Legal Times asked me to do a ‘queen of hearts’ illustration ala ‘alice’ this month, and I jumped at the chance to do a parody of one of my favorite illustrators from WAY back, Sir John Tenniel. I enjoy these ‘style parody’ assignments, as it is a good chance to dissect how another artist works. I even parodied his distinctive signature, modifying it slightly so that it made a ‘TF’. I probably should have used a crow quill pen instead of a rapideograph in order to be more authentic, but, like Charlie Brown, I’ve always had a hard time controlling the ink flow with one of those things.
Also this month, gained a few more new clients, Sports Affield magazine, and the Recorder (a legal magazine on the west coast affiliated with Legal Times).
It was one of those projects that I was initially excited about (a cartoon humor book, making fun of everyone’s least favorite purple dinosaur – what could go wrong?), but no more than two or three drawings into the project I realized what a horrible ordeal this was going to be. This was a sequel of sorts to a book entitled “Last Exit For Cats” (if you remember, at the time, there was a brief surge of ‘humor in poor taste’, with dead baby jokes, and Garbage Pail Kids and who know what all else).
Let me make it perfectly clear, I had no hand in writing any of this. I was given a list of ‘situations’ that would mean a grisly end to our main character, and was asked to illustrate them in cartoon form. Most of the jokes weren’t even slightly funny or imaginative, but were an endless grocery list of 1994 hot button topics that would prove to be old news long before the book even were to reach the shelves. I’m not going to spare you from sharing all 86 pages of this unfunny collection, but I’ll post a few just to give you an idea of the level of art involved.
As usual with projects of this sort, I never received the artwork back from the publisher, and I’m only able to share these with you now, because I recently picked up a copy of the book for a few bucks on eBay, and have taken photos of a few of the pages.
Despite not enjoying the project, I didn’t learn my lesson, and ended up signing on for another book later that same year. I wasn’t extremely picky with clients back in the first decade, just happy to be working.
Interesting story, sometime in the mid to late 90s, while on an AOL chatroom, I got to talking to a young lady who had actually purchased this book, and thought it was absolutely hilarious. Shows what I know…