The illustrations above and below were all for the Wall Street Journal over the past few weeks. After a slow August, it was nice to get a flurry of illustration assignments to start out the fall season.
I finished up a large batch of illustrations recently for Adventure House. This was another of the ‘large projects’ that I have been mentioning since early in August. This was a set of around 40 spot cartoon illustrations for an upcoming textbook (I’m guessing it has something to do with Language, based on the various situations I was asked to illustrate). It had been a while since I’ve gotten the old ‘cartoon style’ out of mothballs, so it was fun to take a break from the usual scratchboard assignments.
Another quickie illustration that crossed my desk over the past few weeks, was another book cover assignment for Barnes and Noble. This was for a book of ‘founding father quotations’ and needed a trio of portraits (Washington, Jefferson and Adams), done in black and white scratchboard.
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.
More samples above and below for the ongoing bible curriculum project for the Christian Reformed Church that I’ve been working on for a local religious organization. Usually about 20 or illustrations per batch, and the projects frequently overlap each other, where I’ll be working on the sketches for one set, while finishing up the pieces on another set. The hardest part of this project has been the logistics of keeping track of all the recurring characters who each have their own individual robe color scheme and hairstyle. I’ve posted here a sampling of this particular batch. (and will post more in the future in separate entries)
Another large project that came through during July was a set of spots for Adventure House Publishing. I’ve only posted a sampling of the illustrations in this project, as they were all pretty similar and not particularly interesting out of their original context. I never quite figured out what book it was I was illustrating, but I got the impression I was just one of several artists working on this project.
In May, I had another multi illustration workbook project for Carson Dellosa. There were three of these booklets in the early half of 2004, entitled ‘Teamwork Test Prep’, and were for grades 3, 4 and 5 (not to be confused with identically named projects in the fall of 2004). I think these were perhaps ‘teacher’s editions’, and these contained approximately 40 illustrations each as opposed to the 25 illustrations in each of the TTP books in the fall of the year.
I was usually given a lot of freedom on these spots (a few of them posted here as examples), and was encouraged to keep them light and fun. I enjoyed these projects, and they gave me good practice at simplicity, economy of line and getting a message across with a minimum of detail. Further samples from this book can be found in another posting this month.
In addition to the above workbook project, I also had a few spots for another book publisher, Adventure House, in a similar capacity. These were a couple of black and white and grey wash spots to go with a couple of story problems.
One of them involved a complicated map and getting around on the public transportation system in a foreign country, and another of them had to do with a robbery at a jewelry store. I never quite figured out what book these were for, and I got the impression I was only one of several illustrators hired for this project. These trickled in to me over the course of the year in bundles of 3-10 every couple of months.
At a different time of the month, but for the same client, I also had another spot illustration, this time in color, about a visit to a produce stand. This was an odd shaped one, and needed to wrap around a body of text.
Then, for my regular ‘puzzle page’ assignment for Oddysey (Cobblestone), I had a maze illustration. I don’t remember the story problem exactly, but it seems to me you were supposed to determine if the caterpillar in the middle was on the inside or the outside of the coiled rubber band that snakes across the page. Around this time I was doing less and less work for Cobblestone, with the exception of this one regular feature for their science publication, which ran for another year or so.
I had the above illustration assignment in April from Newsday. This would be a full page cover for the lifestyle section to accompany an article about Martha Stewart. The idea I had was to show the Martha persona as a ‘paper doll’ design, and I thought it interesting to try and capture a Martha Stewart likeness without actually showing her face.
Also during April I had a large project for Adventure House Publishing in which I was to provide a series of about 20 spots for different sections of an activity book. I’ve decided to only post a sampling of the illustrations from this project, since they were all fairly similar. A few of them were to show ‘hobbies/activities’ like the ‘violin player’ at left and the ‘hiker’ on the right.
Other spot illustrations in this project were a series of scenes from different locations, like the ‘movie theater’ or the ‘bus stop’ pictured below. Then there were also a series of bw/wash pieces that focused on certain items, like the ‘hiking boots’ and there was also a series of bw pieces showing the different steps to ‘making an omelette’. I never quite found out what book these appeared in, and I got the impression that I was only one of several illustrators hired to fill out this textbook project.