Spiders and Computers

America, ChronicleHE, Innovision, Legal Times, WSJ

Another west coast magazine assignment this month. These were usually one larger color piece for the cover, and accompanying smaller black and white spots for the inside on a similar theme. Theme this month on spiders (don’t remember why), but most of the smaller scenes seemed to have an ‘office’ feel to them. For the cover I broke from tradition a little bit, using more of an experimental mixed media approach, using watercolors, scratchboard linework, and airbrush techniques to better portray the spiders, which would have been rather dull in traditional scratchboard.

Besides the ‘spider on a computer’ illustration for the client above, I also had a few other ‘computer related’ pieces for my new national newspaper client this month. I had been gradually getting more and more work from this client, and was starting to enjoy the steady workload, and entertaining thoughts that I might have stumbled onto a pretty good thing, if I could keep them happy (so far so good, 8 years and counting – crossing my fingers).

The illustration to the left was something to do with computers controlling ‘on time delivery’ (if memory serves), and I don’t quite remember the story being the ‘galley slave’ computer boat pictured to the right. The illustration below was for the same client, and had something to do with the tech stock bubble bursting and investors losing money on all those computer start up companies.

The yo-yo illustration to the left was another for the same client this month (stock ups and downs more than likely the topic). Below is an illustration for a jesuit magazine client, probably showing the future of the church in the new millenium.

Below that is a rather strange illustration that I did for my east coast legal newspaper client. I dont’ remember the angle of the story exactly, but I do remember having to dress the little kids up in clothing depicting eras in the past.

Below that is a pair of ‘statue’ illustrations for my educational publication client in January. I don’t remember if they were for the same article or not, but it is likely that they were, based on the fact that I used a similar ‘grey wash’ style background for both of them.


If you are following this narrative backwards as I am doing as I dig deeper into the archives, we are about to enter a period where I had just begun using the computer for my illustration work. The transition was rather quick, actually. One day I was working on paper, and within a week, I had completely given it up and worked exclusively on the computer (including preliminary sketches). For the most part, I stuck to the traditional mediums that I was both known for, and was most familiar with. Many clients didn’t realize a change had taken place, and those that did embraced it whole heartedly, for reasons of turnaround time and ease of file transfer. Not to mention the fact that my work started looking a lot better (don’t underestimate the power of the ‘undo’ button). The only real resistance I’ve ever run across to the idea of computer illustration have been from fellow illustrators, usually those with a preconceived notion of what ‘computer art’ means. Over the previous two years we will notice a lot of experimentation as I try out new and different tools, and different ways of approaching the same old tired techniques.

Cartoon Assignments for December

Innovision, Metro Detroit Parent, Newsday

The above illustration regarding ‘online beauty sites’ was one of my better concepts around this time. The idea of a tiny little computer the size of a woman’s makeup compact was rather far fetched back in ’99, but only ten years later and we may very well end up seeing computer laptops shrunk down to this size.

Also this month, for a midwest evangelical client, I had a series of small spots having to do with ‘where your donations go’.

I also had a series of small black and white illustrations for my agent, for a michigan regional parenting magazine (one of which I’ve included here by way of example).

Meanwhile on the West Coast

Innovision, Recorder

Just as I was starting out with a new client this month (see other posting), this month also proved to be the end of a run with another regular client. The above illustration was a full page illustration for a west coast legal magazine. This one had to do with ‘cyber conflicts’ of the future, and I enjoyed playing around with various tools to get the necessary sci-fi effects for this one.

For another west coast magazine, I had another in a series of illustration projects in which I provide one larger color piece for the cover, and four small black and white spots for the inside, all on a similar theme. I usually do the cover in scratchboard, but thought I’d try something a little different this time. I’m not sure it was all that successful. I actually like the inside pieces better on this one than the cover, for a change. You’ll notice I also used the same ‘starburst’ effect that I used for the sun on the illustration at the start of this post. There are so many nifty gimmicky tools in this Painter toolbox, that you really have to resist the urge to use most of them, as they are a dead giveaway that you are using a computer (I prefer clients to be surprised that I use a computer, tending towards art that actually looks hand drawn).

And back on the east coast, I had another new client this month. This one had to do with the anniversary of Bayer Aspirin (if memory serves).

October Cartoons

Innovision, Metro Detroit Parent, Newsday

I had a few assignments this month for my agent, for a Michigan regional parenting publication. These were a little more ‘involved’ than usual, and one of them needed a ‘color separation’ (below), but both turned out quite nice. The one above had to do with the hustle and bustle of holiday planning, and the one below had something to do with fairie tales presumably.

The rather unusual ‘chicken’ illustration above was for an east coast newspaper, and the illustration below was for a midwest evangelical magazine (something to do with ‘preserving grannies memories’ no doubt).

August Scratchboards

ABA, Bose Corporation, Carus Publishing, ChronicleHE, Clubhouse, Innovision

I had another series of illustrations this month for my west coast magazine client. These were usually made up of one larger color illustration followed by a series of smaller black and white spots on a similar theme. The topic this month was creativity (if I remember correctly).

I had an assignment from a children’s lit magazine this month. This trio of illustrations was to accompany a story about a long time relationship between a teacher and a troubled student (tied together with a ‘basketball’ theme).

Also this month, for a different children’s magazine client I had a couple illustrations depicting the childhood of a famous revolutionary war figure (I don’t remember exactly which one – Benedict Arnold perhaps?)

Below is a ‘real estate’ illustration for a midwest legal magazine, and below that is a ‘computer’ illustration for my educational publication client. I don’t quite remember the story behind either one of these illustrations.

The illustration to the left was another for the same midwest legal magazine client. Not my favorite subject to draw (modern buildings), and it shows.

Below are a few ‘tail end’ assignments for a national corporate client’s project that I started the previous month. These were all images of kids messing around on oversized musical staves and notations. I wasn’t too crazy about the concept but tried to do my best with it.