April Color Work

Mary Higgins Clark Mystery Magazine, Newsday, Strang Publications


The above illustration was for my east coast newspaper client. This was for a special automobile supplement. The second time I would illustrate the cover for this particular annual feature (I would do two more the following couple of years). I was given a lot of freedom as far as the ‘make of car’ that would be pictured, but since I was particularly enamored of the PT Cruiser when I had seen a few of them in Florida the previous year (and would buy one the following year), I decided to use it as my model. Working against conventions, I decided to approach the ‘auto illustration’ with a softer pastel approach.

Another illustration for the same client (above), this one on diversity in the workplace. Had the idea of showing different backgrounds, heritages, alignments, etc through the types of coffee cups that people would use, rather than the usual ‘crowd of people’ that seems to be the fallback solution for illustrations of this sort. Not crazy about my overuse of purple (something that seems to plague a lot of the illustrations during this time).

The illustration to the left was for an evangelical magazine client (more purple again unfortunately), and was for one of their ‘women’s publications’. I again used pastels for the medium, but experimented with a little different ‘paper choice’ which yielded some interesting results.

A new east coast newspaper/magazine client called up out of the blue in April with two back to back assignments. The first one was an image depicting the Jewish ‘Seder’ holiday (pictured below), and another one was a black and white illustration (pictured in another post this month).


This month marked the last assignment from a national glossy mystery magazine that was rather short lived (I worked for this publication since its inception over two years ago). This was a mystery fiction magazine sized publication geared towards a mostly female readership (the parent company was ‘Family Circle’). I mostly did ‘famous character’ portraits for this client over the past few years, and my final assignment for them, was an actual story illustration with a puzzle piece theme.

Mystery Lit Characters Series

Mary Higgins Clark Mystery Magazine


For a while between ’98 and 2000 I was doing a regular feature for a glossy high quality mystery fiction magazine. This was a short lived publication put out by a long established women’s interest magazine, similar to the kind of work I had been providing for my other pulp digest, but with better rates and color assignments. Oddly enough these projects took place neatly between the short hiaitus that the other ‘mystery digest’ client put me on (not sure what happened, but work dried up for a while from this long time client, but then resumed to a more regular schedule starting around this year). These assignments were for a regular feature where they discussed trademark mystery characters from a variety of established authors. I was asked to concentrate more on the character’s quirks, environment and window dressings, but to try and avoid showing much of their faces. This was the 2nd or 3rd batch of these ‘character portraits’ that I did for this client. These were fun and challenging, and I’m sorry that the magazine didn’t last longer than it did.

Mysterious Characters

ABA, ChronicleHE, Legal Times, Mary Higgins Clark Mystery Magazine



I had another batch of ‘character portraits’ for a short lived glossy national ‘mystery magazine’ this month. I had done a batch of these the year before, although I didn’t recognize any of the characters or authors this time. The challenge with these was to somehow show the character without getting into too much detail with facial features, and concentrate instead on settings, props and atmosphere, and at the same time give it a ‘mystery’ feel.



I also had a couple scratchboard assignments this month from an east coast legal newspaper client of mine. The one above had to do with ‘patent law’, and the one below dealt with ‘investigative journalism’ in light of the fracas going on with the current administration’s romantic scandals.


The above full page black and white illustration was for a midwest legal publication, and the two images below were for my educational publication client. I don’t quite remember the story behind these illustrations, although the one on the bottom dealt with a bookstore of some kind.

Color Scratchboards in June

Mary Higgins Clark Mystery Magazine, Recorder


The ‘godzilla’ illustration above was for The Recorder, concerning japanese takeover court decisions that were in danger of undermining the US Constitution. For the time, and my relative inexperience at full page illustrations in Scratchboard, and in using ‘collage’ techniques (for the constitution image which was lifted from the internet), this wasn’t half bad. The buildings are a little crude, the Constitution image left a bit to be desired, but you can really tell I was having a lot of fun with this image. I grew up on a steady diet of Japanese monster movies, and I loved the chance to pay homage to those icons.

For Mary Higgins Clark’s Mystery Magazine this month, I had a second series of ‘character portraits’. The trick with these, was to show the character, without focusing too much on a face, but to show a lot of the environment, and situations that these famous recurring mystery lit characters dressed themselves in. I believe I did another portrait of this ‘taxi/guitar’ character above the following year, at least based on the visual clues (I’m not overly familiar with this character). I was, however, pretty familiar with a couple of the characters this month (Rumpole and Dortmunder below), which was a fun treat. This magazine didn’t last long on the newsstand, which was a pity, because I really enjoyed these assignments while they lasted.

Mysterious Character Studies

Mary Higgins Clark Mystery Magazine


This month saw the first digital assignments from Mary Higgins Clark Mystery Magazine (Family Circle). This publication was geared towards a female mystery fan readership, full size and on glossy paper, unlike the work I was doing for Alfred Hitchcock. I was to provide a series of four ‘character studies’ of well known recurring literary subjects from famous authors. They wanted me to not so much focus on their ‘face’, as on the settings, the props and the flavor of the world the character inhabit. I would do three or four sets of these studies before the magazine eventually folded a couple years later.