One of my color scratchboard assignments this month allowed me the chance to draw not one, but two presidents in the same illustration. I forget the gist of the story, but it seems to me that the president mentioned somewhere that he was reading this particular book. This was for an east coast legal newspaper.
For many years, I’ve done a fair amount of work for a children’s version of a large national magazine, which eventually went out of business. This trio of ‘computer laptop’ spots was the last assignment I would receive from this client, this one actually for the ‘grown up’ version of the magazine. A lot of fun assignments came from this client, and I was sorry to see them go.
The above illustration was another for the legal newspaper, and concerned ‘military tribunals’.
The illustration below, was for an educational publication. The figure is supposed to look like she is getting ready to pole vault over the college gates, but I don’t think I pulled it off.
The illustration below was for my east coast newspaper client, and was a caricature of the governor of NY. I’ve done this guy a couple times in the past, and he is always a tricky subject. This is probably my best likeness, but I wasn’t crazy about the colors that I chose for his outfit. (again with the purple – what is it with my use of purple around this time? I seemed to use it for everything)
The illustration at left was another piece for the educational publication. I don’t remember much about the story, except that it had something to do with Harvard, so I needed to do a little research on their cap and gown designs.
The ‘tsunami parody’ illustration above was for a special ‘automobile supplement’ for my east coast newspaper client. I’ve done these ‘auto’ covers for a couple years in a row, and it has been nice the way the editors let me try out different styles for these things. I enjoy doing parodies of famous works, it gives me a chance to study in detail a style completely different from my own, and I usually come away with some new ideas and approaches to my normal way of doing things.
My catholic magazine client handed me a full page story illustration this month, and I chose to finish this one in pastels. I used to work quite a bit in pastels back in my early years, but gave it up as being too difficult to ship to clients, and protect the fragile surface. Also the pastel dust flying around my office wasn’t all that great for my health. I’ve done a few experiments in working pastels digitally over the years, but it hasn’t quite caught on as a regular style yet. Too bad, as these usually come out quite nice.
Another story piece for an east coast newspaper client, also done in pastels this month is pictured to the right (I don’t quite remember the gist of either of these particular stories that I was illustrating).
I had another map assignment for one of my children’s geography magazines this month. This was a fun one, with many rivers and mountains to draw.
The above cartoon was for a christian parenting magazine. I don’t quite remember the story behind this, but I think that the child is somehow misinterpreting an explanation being offered by his parent.
I also had a series of small spots for my east coast newspaper client in January, again in the cartoon style. These were for an article about different embarassing situations involving kids.
I also had a cartoon style illustration this month for one of my children’s magazine clients. This was a rather straightforward piece about kids looking at the stars. Looking back at this one today, I would probably handle the sky a little differently, darker perhaps, or even gradiated color from black at the top, to dark blue at the bottom. The thing that strikes me about my color palatte during this time, was how wimpy I was in regards to going ‘full black’, and I also seem to use way too much purple.
The above cartoon (again, with the purple background color – sheesh), was for a catholic magazine in January, for an article regarding the obesity epidemic in our country, especially among children.
My very first assignment for a new corporate client came in this month. This would prove to be a nice working relationship for some time to come, with regular quarterly gigs for an investment newsletter. They became aware of my work through the spots that I was doing for my national newspaper client, and this first assignment is rather reminiscent of the sort of work that they saw me do in the newspaper.
Most of the rest of the black and white scratchboard work this month was for that same newspaper client. I’d been working for this client pretty steady for the past few years, and a majority of the work around this time was in black and white. In later years, more and more color work for this client would creep in.
The black and white pieces for this newspaper client in January were: The ‘airline merger’ illustration above, the ‘bear wearing a ‘bull hat” illustration to the left, the ‘hospital care’ illustration above, the ‘new years’ illustration to the right, and the ‘computer ancient scroll’ illustration below.
I also had an assignment from an infrequent client (maybe one or two assignments in the past 3 years), and I don’t quite remember what the story was about, but the layout was rather strange, because it needed to spread across a two page spread with the type wrapping around the white space. I don’t remember if the characters were supposed to be somebody in particular, anyhow, I don’t recognize anybody.
I don’t remember much about 2001 aside from (obviously) 9/11 (an event which would color the rest of the decade in many ways). A lot of the same clients, with the occasional break in the monotony (this year there was a big summer assignment for a golf event involving Gary Player), and increasing amounts of work from WSJ, Cobblestone and Instructional Fair.
My son would have been around 12 years old, and still played baseball in the spring, and soccer in the fall. I was involved in Little League in a minor capacity as assistant coach, and we may still have been taking ‘backpacking trips’ in the summer, before the discomfort of sleeping on the ground and hiking 20 miles a day got to be too much for my nearly 40 year old bones.
I’d been playing guitar since I got out of college, but never all that seriously, but it was around this time that I started getting the itch to take music a little more seriously (perhaps it was the fact that we had started Keenan on piano lessons). I purchased both an upright bass and a cello on ebay, and started taking cello lessons around this time, through which, I also started meeting other ‘adult music hobbyists’ which led to more interesting developments in later years.
Business-wise, this year was slightly down from the year before, but the years since I went digital continue to be a major improvement from the first seven years of freelancing. I did 1,189 illustrations in 2001 (about two hundred less than the previous year), bringing the grand total up to 8,554.
So, anyways, here are what I consider my best illustrations of the year for 2001: