In December I heard from a new children’s magazine client, ‘Clubhouse’ (Focus on the Family) and I got a few assignments from them for an upcoming issue. A cover and inside full page illustration for a story about the young Jackie Robinson, and a series of tiny spot illustrations to go with a ‘rebus’ activity in another part of the magazine. It was interesting working in both of these extremes of available space. I thought they both turned out quite nice, although of the two JR pieces, the one above, I felt turned out more successfully than the one below.
I had a trio of assignments from my agent this month, for a Michigan regional parenting magazine. A couple rare color assignments included in the bunch this time. The one above dealt with ‘when Mom gets sick’, and the one to the left was about ‘baby paraphenalia’, and I don’t quite remember what the spot below dealt with (just a ‘mom’ I guess).
The illustration below was for a national parenting magazine, and dealt with ‘busy moms’. This one I liked so well, that I recycled it as a promo postcard a few months later.
I had quite a few spot assignments this month from a local regional parenting publication (where my wife was working at the time, although I had been doing assignments for them for years prior to her getting a job there). The one above was on holiday credit spending, then a piece on ‘healthy eating for kids’ to the right, and below was a piece on ‘exercise’, and another on ‘ear candles’. (Oddly enough, I just did another assignment on ‘ear candles’ for my health care column gig just a few days ago – Jan 2008 — I think this one was funnier with the fire extinguisher)
Also this month I had a few assignments from my children’s magazine publisher. The ‘newspaper’ illustration was for a piece on ‘school papers’, and the black and white ‘liftoff’ illustration was an in-house announcement regarding a recent merger between two of my different children’s publishing clients.
The illustration below with the ‘automobile full of students’ was an assignment from my ‘college lifestyle’ magazine client.
Also this month was a series of small spots for the same children’s magazine client. These all had to do with reading and books in one way or another (I don’t remember the specifics), and they all kept the same background shape and size.
The ‘girl reading a book’ illustration was for a catholic magazine and dealt with reading the same book at different stages in your life, and it was a challenge to try and draw the same character as a girl, a young woman, and as a middle aged adult, and yet keep her recognizably the same person.
And, finally, for the same children’s magazine client, I also had a pair of illustrations on ‘dowsing’. This certainly was a busy month for cartoons, and the following month would be the same. It is interesting to look back at this time in my career when the ‘cartoons’ took up at least 50% of my workload, instead of being the relative rarity that they occupy in my work in the present (2007-08). They gave my work a nice shot in the arm from a variety standpoint, and things I learned from one style would sometimes enrich the other and visa versa. Conventional wisdom for aspiring illustrators has always been to ‘specialize’ in one style, as it makes it easier to market your work, clients remember you better when they can pigeon hole you, but I really don’t think it is healthy for the illustrator. Too easy to burn out doing the same thing over and over, and the work suffers because of it.
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.
The illustrations above and below were for a west coast children’s magazine and accompanying website. Apparently, in the illustration below, the web browser would click on various areas of the neighborhood to be taken to different online portions of the magazine.
The above illustration was for a cd cover of a christmas collection by a local christian recording artist.
I also had a number of small spots for a local regional magazine publisher this month. Usually I worked in a ‘cartoon’ style for this client, as the pay scale was so low, and I could quickly turn around these cartoons with a minimum of fuss. They wanted something a little different for one of the spots this month, and I did a quick and dirty oil pastel drawing of a hand reaching for a fridge handle. It was kind of light in hue, as are so many of my illustrations from this period (I was still learning about ‘screen contrast/lightness’ settings on the computer), and wasn’t much to write home about.
The ‘Shakespeare holding an oscar’ was for the ‘city’ publication (and if memory serves, probably had to do with ‘Shakespeare in Love’), and I also had a few ‘401k’ illustrations one for the ‘city’ and another for the ‘parenting’ publication.
I was also asked to do a ‘scratchboard’ illustration for this same client this month. I usually tried to avoid these from this particular client due to the extra time involved in a scratchboard drawing, and for the aforementioned budgetary restraints, but kept this one rather simple. This image could just as easily have been an assignment from my educational publication client (and would have paid 10 times the amount).
I also had another black and white assignment from a Michigan regional parenting publication through my agent. This was a similar type magazine to the one published locally, but a slightly bigger market and city, and consequently paid better, even with a bite taken out by the agent.