Pushing the Outside of the Envelope

Barrons, ChronicleHE, Newsday, Smart Money

In July, I had a few opportunities to try and stretch myself as far as ‘style’ goes. I was given a cover assignment for the Chronicle of Higher Education, and I took a chance and tried out a completely different look. Using a mixture of mediums, colored pencils, watercolor washes and various paper textures and color layers, I came up with something quite special. I don’t quite remember what the topic of this illustration was, but I had a lot of fun with it. I was quite happy with how the sky and clouds turned out, and proud of myself for avoiding the usual color schemes that I find myself returning to again and again.

Barrons asked me to enlarge and improve upon an illustration that I had done for them the month before, for use as a cover illustration. I used the usual scratchboard technique for the ‘hand’, but then used a combination of airbrushing techniques and spatter paint to make the ‘black hole’ much more spectacular than in the original version.

Newsday handed me an assignment about the ‘Harry Potter’ book series, and how it is appealling to not only the kids, but to the parents as well. I thought it might be fun to finish this one up as if done by the artist that draws the book covers on the US editions. I enjoy the occassional ‘mimic’ job, as it gives me a chance to really study how other artists go about getting the effects that they do.

Also, in the middle of July, I got a pair of spot illustrations from a new client, Smart Money. These pair of spots, while using the same techniques that I’ve grown comfortable with over the years, were actually a marrying of two different styles. Scratchboard in technique, but more cartoonish in style and feeling, and a little less ‘busy’ than I usually work.

It was nice getting a chance to try something new this month, and it sure helps break up the monotony and routine. Not to mention the new tricks you pick up along the way that might come in handy later on down the road.

Lazy Illustrator Caught Red Handed!

America, Newsday, WSJ

A same day illustration assignment from Newsday gave me one of my favorite black and white pieces of the year. This one had something to do with DNA and unlocking the human genome.

I had a number of small spots sprinkled throughout the month, usually on a same day, or next day time schedule. For the same client as the DNA piece, I also had a piece on nuclear proliferation, giving me another chance to draw George (although it was a rather tiny likeness this time).

And nukes must’ve been in the news this month, as I also had a piece on this subject for America magazine (pictured below)

I also had a number of small spots for the Wall Street Journal. The piece to the right was something about ‘keeping your cool’ while under subpeona (must’ve been a few investors in court around this time).

I don’t quite remember what the topic was of the spot to the left, something to do with ‘Chinese bosses’ at US companies.

I also had another ‘health care spot’ for a regular column with the same client. I had been doing these on a weekly basis for the past few years, and at the end of June, I was informed that the weekly gig was now turning into a every-other-week gig. A little disappointing, I was really enjoying that nice cushion of work every monday for when times got slow. But oh well, you got to enjoy it while it lasts. Glad the column wasn’t cancelled completely, and I’m ever so grateful that they continue to use me in this capacity for such a long time.

I also had a black and white piece for the same client, probably for the Sunday edition as a ‘chart accompaniment’. This one presumably about charting your stock’s growth.

I had an interesting thing happen with the next spot illustration. This one was something to do with ‘chairs’ at the stock exchange. When I have to draw a crowd of people (in this case stockbrokers), I frequently jump over to Google and find some quick reference materials. I usually try to change the faces a bit so that I’m not infringing on anyone’s copyrights, but in this case, I must’ve stuck pretty close to the original, because the next day after the picture appeared in the paper, I got a call from a friend of one of the stockbrokers that I had picked out at random from a crowd scene in a photo I had found, recognizing his ‘boss’ at his brokerage firm (the guy on the cell phone in the bottom left corner). Thankfully, they were tickled and pleased to see their face end up in an illustration, rather than mad about it, and I sent them a signed digital print by way of thanks. Needless to say, I’m a bit more careful these days, and often just use my own face for reference if I need it, or make sure I change the reference material enough so that it isn’t recognizable.

The above two spots were also for the same client in the month of July, as was the text heavy illustration below.

Also this month, had a series of illustrations for AG Edwards, that I don’t include here in deference to our usage agreement. These are all financial in nature, and I may include them later on when enough time has passed for the agreement to have expired.