My ninth assignment for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. The scratchboard style is still pretty crude, but it is showing some slight improvement. Most of the early artwork for these illustrations for AHMM have been lost, but a bit thanks to Bruce Harris from New Jersey, who has recently (2018) been sending me trashiest with samples of my early work.
This was my first full length children’s book project. This was a short paperback book of bible stories for Eerdmans Publishing, a local firm (this one, like ‘Pink Lemonade’ in the following year, was an updating of an older book in the Eerdman’s catalog – I’ve posted a picture of the original cover to the left).
The cover had two color illustrations, one for the front, and one for the back, and the inside work was all black and white line work with grey wash. Most of the drawings were pretty forgettable and sometimes very awkward with regards to style and anatomy, but a few of them had a certain charm, my favorites being the squirrel with his wheelbarrow of nuts (the wheelbarrow made up of a matchbox and a couple metal sewing spools), and the bees with their tea party (I always love drawing bugs). I was also rather proud of the cover illustrations, which was one of my earliest attempts at doing full color watercolor illustrations (the back cover especially with the sleeping squirrel atop his mound of nuts).
When I first wrote this blog entry back in 2009, I only shared a few of the interior samples, but I am updating it in 2018, and posting, for the first time since publication nearly 30 years ago, ALL of the illustrations, the good, the bad and the ugly.
I was frankly surprised I was able to get away with naked fairies on page 77. As with most of the work I did for Eerdman’s, I wasn’t especially crazy about the religious themes, and felt the writing was pretty weak, but I was happy to get the work, at a time when my ego surely needed the boost.
This early color scratchboard assignment was one that I did this month for Strang Communications.