The above ‘puzzle’ illustration was for one of my children’s publications (this one a kids version of a well known consumer advocate magazine). The idea was to find the item in each row that ‘didn’t belong’, and I had an absolute blast coming up with the cover designs for all these cereal boxes. It takes me back to my youth, where I used to spend all my allowance on ‘wacky packages’ and spend hours marveling at the artwork that went into those goofy little trading cards.
A lot of the cartoon work that I had in September was rather small in size. Besides the tiny details that went into the above illustration, I also had a pair of long horizontal black and white cartoons for my agent, for a Michigan regional parenting publication. These would show all sorts of children, of various ages, doing various activities. Measuring approximately 2 inches tall and about 17 inches across, I ended up having to break this file down into 4 sections each in order to post them here.
I also had a series of small ‘factoid’ illustration spots for a southern college lifestyle magazine (pictured above). The illustrations to the left were slightly larger spot cartoons for the same client, two of which had to do with different ‘styles’ of clothing over the years, and the third was some sort of ‘three legged race’ image (other than that, I don’t quite remember the story behind).
What is absolutely amazing to me, is how very long this ‘baggy pants hanging halfway down your legs’ fashion fad has lasted. One would think that kids would have moved on by now, it was old when I drew this back in ’99 and kids are still hobbling around with their pants around their knees ten years later.
Sometime around here, I took an evening class at my old alma mater (can you call it an ‘alma mater’ when you never actually graduated?), mostly as an excuse to get some model drawing time in, and a way of keeping my ‘paper and pencil’ skills and human anatomy skills sharpened. I can’t remember exactly when I took this class, but it was either ’98, ’99 or ’00, and was one of the rare times when I didn’t take this class at the community college. This was a smaller class than usual, maybe 5 students, and the instructor was very ‘hands off’, more of a babysitter than a a teacher. Some very nice models in this session, and I got quite a few nice drawings out of it, of which I’ve selected a sampling to post here. I worked mostly in charcoal and conte crayon in this class, only taking the pastels in once, but worked on nicer paper than usual.
Most of these illustrations were for my children’s magazine client, for different publications under the same parent company’s umbrella. The above map of ‘western trails’ was for one of the history publications. The two ‘bookend illustrations below were for one of their ‘black history’ publications, and dealt with songs sung by gold prospectors.
These publications were usually pretty open minded when it came to my experimenting with different styles, and it usually kept the work from getting too routine. Also this situation allowed the publication to hire me for more than one assignment per issue without it looking like they use the same illustrator all the time. One of the benefits of having a split personality I suppose.
These ‘miner’ illustrations were finished in a combination watercolor and sketchy colored pencil style. The map above was finished in a similar manner, but with a more tightly rendered linework and attention to detail.
Oddly enough I always enjoyed doing the maps the most, unless they also included a lot of little ‘vignettes’, in which case they got to be a chore. I could spend all day drawing mountain ranges and rivers and coastlines, but the ‘vignettes’ would stop me cold. I didn’t mind ‘scenes’ like the prospectors above and to the right, as long as they didn’t get too crowded, but the assignments I really didn’t care for, were the ‘collages’ like the ones below for an article on ‘freedom of religion’. I never could quite make a ‘collage’ look anything other than awkward.
The ‘pledge of allegiance’ illustration below was another for the same client, this one finished in the more traditional scratchboard style that I am used to.
The following two illustrations were for a jesuit magazine client during September. I don’t quite remember the topic of either of them. (‘bats in the belfry’ is probably the idea behind the illustration below).