In the summer of ’95 I had another catholic textbook project from St Mary’s Press who I had worked with the year before. Once again they flew me out confer with the design staff in their offices in Minnesota for the day. This was the only client in my twenty years in the business who felt a need to speak to me in person, but of course, this was back in the days before email was as widely used as it is today. I wanted to do something a bit different from the assignment the year before, so I brought along a sample of a newer ‘paint’ style that I’d been playing around with. They went for it on the chapter openers, but still wanted my scratchboards for various spots sprinkled throughout the book (the drawing to the left is one of these). I didn’t think the two styles meshed all that well, but I thought the designers did a real nice job of integrating the paintings into the design of the book, using extreme detail shots of some of them, and using colored backgrounds that I created for the purpose throughout the book. I’ve chosen a sampling of the illustrations that appeared in the book to post here. Most of the originals are long since gone, so these have all been scanned from the book. Some of them I gave away to friends, others were donated to school auctions, and I don’t know what happened to the rest.
The book is still available (and amazingly still in print) at Amazon (link here)
This one was for Legal Times in June. One of the first times I tried using acrylic paints for this client. I messed around with this for a few years, but eventually dropped the style because it didn’t quite feel comfortable. This has also been the hardest style to try and emulate on the computer, but it’s not that big a loss, I never really got much good at it.
Also this month, I started getting a rash of small jobs from local designers and ad agencies. A series of ‘comic book’ illustrations for a local trade show (of course with a tight deadline), and a proposed redesign of a gas credit card character logo, and a smattering of caricatures. . . . this was probably the last time I agreed to this sort of work (ie; assignments that require that I sit down to a ‘brainstorming session’ with the designer). Local ad agency work, at this point in my career started seeming like much more trouble than it was worth. From now on, if it was a local client, I let my agent deal with the ‘face time’.
These were the last spots for Marriage Partnership magazine (Christianity Today), who I had been working for since the early nineties.
It is kind of interesting to note, that I’ve been doing small spot illustration series of one sort or another almost continuously since the early nineties, only the styles and clients change hands. I’ll do a stint with one client for a couple years, then that peters out, then another seems to take up the baton for a couple more years, and so on and so on. Not the kind of thing that makes a big splash or gets an illustrator noticed, but it is nice to have steady work, and it seems to be my calling.
Sometime in the mid-nineties (I forget the exact time frame), I got the urge to drag out my trusty old pastel box and try my hand at some drawings in my free time, as a way of ‘getting away’ from the drudgery of day to day assignments. These were two experimental pieces that I completed during this time.