I was just starting to get a lot of regular work from my new national newspaper client starting around this time. Most of the assignments were rather small in size, but I was more than happy with that, as this was the ideal format for this particular style, especially at this stage in my skills. The above was my first ‘bear and bull’ for this financial publication (and wouldn’t be the last), and I had a few more in rapid succession (the crystal ball illustration below, and the ‘party bulls’ below that).
The ‘newspaper scandal’ illustration to the right was one of two small spots (the other being the ‘chalkboard’ illustration below) for the same client this month.
Most of the work for this client was on a ‘same day’ basis (with an occasional two day lead time, but it was rare), where I would be called sometime in the mid morning with an assignment, I would have sketches sent over in an hour or so, and then once okayed, the final to be delivered by late afternoon. I have no problem with that schedule, and in fact prefer to work this way, instead of large involved projects that hang over my head for weeks (and generally pay far less). Over the years I’ve learned to anticipate when jobs are likely come in, and in later years would even start working remotely via cell phone and laptop from whereever I happen to be.
The ‘egg’ illustration below to the right was one of my favorites of these early illustrations for this client, and I would recycle it as business card art for myself during the next year. I think what I like best about it is the simplicity. I have an unfortunate tendency to overwork my illustrations, and it is a revelation when I see what can be done with much less.
The ‘acorn’ illustration to the left was another for the same client in December.
Sometimes I would get some odd shaped illustration requests, usually when the art has to work around a pre-existing chart or graphic. The illustration below was one of these ‘oddball’ shapes and portrays an investor taking the ‘hard way’ towards a destination.
Below that is a piece for the same client on the ‘computer industry’, and this is one of the earliest examples of my using a ‘scratchboard rake’ tool to add a tone to the background of an illustration (and not very carefully, I might add).
UPDATE 2018: The Wall Street Journal would continue to be one of my biggest clients for the next fifteen or sixteen years. Eventually the shrinking Newspaper business model and the rise of the internet would put a kibosh on this particular party. But it was sure fun while it lasted.
I stumbled across some additional work for December of ’99. I had a series of spot illustrations for one of my children’s magazine clients this month, having to do with Mexican culture. These spots were arranged in such a way so that they could make some sort of ‘numerical game’ out of them. (1 plate of nachos, 2 boats, 3 cups of guacamole, etc) and so they could also throw a few spanish names into the lesson.
I also had a large two page spread of a crowded mexican festival, but I’ve not bothered to include it here, because it wasn’t particularly nice looking, and had a very strange shape to make room for some text blocks.
For the same client, I had a story about the industrial revolution, for which I’ve chosen the better of the two illustrations to include here (below), and below that a map of California for another publication for the same client.