Some interesting pieces came through in the early part of March. The illustration above was for the Chronicle of Higher Education, and had something to do with predicting upcoming supreme court battles.
And as a nice break from the routine, I had a trio of black and white assignments from Cicada magazine (the ‘older brother publication’ to Cricket, published primarily in Black and White). Since I was assigned two stories in the same issue, I tried to make each of them slightly different in style. The one above was to accompany a poem about a moose, and the two below was about a friendship between a couple of high school students, and one of them gets a rather provacative tattoo. Fun to stretch a little and try out new styles, even if I sometimes fall flat on my face. Thanks to my wife for her beautiful hands on the ‘moose’ picture, always a pleasure to draw.
Around this time, I also received an illustration assignment from a new client, Banking Journal, who wanted me to draw a humorous scene of bank customers auditioning for the bank officers. If you look closely, you can see a self portrait hiding in the crowd of potential auditioners.
I got a rather complex piece from Newsday. This one a ‘maze’ illustration having to do with prescription drugs, and I remember it was a logistical challenge, working out the maze so that it was actually ‘solvable’ (didn’t occur to me in the first version, so I had to go back and revise the illustration). A nice piece when we eventually finished with it, and worth the trouble.
And finally, I got a job from a new client, The New Zealand Herald, who had, at the time, the distiction of being the furthest geographically of any client I had heretofor worked for. It was interesting working for someone on the far side of the globe, where it was technically already ‘tomorrow’ when the job was assigned. The job had something to do with religious tensions, and the sample pictured is actually only half of the original illustration, which had a big color sky section above, for text to be placed over.
A large full color piece for Newsday, that I chose to treat a bit more ‘realistically’ than usual, gave me a chance to work with a ‘faux oils’ technique that I’ve been toying with. I leaned heavily on reference materials for the statue, but used much more liberal color choices in the rendering than the reference material provided. I felt this piece turned out quite nice, and so I tried to apply the same techniques to another assignment for the same client later in the month. This one didn’t turn out quite so well. Looking back, I think it was because I used a much better range of colors above, going from solid blacks to solid whites which really helped the statue pop out of the background, and below I just seem to be using a lot of mid tones and what I end up with, although rendered nicely, is a muddy, flat image. (the piece above was for the upcoming’ emmy nominations, and the piece below was something about retirement)
The two pieces above and below, for the same client during this month, have a similar story. The above was a quick one day illustration, something about the 9/11 memorial. I thought I came up with a rather simple and clean concept, and rendered it well, using nice solid black areas to contrast with the white and offwhite areas of the grass and tarp. The piece below, a lifestyle section piece about siblings, was a longer deadline, and in color, and I thought the concept was weaker (I’ve done these sort of ‘back to back’ ideas before), and the colors, rather than enhancing the design and layout, actually served to muddy the whole thing up. Not exactly a bad illustration, but nothing particularly inspiring either. Some solid white areas, perhaps in the clothing, would have helped give this a bit more ‘umph’.
For the same client (busy month for them in September), I also had a piece on telecommunications developments, where how in the future, your television signal, internet and telephone service may one day all come from the same company. I chose to do this one in more of a ‘cartoon’ style, due to the subject matter (sticking a dog into the picture will usually dictate this), and I notice that I’ve included my old dog ‘Dinky’ in this one (he had passed away the previous spring). Another piece for a different magazine client below, also utilized the cartoon style, but with this one, I went into a bit more detail with the colors and shading.
I also had a few ‘oddball’ assignments from a pair of new clients this month. The caricature to the left was for the University of Missouri, but I’m afraid I don’t remember who the subject was, either an author, or someone who was involved with the University. I believe this was the second similar assignment I had done for this client. I also had a large full page illustration for Strategic Finance magazine, in which I remember using myself as a model, asking my wife to take a few snapshots in this unusual pose. Looking back on it, I really liked the layout, but I think I goofed up as far as color choices for the background ‘tent’ ceiling. (but I’m not sure what would have worked better, maybe something more muted would have helped the character pop out more).