This was one of four pages (the rest are no longer available) of cartoon continuity that I did for an article in a Zillions magazine in January (a children’s edition of Consumer Reports). This one was a lot of fun, and I was able to jam pack the thing with lots of little details. One of my enduring goals since I was around ten years old was to have my work appear in the pages of ‘Mad Magazine’, and as silly as it sounds, I suppose I’ll never quite consider myself a success as an illustrator until I make it into those pages, even though the magazine isn’t quite what it was back in the late 60s and early 70s (when I was still reading it). I still haven’t made it (as of ’08, when this is written), but I did receive an encouraging response from the editor sometime around ’01 or ’02. This project was the closest thing that I ever got to working in that sort of format, and it was both a lot of work, and a lot of fun to put together.
Also this month marked the first assignments from another children’s publisher who would keep me very busy for the next ten years or so. My first assignment for Cobblestone Publishing was a black and white cartoon of a large pie with lots of kids running around it with large forks. (I remember the image pretty well, but the artwork, unfortunately hasn’t survived). Later in the month I had a map assignment regarding the world’s religions, and an astronomy illustration for another of their magazines. This publisher specialized in various kids specialty educational magazines (Calliope, Faces, Cobblestone, Oddysey, etc etc), and I would find myself in the future doing work for two or three of them at the same time in any given month. They usually published in a schedule based on the school year, so there would be a three month lull sometime during the year where no work would be forthcoming. At first I was quite happy with the work, but as the years wore on, I became disenchanted with the maddeningly slow payment schedules, stagnant fees and rights grabbing contract terms. A shame, because the work was frequently interesting, and the people I worked with very friendly.