This was the third assignment for Alfred Hitchcock. The scratchboard style is still quite crude, but I am enjoying this type of assignment quite a bit (interpreting a dramatic scene from a story manuscript). The original artwork for this and other early AHMM pieces have long since disappeared, and this is a scan from the magazine page. Thanks to blog reader Bruce Harris from New Jersey, who has been sending me samples of my early work.
This was the very first illustration assignment for Cricket magazine, who would become a fairly frequent client over the course of my freelance career until it got bought out by Carus Publishing (and they changed their payment schedule drastically, leading to my dropping them as a client). This one came across my desk at the tail end of my first year in business, just a month after my son Keenan was born. Back at this time, this magazine primarily used two color artwork on the inside of the magazine, and full color on the cover. Doing a two color separation was a bit tricky, but if I remember correctly, I ended up doing an overlay of tracing paper, and adding watercolor directly to the overlay. The original art still survives (for sentimental value probably), although the overlay has long ago disappeared. Below is the original black and white illustration, and above is how it appeared in print.
This assignment came across my desk around the final part of the month (billed out the day after Christmas), and on the final day of the year, just before New Year’s Eve, I got a call from Adweek for a cover assignment. I wish I still had the original art for this one, or even a tearsheet. I’m sure it was horrible looking, but I put a lot of work into it, late into the night to meet the tight deadline (and my first experience with FedX overnight delivery), and was a big boost to my morale when it really needed it. I began to think, ‘hey, maybe I can do this job’.
UPDATE: While going through some old paperwork in 2014, I ran across a tear sheet of the Adweek Cover (I was right, it was pretty awful looking), and here’s a photo of it:
For several years, prior to my freelance illustration career, my illustration skills were mostly kept bottled up, and the biggest outlet for my creativity was the annual Xmas Party invitation. We had held the first Party in 1984 (and I don’t remember if a special invitation was drawn up for that one or not), back when we lived in the apartment down on Michigan Street, and we began making it an annual event once we moved into our first house on Straight Street, and it continued until the mid nineties (at which point it just became too exhausting to keep up with). I had thought most of these invitations had disappeared, but when my father passed away in 2014, whole stack of them were unearthed in his keepsake drawer.
The party usually involved a banquet table of food, lots of booze and cocktails, parlor games, and eventually a small stakes poker game, as the crowd thinned out. Judging from clues in the illustration, I’d guess this one was circa 1989.