Cartoon Spots

Metro Detroit Parent, Oxendine, Strang Publications

I had a series of cartoon spot illustrations this month for a college lifestyle magazine. I’d been doing these small factoid illos for this client for almost ten years at this point, and the styles have changed and mutated over time. This client was always very open minded and I was allowed a lot of freedom to experiment. Eventually we sort of settled on this particular style as being a good compromise between stylistic and time constraint issues. The pay scale didn’t allow me to spent a great deal of time on each, but with this rather loose style I could usually fit in a lot of detail and humor and keep it fresh looking and fun. The most time consuming part of these projects were usually just the brainstorming sessions, coming up with a fresh approach to frequently repetitive or esoteric topics.
I also had a cartoon assignment this month for an evangelical magazine client. This rather strange one had something to do with ‘positive attitudes’. I didn’t care what the story was about, it was just fun to draw a creepy tentacled monster.

Also this month, I had a few more black and white cartoon assignments from my agent for a Michigan regional magazine (the camping and juggling illustrations pictured below).

Unusual Assignments

Newsday, Strang Publications, US Catholic

In this posting I’ve chosen a few of the more unusual stylistic experiments I played around with in March of ’01. I have been trying to develop a sort of ‘painterly’ style this year, but using ‘oil pastels’ instead of ‘oil brushes’, because at the time, the brushes sort of intimidated me. I’ve done very little oil painting in my life, and it is just as difficult to do well digitally, as it is to work in this medium with traditional materials. Anyhow, I continue to give it a try when clients are willing to let me try it.

The illustration at left was for an evangelical christian magazine. I don’t remember what the story was about, but I do remember using my wife as a model for this one (changed her a bit here and there, but she’s still recognizable). Nice colors, but I still seem to be leaning heavily on the purple, as I have all year long. Some darker colors would have certainly helped the contrast overall.

I also was given an assignment this month from a catholic magazine in which I suggested building a ‘mosaic’ using some of Painter’s tools built for that purpose. This was the first time I’d tried something like this, and I wasn’t real happy with the result (and consequently never went back to this technique again). Sometimes the experiments work, and other times they fall flat on their face.

Another experiment this month (again with oil pastels) was for my east coast newspaper client. This was a lot of fun, and came out quite nice, but it still looks as if I’ve got a lot yet to learn about working in this medium, especially in regard to use of color and contrasts.

Twin Towers

Legal Times, Newsday, WSJ

Another early attempt at the new President for an east coast newspaper client of mine. Still struggling with finding the likeness to this guy. I wouldn’t really hit my stride with George until I stumbled upon a funny web site that compares many of his facial expressions to identical photos of chimpanzees. Oddly enough, this really helped me nail this guy’s face, in future assignments.

A lot of bears this month for my national newspaper client. This was around the time of the bursting of the ‘tech market bubble’, and we were just entering the long period of ‘bear market’ illustrations (just based on my own illustrations, the ‘bear’ won out over the ‘bull’ for many years to come).

Also around this time, for the same client, I had the inevitable ‘tax preparation’ illustration (pictured above), and an illustration to the right featuring Uncle Sam, cds and bags of money (don’t remember this one too well, not sure what it was about).

The turtle illustration below was for the same client. The ‘BT’ on the shell had some significance (perhaps referring to a specific company in the article), but other than that, I remember little about the premise of this illustration.

The illustration of Uncle Sam above was for a jesuit magazine in March, and had something to do with President Bush’s new ‘faith based’ funding initiatives.

The illustration below was a caricature of Guiliani for an east coast newspaper client, and dealt with his legacy of ‘chasing all the undesirables out’ of NYC. I always get a little chill when I see the towers pop up unexpectedly in pre-9/11 images and in movies, and was surprised to see that I had drawn them 6 months prior to the attacks.

Another strange illustration that I completely forget the story behind, is the image above for an east coast legal newspaper. Something obviously to do with the Supreme Court (one of many ‘mini portraits’ I do of the court for this client over the years), but why they are bowing towards this scientist statue is beyond me.