I forget how this appearance in an ‘Artist how-to’ magazine came about. Perhaps there was a ‘call for entries’ that I sent some samples to, or perhaps the magazine saw the portrait on the cover of one of my early mailers. Anyhow, while this didn’t pay much (if it paid anything – I dont’ have a record of any income from it), it did give me a boost of confidence when it was really needed. Here I was being used as an example of ‘pastel portrait art’ (and on the opening page of the article, no less). A funny thing happened a year or so later, I was at a party at the neighbor’s house and started talking to this one woman who it turns out was a ‘fellow grand rapids artist’, and who not only recognized me and my name from the portrait in this magazine article, but whose art appeared on the next page in the same article (a portrait of her husband). (cue ‘it’s a small world after all’)
While hardly an auspicious start to a fledgling freelance career, I had some of my very first sales early in 1989 with several ‘Gag Cartoons’. I sold 2 or 3 cartoons to “Cat Fancy” magazine and several cartoons to “Artist Magazine” (who, oddly enough, would end up featuring my pastel portraiture in an article the following year, after seeing a self portrait on one of my mailers).
When I first decided to go ‘freelance’, I really had little to no idea what sort of ‘drawing’ work I would be doing, and I tried quite hard for six months or so to crack the ‘cartoon market’. I sent regular weekly submissions to many of the top buyers of cartoons (The New Yorker, Saturday Evening Post, etc) and I think the drawing was just fine, I just had trouble with coming up with funny ideas. Eventually the cartooning morphed into cartoon spot art to accompany magazine articles, which was something I was a whole lot more comfortable with.