Jukejoint Handmedowns – Call of the Wild

Jukejoint Handmedowns, music, self portrait

JJHDCotWcover1After working on this album now since spring (and the planning for it has stretched back over the two years since our last release), the new Jukejoint Handmedowns album is nearly ready to go to the manufacturers. We’ve got one more song to record this week, and a few tweaks to a few other tunes, and we’ve still got to shoot a band photo for the interior (the one that is shown is a place holder for now). I’m hoping to place the order for the first batch the day after Labor Day, with a lot of production work to finish up over the weekend. This is our fourth album, and the songs are all about our home state of Michigan, covering various topics from notorious tourist traps to urban legends to the growth of the craft beer movement, the decline of the auto industry, the state’s generous bottle return policy to its natural wonders (and several famous and not so famous local ‘characters’ round out the mix). Above, you can see the exterior CD cover, and below is the interior, featuring a cartoon map that pays homage to every one of the songs in one way or another. Further down, is the artwork for the CD itself, and two sides of a trifold ‘lyric booklet’ that will be inserted opposite the CD.

As always, like our previous albums, these will be available at our live shows, on iTunes, CDBaby, Amazon and other online music outlets.

JJHDCotWcover2

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JJHDCofWlyric1

JJHDCofWlyric2Also, in conjunction with the CD release, we’ll be printing up some new tee shirt designs, which is pictured below (likely these will be offered on grey shirts with blue ink).

JJHDCotWteeshirt

 

 

Michigan Album

Jukejoint Handmedowns, music, self portrait

webusagecoverAlmost finished with the ‘car coloring book’ project for Dover, and in the afternoons, have been working on the interior art for my band’s new CD. This is an album of ‘Michigan themed’ songs, so I did a map featuring cartoon images from each of the songs that we’ve recorded, plus place names that have been mentioned in various songs. A lot of work went into it, but it will likely be so tiny on the CD jacket that a lot of the details will get lost. (a good excuse to cut a vinyl of this album just so we can showcase the artwork in a larger format)

 

Tee Shirt Design

Jukejoint Handmedowns, music

webteeshirtIn between projects today, I took some time to design a tee shirt to offer in conjunction with the new CD that my band will be releasing in the next few months. Not much illustration involved with this, mostly found and photoshop manipulated imagery and type design. I still have about another week of ‘drawing cars’ for my new coloring book project, but I may post a few more samples from some of the Penguin biographies I’ve been doing over the past several years, later this week, so stay tuned.

 

2016 Year in Review

music, self portrait, Year In Review

Aside from the dark cloud that started growing halfway through the year, and culminated in that nightmare on November 9, 2016 was not a complete disaster, with more highlights than downsides. As I start the new year, it is with more trepidation, uncertainty and fear than I’ve ever felt after any election year in my entire life. I’ve survived Republican presidents in the past (5 of them in fact), but never before have I had this feeling of riding on an out of control train barreling towards a cliff with a raving madman at the controls. Hopefully I am over-reacting.

Musically, it was probably my best year. My band, the Jukejoint Handmedowns, won their first WYCE ‘Jammie Award’ in February, winning the ‘Traditions’ award for their 2015 CD ‘Jukejoint Handmedowns Sing Songs of Death, Murder & the Afterlife’. The band feels tighter than it ever has, with several memorable performances this year, including our very first summer music festival appearance at the Buttermilk Jamboree. We signed on with a booking agent in September and are hoping that the coming year will see some interesting new opportunities come of this new relationship. We are also starting the recording process for our 4th CD, a collection of Michigan themed songs that we hope to release early summer of 2017. I continue to also play bass with the Kent Philharmonic Orchestra, challenging myself with classical music that is often way over my head, as well as playing bass with a few other groups. I’ve been finding this musical side of my life to be the most fulfilling, and I only wish it paid nearly as well as illustration. My friend Ted Bergin took a nice photo of me playing at our New Year’s Eve show, that I’m sharing here, and am hoping to get a signed and framed copy of this for my office.

My wife continues to work at a local travel agency as a graphic artist, and her job there offers her many opportunities for travel discounts, so we had several interesting vacations this past year. We shared a house on St. Croix with my Son and his girlfriend, my Brother, his wife, sister in law and a family friend for a week in January, and liked it so much that we are returning again (staying in a different part of the island) this coming January. We also went to Mexico in November with my Brother, his wife, sister in law and family friend, plus my Sister and her husband, and my wife took a trip to Ireland with a co-worker in February. My wife and I celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary this past December.

My son surprised us with some good news in October, with the announcement that he and his girlfriend have gotten engaged to be married, and we look forward to wedding bells sometime in 2018. He currently works as an Apartment Leasing Agent in Chicago, and still plays with his jazz combo ‘Bonzo Terks’ around the Chicago area.

Meanwhile, I continue to plug away at this illustration business. Still undergoing major changes in the industry. Magazine and Newspaper work has dried up to a mere trickle as compared to 5-6 years ago, and I find myself doing a lot more book publishing work. This was in fact a record year for me as far as ‘books published’. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 9-10 books where my work is either featured or appears on the cover were published this year alone, and I’ve got several titles already lined up for the coming year, that I’ve either just finished or are in the works. I’ve also tried something new with regards to my ‘self promotion’, signing up for a page in the Directory of Illustration last year, which will be coming out in January of this year, and I’m hoping will result in some new clients over the coming year. I’ve never tried advertising with the Directory before, so I’ll let you know next year how that worked out. I always dread this next task of picking out my ‘best work’ of the year, as I usually forget most of the work that has come over my desk in the last 12 months, and worry that I didn’t do anything worth revisiting. But here we go, looking back over the past year, here’s what I’m most proud of:

 

Approximately 410 illustrations done in 2016, bringing the grand total up to 14,787 illustrations since I started in 1989.