or even gradiated color from black at the top, to dark blue at the bottom. The thing that strikes me about my color palatte during this time, was how wimpy I was in regards to going ‘full black’, and I also seem to use way too much purple.

The above cartoon (again, with the purple background color – sheesh), was for a catholic magazine in January, for an article regarding the obesity epidemic in our country, especially among children.

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.

Book Project

Christian Home & School, CRC, Instructional Fair

Had another ‘workbook’ project for a local children’s book publisher this month. This one dealt with different literature genres, with reading and writing activities, and also included a color cover assignment as well (which is unusual for this client). The inside illustrations were the usual mixed bag of sizes and shapes, around 40 in all, and I’ve chosen a sampling of some of the larger ones to post here as examples.

Another ‘bible stories’ project came through this month. This was a different project than the one I was working on during the 2003-2005 period, but was very similar in many ways. I’ve chosen one sample of the 20 or so drawings in the project by way of example.

Also this month, I had a full page illustration for a local christian parenting magazine, this one dealing with an overstimulated kid at a county fairgrounds.