Who Was Milton Bradley?


MB12Another of the ‘Who Was’ series that I did in 2016 was “Who Was Milton Bradley?”. This was the 11th title in this series that I’ve been involved with. I’ve shared the occasional sample illustration on this blog, but this is the first time sharing all of the illustrations from the book. Stay tuned, as I’ll be sharing the illustrations from “What Was The Eiffel Tower?” next month.

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Finishes, Sneak Peeks and More Sketches

Hudson Valley, Penguin, Taylor Design, Today Media


Above is how the illustration for Hudson Valley turned out, which I finished up this afternoon. I’ve also been working full tilt on the Vietnam book, trying to get it done early, in anticipation of our trip to Ireland in about a week’s time. Below is a sneak peek at one of the Vietnam illustrations (this has definitely been the “Year of Nixon”, with no less than 3 separate books so far this year with multiple Nixon illustrations).

Which also reminds me, it has been a while since I’ve shared work from these Penguin ‘who was’ books, so I may put together a post along those lines either next week, or when I return from our trip.

VietnamteaserBelow that, I have five more rough sketches for the Xmas card project that I talked about in the last post. After the client looked over the first batch, they had some suggestions and modifications to the prior group of sketches.

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And some more sketches, for a quick turnaround piece for the Chronicle on the suppression of a diversity of viewpoints on campus.



WhoWas_NYT_#1Passing this on from the publisher. I’ve done 17┬átitles (so far) for these series of books over the past 5 years. Nice to see the kids seem to be gobbling them up.


Various projects in the works

MacMillan, Penguin, Skyhorse Publishing

dicknixonwebBeen a while since I’ve updated, but it isn’t because I’m slow. I’ve been working on several book projects, many of them overlapping and in various stages of completion. I finished up the Watergate book earlier this month, but the Nixon illustration above isn’t from that project, but instead is from another book I just completed yesterday. This is from the third “Epic Fails” series of books entitled “Not So Great Presidents”, and I’ll likely be starting on sketches for the fourth book in the next couple weeks. I’ll share more samples from many of these books after they have reached publication. Meanwhile I’m still working on another “Who Was” book for Penguin, this one on ‘Hollywood’ (a sample illustration from that project, a portrait of Judy Garland, pictured below). I should be finishing this project up in the next few weeks.



And coming up in the next few months, I’ll be working on a reprint of the “Peter Cottontail” stories, and a rough sketch for the cover is pictured below:


And one more upcoming project that I’m very excited about (but will have to wait for a while to share details here), I’ve started doing some preliminary rough concepts for. I’ll keep you posted as the details get ironed out. Looks like it is going to be a busy summer.




What Was the Chicago Fire?


Another in the series of ‘What Was/Who Was/Where Was’ series of young reader books for Penguin, was “What Was the Chicago Fire?” from early 2016. This was the tenth book in this series that I illustrated the interiors for, and, when it was first proposed to me, I was a bit reluctant. Buildings are not my favorite thing to draw, and I had turned down one assignment the previous fall from the same client for that very reason, but at that particular time I was desperate for work, so I gritted my teeth and said “why not?”.
This one ended up being one of the most challenging of the books, for the aforementioned reason, and also the fact that it was filled with numerous crowd scenes, overhead city scenes (both prior to the disaster, during, and the aftermath). However, for the very same reasons, due to its challenge and complicated nature, I believe this book may have been a turning point in regards to my outlook towards these assignments. I learned an awful lot during the course of this project, both in technique and approach, and I’ve started embracing the pen and ink style, and more importantly, embracing the ‘process’, rather than just enduring it. I think this book was one of the best of the series that I’d done so far (and other difficult ones would follow), and I was informed recently that this book has been nominated for a ‘book of the year’ award by a Chicago area educators society (more news on this as I hear more).
I’ve share a few samples from this book in the past, but this is the first time sharing all 80 or so of the illustrations from the book.