Busy

Blown Covers, ChronicleHE, WSJ


After a very slow start to the week, things started picking up on Thursday morning, so I’ve been pretty busy yesterday and today, and just now have a chance to catch my breath. Above was my entry into the “Blown Covers” contest this week, for which I was chosen as one of the runners up (this week’s theme being ‘Food’).


Yesterday’s rush job was from the Chronicle of Higher Education, which was an article about the Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare (pictured above), and then I also had a quick turnaround assignment for the Wall Street Journal which resulted in the illustration below (which I just finished up, and may yet have some tweaks before it gets signed off on). Next week I’ll be starting on the ‘museum figures’ project (got the go-ahead on several of them to go to finish), and may take the weekend off from ‘portraits’ just to give myself a breather.

And just for the heck of it, I’m also posting two of the preliminary sketches for the WSJ job (it was one of those rare ones in which I was actually happier with the sketches than with the final. I was so hell bent on getting it done by the deadline that I didn’t notice until I was finished how much of the spontaneity had gotten lost in the process.

Mary, Sam, Scott, Mitt, Ellen & Scott & Blown Covers

Blown Covers, ChronicleHE, Facebook Faces, Uncle Goose Toys


Another facebook portrait this morning, and will probably do another on Sunday. #86, Mary, another high school classmate I assume, since she’s from Durand. Did this one in a mixture of pastel & watercolor from a rather fuzzy indistinct photograph.
I’m getting very near the halfway point in this summer challenge to draw each and every one of my facebook friends in a variety of styles. It has been an interesting experiment, and when I reach the end, I may find myself moving on to friends of friends and complete strangers, as I find myself with more freedom from the shackles of having to flatter and/or capture a specific likeness the more obscure and tenuous the relationship.

Today’s portrait is of a local singer/songwriter who runs several open mic venues here in Grand Rapids, Sam, done in a black and white pen and ink style.

And later in the day, I also did a portrait of Scott (#85), another high school bandmate, in a mix of colored pencils and watercolors.

And, no, I’m not facebook friends with Mitt Romney, but this was an addition to the ‘presidential blocks’ illustrations I did for Uncle Goose Toys a few years back, and they want to be ahead of the game, should Romney get into office this fall.

This week’s Blown Covers topic was ‘fashion’, and below was my entry for this week.


The above illustration was a small online spot for the Chronicle of Higher Education that I did earlier this week. This month marks the 20 Year Anniversary of working with this magazine (and the same Art Director, Ellen Winkler). Clients have come and gone over the past few decades, but I am grateful every day for the Chronicle, which has been, since the beginning, one of the most pleasant, enjoyable and stimulating working experiences of my career, and Ellen is one of the best ADs I’ve ever worked for, who knows when to let me loose, or reign me in, and has stuck with me while I learned the ropes of this vocation, worked out the kinks in my illustration style, and occasionally fallen flat on my face. Happy Anniversary Ellen and Scott and the rest of the gang at the Chronicle.

Back to Work, you!

Blown Covers, Facebook Faces, Jukejoint Handmedowns, US Catholic


After an enjoyable but busy weekend, I’m settling back into work. The go ahead arrived for a couple big projects and I’ve got a few smaller finished illustrations to finish up this afternoon (which I’ll post later today), but in the meantime, here’s today’s portrait (#80) of my JJHD bandmate, Nate, done in a modified scratchboard/colored pencil hybrid style.

In other news, the ‘Blown Covers’ blog got another mention in the New Yorker’s ‘Culture Desk’ today because one of our group made the jump to the magazine this week, and since I happened to be one of the runners-up, my sketch is included in the slideshow at the bottom of the article (#9). You can click on the small version here to see a larger version. This is as close as I’ve ever gotten to being in the New Yorker (my dream client since first starting freelance illustrating back in 1989)


Also finished up an illustration for US Catholic this afternoon on rising divorce rates among the ‘over 50′ crowd.

Primed for the Weekend

Blown Covers, ChronicleHE, Facebook Faces


Getting ready for a busy music weekend, with a show tonight at Jukes and two sets on the waterfront in Saugatuck on Saturday, then Father’s Day with the old man down in South Haven on Sunday. Not much on the agenda today, but did a few sketches for a Chronicle online illustration due early next week (pictured below). Been doing more and more of my sketches in color lately, both because I like to work out a rough idea of what will be going on with the final, and just enjoying the loose sketch style that I’ve been doing lately with the Blown Covers entries (this week’s ‘beach’ themed entry pictured above).
I may do another portrait today, if time permits, but I’m in sort of a ‘enjoy the sunshine’ mood, so hanging around my workstation isn’t a high priority this afternoon.



And here’s my daily ‘facebook portrait’ (the last one until monday), and this was an odd one, because this particular person (another high school friend) didn’t have many photos of herself posted to her site (this is Lisa by the way). I did, however find a very interesting photo of her holding a baby, from the back, which made for a nice pencil study with a limited color scheme.

weekend roundup

Barrons, Blown Covers, Facebook Faces, River Styx, Weekly Standard, WSJ


Well, this week ended up being a very productive one after a slow start. The above illustration was one I finished up this morning for a zombie story for River Styx Magazine. I also had several quick turnaround pieces in the latter half of the week. Below is a piece on the Obamacare decision for Barrons, and below that, a spot illustration for the Wall Street Journal on Mutual Funds for the weekend paper.

I also had an assignment from a client I hadn’t heard from in a couple of years, The Weekly Standard, and they were looking for a ‘cartoon’ illustration with a very specific layout. Below is the rough sketch, and the finished illustration.

I also found time for my usual self imposed assignments. Today’s ‘facebook portrait’ is another high school acquaintance that I don’t really remember all that well, Peggy, done in a modified scratchboard & color technique. This one turned out kind of weird. I was probably getting into a good ‘zombie mood’ in preparation for the River Styx illustration.

And finally, the weekly Blown Covers blog that I’ve been participating in for the past 10 weeks. This week, I couldn’t make up my mind between two different ideas that occurred to me. I usually only submit one sketch, but have noticed other participants submitting two or more, so went ahead and did both ideas this week. Oddly enough both made it into the ‘runners up’ along with two other ideas by another artist who also submitted two concepts with eerily similar themes. Below are both sketches.


Several other projects seem to be in the works for the coming weeks, so I’m looking forward to being very busy in June.