Those Crazy Kids

Carus Publishing, ChronicleHE, Highlights, Westchester Magazine

In November, I had a nice opportunity to provide the wrap around cover for Cricket magazine. This client has been providing me work since my very first year in business back in 1989, and this is the second cover illustration I’d done for them since that time. This one turned out much nicer than the first, I’m happy to say. The overall theme of the magazine was given to me as “music and butterflies” and it was up to me to come up with a cover (I could do one or the other, or as I chose to do, both). Since I was active with an amateur cello quartet around this time, I used that as inspiration, and our local botanical garden here in Grand Rapids has a ‘butterfly event’ every spring, so I imagined a concert given in an indoor garden, with a sprinkling of ‘musically inspired’ butterfly designs hovering in the air. The illustration to the left, was for the inside contents page, as a tie in to the cover design. (I almost liked the small spot better than the more busy spread on the outside). (the original for the cover measures approx 17 x 10)

This was certainly the month for oddball children’s assignments. I also had a quartet of spot illustrations for Highlights, on a variety of subjects. The piece to the right was about ‘studying bugs’, and there was another one about the ‘milky way’ (pictured below left)>

Then, in addition to these spots, I also had a couple of awkward ones for the same client, one of them having to do with US states along the mexican border, somehow woven into a decoration on a sombrero. And then a ‘hidden picture’ spot, in which I was to hide a drawing of the Mayflower in a bouquet of flowers. This one was tricky. I’ve never been much good at these ‘hidden picture’ assignments, I’m never sure how much ‘hidden’ is ‘hidden’ enough for the age group that I’m drawing for. You don’t want to treat the kids like idiots, but then again, you don’t want to make it impossible to find, either. (both pictured below)

My son turned 16 years old this month, so in honor, I worked up this illustration to go on a birthday party invitation. A homage (and apologies to) Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth, whose wonderfully demented ‘hot rod’ cartoons I grew up admiring as a child, was the inspiration for this ‘monster version’ of my son driving his ‘dream car’.

My son also turned up in an illustration this month for the Chronicle of Higher Education (in his trademark hoodie pullover and mussy hair). This was to accompany an article about making voting and political issues more appealing to high school kids.

And although it may look like an illustration for the same client, this one below was actually for a new client during November, Westchester Magazine.

A Thanksgiving Bounty of Financial Spots

Barrons, WSJ

A busier November than usual this year, thanks to a generous helping of assignments from two of my regular financial clients. The piece above was for Barrons, and concerned the ongoing attempts to ‘fix’ Social Security.

The piece to the left was no doubt an illustration depicting the ‘bull market’s attempts to push the holiday season ever earlier in order to make up for a lackluster retail year. This one was for the Wall Street Journal.

The spot to the right was for the same client, and was probably having something to do with the global ‘food’ market. One of earliest times I believe that I used this technique in portraying the globe like this (with the curved parallel lines).

For the same client, a quick black and white illustration to accompany a chart in the Sunday edition. This was no doubt bad news for investors at the time (storm clouds gathering, prepare for the worst, etc etc)

The above illustration was another one for Barrons. I don’t quite remember the slant on this article, but I ended up with a nice little illustration in the bargain.

The illustration to the right was another for the same publication, another one I don’t quite remember the slant on. If I had to guess, it was something about bad stocks (‘dogs’) that unexpectedly bounce back when you are about to dump them??

The piece to the left was another for the Journal, something to do with the stock market, but other than that, I don’t remember. Looking at it now, I should have taken a closer look at the perspective of that letter that is lying down. It looks a little awkward. (nice colors though)

Another spot for the same publication at a different time of the month; this one having to do with keeping your calm in the office meeting environment when others aren’t. I thought I did a nice job of fitting a crowded scene into a tiny little package without it looking too busy.

The next spot, for the same client, had to do with British investors putting their money in European stocks. A rather awkward concept, provided by the editors, but I did the best I could with it. I never like using ‘text’ to explain something in an illo (‘investment money’ on the briefcase, in case the viewer is confused) Some nice eye popping colors on this one.

Then I had my regular ‘health care’ spot illustrations that come every couple of weeks. These two, were presumably about ‘children’s ear care’ and ‘laser surgery’. I have to say, this is one of my favorite ears that I’ve ever drawn.

Investment Client

AG Edwards

Throughout 2005, I did a great deal of work for AG Edwards, both for a quarterly investor’s newsletter, and for several in-house advertising projects. The nature of the agreement I had with them was for a 5 year unlimited usage, so, up to now, I’ve been waiting until the 5 years are up before posting these samples on my site. (I’m actually posting this one in 2010) But since the company is no longer in operation, I’ll be posting the remainder of the artwork for this client. Much of it is of an investment/money/savings subject matter, and in the last few years I started doing more and more with a ‘nest egg’ theme, since that was their current ‘marketing concept’.
Anyhow, the ones in this post were illustrations I did for them in 2005.

Saints and Sinners

America, Newsday, WSJ

Got assigned a series of ‘Saint’ portraits for America magazine in November. These would be used over a series of upcoming issues, and one of them would get recycled the following year for a cover illustration (and would then lead to another similar assignment from another religous publication the following year).

These were all a bit tricky, as there was very little in the way of reference material for these people, sometimes just another poorly rendered illustration from an old textbook.

Also, around this time I was assigned a small spot illustration for the Wall Street Journal, with two portraits of the Japanese prime minister Koizumi and Russia’s Putin regarding their upcoming trade talks. This was the second time I had to draw Putin since he’s been in charge over in Russia. I think I caught a better likeness of him this time. This was either the second or third time I’d drawn Koizumi.

Got a trio of same day assignments during the month of November from Newsday. The above portrait of Bill Clinton was a strange one. I did my usual rough sketch and sent it in for approval, which the editors liked and gave to the go-ahead to. I finished up the illustration, and when they received it, they felt it was somehow missing the ‘magic’ of the rough sketch, and so decided to publish the sketch instead. First and only time this particular situation ever happened to me. I no longer have the published sketch version, but I did save the unpublished finish (which, personally, I still liked better).

… and speaking of the Clintons, I also had an assignment for the same client, regarding the Senate race, in which a challenger was hoping to unseat Hillary in the NY elections. And, finally, back on the topic of ‘saints’, I also had a piece involving fire fighters (which I don’t quite remember the slant of the article, but I proposed a simple image of a resting fire fighter as a solution, which turned out rather nice and dignified).