After only sharing a handful of samples from each book, I’m going back and posting each collection in its entirety for the first time since publication (writing this in 2018). There were three ‘Time and Money’ books (grades 1, 2 & 3) that I did in 1998, and this is the first volume, Grade 1.
This was the first assignment I had for Instructional Fair, a collaboration that would last through 2004 (when the company was gobbled up by a larger corporation). This was a very enjoyable working relationship, mostly with Kate Wheeler, the art director (and sometimes her superior Annette Hollister-Papp). Out of all the work I was doing in these early years, I think some of the cartoons I did for Instructional Fair were some of my best work, and still seem to hold up well twenty years later.
You can definitely see the evolution of my cartooning style from this, the first assignment, through the other books. This first book harkens back to the type of illustrations I was doing for Metro Creative Graphics, Gemini Publications and Metro Detroit Parent over the past five years. The sheer volume and repetition of each of these books served to put me through “cartoon school”, and I felt I came out of the experience with a richer, varied style, for which I am extremely grateful.
Out of the three ‘Time and Money’ books, this one was the most work, although many of the illustrations were on the smaller side. And, as with the other two volumes, I did not draw any of the coins or dollar bills, as these were provided for me by the designer and I was asked to build illustrations around them.
I had a couple of full page color assignments from The Recorder magazine this month, the first assignments from this client, which started a relationship that lasted for a couple years of fairly steady work. This client was affiliated with Legal Times, a newspaper client that I had been working for since the early nineties, but only started contacting me once I started working digitally (probably due to the ease of transferring files across the country). The above illustration was a caricature of Bill Gates, which was a lot of fun, even though I probably wouldn’t mix the styles like this these days. I also made a boo boo on the original illustration (which found its way to print) where I had put his hands on backwards, with the thumbs pointing in the wrong directions. I subsequently revised the illustration for later self promotion usage, but it was still an embarassing moment.
The illustration below was another for the same client, and while it was a challenge, I didn’t quite enjoy the end product nearly as well. Something about figures and people are much more interesting to me than buildings and objects.
And while I was making big strides with assignments like those above, I still had occasional stumbles like the mess to the left. This was for a midwest farmers association. I was given this incredibly awkward concept from the client, and it is obvious that my heart really wasn’t in this one. Digging through the archives, I’ve found quite a few illustrations of mine that surprise me with a certain naivete, and others that betray a lack of skill, but this is one that really makes me cringe on several levels. Thankfully these are few and far between, but I suspect they will only get worse the further back I go.
The above ‘Seinfeld’ caricature was for Newsday to accompany an article about the show’s final episode. Around this time, caricature assignments were rather few and far between, so I took the opportunity to have fun with it.
The illustration to the left was for the Chronicle of Higher Education, and probably had something to do with labor negotiations.
The illustration above and below were both for Newsday, both ‘same day’ assignments, and I remember being quite pleased with how both of these turned out. Looking back at them from ten years on, I can see some things I would do differently today, but I still think they hold up pretty well.
The ‘copy machine guru’ illustration to the right was for the Chronicle of Higher Education. I don’t quite remember the story behind this one. Below is a story on ‘big tobacco’ for Legal Times. I seem to remember this one getting some reprint interest a month or so later, oddly enough, as I wasn’t all that blown away by it. Shows what I know.
The ‘Clinton fixing leaks’ illustration below was another for the same client. I had a hard time capturing Bill’s likeness all the way through his presidency, even though I had plenty of opportunities to practice it. I only think I got good at him in the one illustration I did of him long after he left office. Oddly enough, I ended up doing a very similar illustration of George Bush nearly 8 years later (in the basement, fixing leaks).