A couple of chances this month to experiment with some unusual styles. The Chronicle of Higher Education assigned me an illustration where one of the concepts that I proposed needed a reflection of a soldier in the shiny bill of a cap, and I didn’t think it would work well in the usual scratchboard. I tried something a little different, mixing watercolors and paints. Not bad looking, but I wasn’t completely happy with the end result.
A more successful experiment came at another time during the month, on an assignment for US Catholic. This would be a two part illustration about church parishes who are getting a new priest assigned to them, and would show the outside of the church in one scene, and the inside of the church from the other side of the page.
I used a mixture of watercolors and colored pencils, in almost a cartoonish style, and though it was rather sketchy in places, I was much happier with the final product. Anyways, it was fun to break out of the usual scratchboard rut and stretch my ‘drawing legs’ a bit.
Back on more familiar ground, I had a fiction assignment for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Digest. This was an unusual murder mystery about a society of ‘Dickens impersonators’ who are getting bumped off one by one. Since it was a rather tongue in cheek story, I gave the illustration just a hint of comedy, and it was fun doing all those Dickens portraits, in a sort of ‘classical style’, while giving the background a bit of a different technique than I usually do. Turned out quite nice.
With a new chief justice confirmed, I found myself with a daily assignment for Newsday about the confirmation hearings. Rather a difficult face to capture, but I think I nailed it pretty well.
And speaking of difficult faces to capture; for the same client I had another assignment featuring NY gov Pataki, who I have been assigned a few times before, and seem to have a difficult time with each and every illustration. Something about this guy’s face, but he seems to look different in reference photos depending on what angle they shoot him, or whether he is smiling or frowning. Anyhow, something about his face gives me trouble. (I don’t remember who the other guy was in this illustration, but I’m sure he was someone important in NY politics)
Another piece for the same client, involved orphans and something to do with their image as seen in popular culture. Gave me another chance to sneak in my dog ‘Lady’, who pops up a few times this month.
Another black and white rush job this month came from the Wall Street Journal, this being one of the earliest inklings of the coming ‘burst housing bubble’ that would make bigger news splashes in the coming years. Did a little collage technique with the ‘house’ in the balloon, manipulating a found photo, since I don’t draw architecture all too well.
An assignment for Barrons offered me the chance to work on a few of my least favorite subjects, airplanes and architecture. However, I kept the airplane to a rather simple shape sticking into the right side of the picture frame, and immersed myself into the detailing on the courtroom facade, and was surprised to find myself with a pretty nice illustration. One of those rare ones where I’m actually pleased with the layout and design over the actual rendering.
Another assignment for the same client is pictured below. This one was to picture an investor calm cool and collected despite the ‘rising flood waters’ around him. Gave me another chance to sneak my dog ‘Lady’ into the picture.
One thing I never do get tired of drawing, is old time sailing vessels. The Chronicle of Higher Education gave me the spot pictured to the left where I could work on my ‘water & boat’ skills. I don’t quite remember the angle of the story. I do like how the water turned out on this one. I continue to try different ‘water’ techniques, hoping to find one that is fairly expedient to draw, and at the same time looks realistic and fits the scratchboard style well.
Also, during the month of August, I had a trio of ‘health care’ spots for the Wall Street Journal(being a longer month than usual). There was a period in the early part of the month where I went through a major dry spell as far as new assignments, and I was grateful to still have these semi-monthly regular spot illos coming in to cushion the dry spells. The one to the right was about a new technique for getting rid of cellulite. The one below and to the left was some sort of skin cream for helping with middle aged women’s ‘flabby arm skin’.
The third spot of the month had to do with some new sort of ‘vibrating exercise machine’ if memory serves me correctly.
Also, for the same client, I had another small color spot, that had something to do with ‘brainwashing’, or at least that’s what I remember. I liked this illustration so well, that the following year, I recycled it as part of a postcard mailing promoting my ‘spot illustration’ skills.
And for the same client, I also had a spot illustrating a story about Japan’s Prime Minister hoping to rally his downturning economy. The likeness of the PM wasn’t entirely necessary, but I remember taking great pains to do a good portrait despite the tiny size of the illustration. Hoping to push my ‘portraiture skills’ to this client, as they probably don’t think of me in that capacity. While I still never get much portraiture assignments from this client, I would later do a number of them for an affiliated client overseas.
Another strange assignment for the same client this month, was the ‘border illustration’ that I did (pictured below) regarding the online spam email phenomenon known as ‘phishing’. An unusual awkward shape to work with on this one, but I thought I filled it well.