The first few months of my freelance career were unimpressive. I was sending out mailers (100-250 at the most) with a wild mishmash of styles, mostly to names that I had taken from ‘Artists Market’ books that I checked out of the library. I got a few assignments through my former employer, and sold a few gag cartoons, but mostly it was small potatoes local clients. A cartoon style I was developing began to get me assignments with our local regional magazines, and I landed a high profile cover assignment for our local arts publication.
My first national magazine clients were Cricket Magazine, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. I would work for Cricket (and their sister publications) off and on for the next fifteen years, using a variety of styles. Alfred Hitchcock (see a separate posting from this year regarding this client) would make use of a style I had just begun experimenting with, scratchboard, which would later become one of my biggest sellers. I also began selling several pastel style illustrations to local book publisher Baker Book House (who I would work with off an on to the present day).
The biggest assignment of the year, came in almost at the tail end of December. A cover assignment for Adweek, a rush job that I remember working late into the night to meet, and with National Magazine pay rates. At a time when I was really starting to doubt myself, this assignment did wonders for my self esteem. The style was a strange colored pencil concoction, which only ended up getting me one other assignment from this client a few months later, but I lived for months off of the prestige.