Cartoon Assignment

Children's Television Workshop

I had a rather large assignment this month for a national parenting magazine. This involved rather rambunctious children and how to deal with them. The article opened with the large spread above, and then smaller spots of a similar nature were sprinkled throughout the rest of the piece. I originally had intended to put in my usual ‘pets’ (my cat Ripley and my dog Dinky), but after the first round of sketches, the art director requested a different type dog.

The spot below was originally much more horizontal, with the ‘speed cloud’ zooming across the bottom of a two page spread, but I’ve cut it down in size to better show the pertinent details.

Looking through the clutter scattered around the living room in the opening spread, and around the tired mother below that, I notice a lot of my son’s toys got included in the mix. Eventually the article goes beyond describing the ‘trouble with rambunctious kids’ and starts offering suggestions for ways to channel all that extra energy in positive ways. (rollerblading and dancing, as seen here – and note all the safety gear on the rollerblading kid and adult, all very specifically and painstakingly itemized for my drawing purposes) — I was probably really dating myself with this record player – I wonder how many of the readers were puzzled by this illustration (below). I know I should have used some sort of cd player, but I just liked the esthetics of the record player better.


AHMM, America, Carus Publishing, WSJ

I was approached this month with an interesting assignment from my long time children’s magazine client. This was a mystery assignment for their ‘teen poetry/prose’ digest and was a story written by an author I was quite familiar with, and I was tickled to be able to illustrate one of his short stories.

Like many of the stories by this author, this one was once again set in the British horse racing community. I decided to take advantage of greyscale in order to add a little depth to the normally static black and white scratchboard style (I now recognize this as a shortcoming in my technique that I needed to go this route). I had a lot of fun with this one, and got a lot of valuable practice at drawing horses (something my repetoire was a bit lacking in).

Mystery fiction was a rarity around this publication, so it was also a nice chance to do something that showed another side of my talents to this long time client. The story (if I remember correctly) had to do with a horse doping, and an attempt on a jockey’s life.

In addition to the above ‘mystery’ story, I also had another one for my long time ‘mystery digest’ client this month. This was the first assignment I had gotten from them in a couple of years, having worked for many years for this magazine back in the early to mid-nineties. I had since changed over from traditional materials to totally digital, and this was the first ‘digital assignment’ for this client.

I continued to get regular black and white assignments from my new national newspaper client, which was nice because the work was fairly steady, and challenging and fun, and generally paid much better than most of the work I had been doing up to this point. The quick turn around time was a small price to pay for a more steady income.

The ‘identity thief’ to the left was one of the small spots this month for this client, as well as the ‘treasury bond’ illustration pictured below.

One thing I would get much better at portraying, thanks to this client, were men in business suits. These early ones look like I’m still stumbling around with how to portray them effectively.

It is also interesting to see a little ‘idea crossover’ going on between a couple of clients this month. The above ‘treasury bond’ concept seems eerily familiar with the illustration below for a jesuit publication.

For the most part, though, the assignments for the new national newspaper client were still confined to small black and white spot illustrations like those pictured to the right, and below to the left. It would take another year before larger format illustrations and color assignments would start coming from this corner of my client base.