Fiction Immersion

AHMM, America, Barrons, Carus Publishing, Far East Economic Review, Newsday, WSJ

A pair of illustrations to accompany a story about a flooded farm and the rescue of a trapped calf for Cricket magazine was the big highlight of the latter half of a rather slow November. I had a lot of fun working on this pair of illustrations, as I got a chance to draw what for me has always been a very challenging animal, the horse.
I’m not real familiar with horses, from a structural or familiarity standpoint, and they always require a lot of research and planning on my end whenever an assignment requires their portrayal. (another ‘horse’ assignment is to the right, that also came through around this time, this one a small rush job for the Wall Street Journal) The illustration above would be the opening splash illustration, and the one below would be a smaller spot further into the text on the 3rd page of the story.

And another fiction illustration for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, this one had to do with a murder investigation that involved a poisoning by rather obscure art materials, so my solution was a rather detailed and elaborate still life of an artists worktable.

Besides the two ‘fiction’ assignments, I also had the usual ‘health care’ column gig for the Journal that comes along every two weeks. This one on cholesterol screenings. And over the weekend, during this time, I also had a pair of portraits for the Far Eastern Economic Review in Hong Kong.
My memory isn’t real good regarding the subject matter of these two portraits. I think one of them was the female ruler of the Philippines President Arroyo (the sinking boat was something to do with keeping the market afloat perhaps?) (right), and I don’t quite remember who the other one portrait was of (pictured further below the ‘dove’ picture)

The ‘dove on a sword’ illustration above was for America magazine, that concerned the middle east peace process, if memory serves. I really liked how this one turned out, the white dove made a nice contrast with the dark blood encrusted sword, and some subtle blood splashes across the illustration kept it from becoming too static.

For a while now, I’ve been getting a series of assignments from time to time from Newsday whenever someone newsworthy passes on. This latest one was a personal essay about someone who considered the late Ed Bradley a good mentor, and rather than the usual straight on head shot portrait, I submitted a sketch of a view from behind of the ‘mentor relationship’, with only a hint of Mr. Bradley’s features as one of my concepts. This ended up being the one that was chosen by the AD. Not really sure I’d categorize it as a ‘portrait’, however it seemed to suit the article well.

And, finally, I had a pair of illustrations for Barrons. The first one was a rather strangely shaped illo that showed a small figure hauling a house up from the edge of a cliff (not pictured, as it doesn’t fit the page well, leaving a lot of white space around it, and not a particularly interesting illustration at that), and the other one regarded the wealthy taking advantage of tax breaks for making donations of personal effects. The AD wanted to make sure we understood how ‘wealthy’ the main character looked, so I sort of took a Thurston Howell the Third approach with the smoking jacket and ascot.

Investment Client

AG Edwards

For a period of about 5-6 years, I did a great deal of work for the investment firm AG Edwards, mostly for a quarterly investors newsletter, but also for several in-house advertising projects. When I originally contracted for this work, our agreement was for a 5 year unlimited usage, but since the company is actually no longer in business, I think it might be safe to post some of this work.
Anyhow, these are the illustrations I did for this company in 2006. Most of the work this year tended to feature the ‘nest egg’ concept, which was their current ‘corporate image’ in all their media ads. After a while, the ‘egg theme’ got to be a little constricting.

Hornet’s Nest

ChronicleHE, Newsday, WSJ

In early November, I received a cover assignment from the Chronicle of Higher Education, with an accompanying inside illustration on a rather controversial topic (which I didn’t realize was going to be so controversial at the time). The story was about Jewish Universities, and how certain guest speakers who held public opinions that were deemed anti-Israel were finding their speaking engagements cancelled at these venues. I was surprised to find myself the subject of a number of angry letters to the publication after this pair of illustrations appeared in print. The surprising thing was that the angry letters didn’t seem to be so much directed at the writer of the article, but at the art that accompanied it. To be perfectly honest, it rattled me quite a bit. I didn’t think that the art was any more inflamatory than the article, but it seemed to touch a rawer nerve for some reason. I guess what they say is true, a picture really is worth a thousand words. I became a little worried about my future prospects from this client, who I had been working for since the early 90s, but they were very nice about it, and I continued to receive steady work from them. This is really the first time in 18 years of working in this business that I’ve been involved in a situation like this, and it was a bit eye opening about the power of the image in some people’s eyes. The cover illustration appears above, and the inside illustration appears below.

Aside from the inflamatory message, and speaking only for the art, I was rather pleased with this pair of images. I liked the color scheme, for once (I often am disappointed with my efforts at large color images), and I was really happy with how the hair on the woman in the foreground turned out. Thanks to my wife, Terri for posing for the women in the picture, and I used myself for the men in the picture (changing features of course, since we needed a nice racial mix). As for the inside illustration. It seemed to not quite fit with the image on the cover (other than the ‘gag’ theme), I probably should have tried a little harder to tie the two together. But it seems to stand on its own fairly well.
Not much else came across the desk in early November. I had another ‘dubious health care’ column spot for the Wall Street Journal, this one on ‘alcohol’s benefits to pregnancy’. One of my more ‘goofy’ concepts for this regular feature, that I was surprised that the editors chose.

I also had a rather uninteresting same day assignment for Newsday. This one was more heavily art directed than most, where they provided the idea of what they wanted, and I was in the position of just ‘putting it to paper’ as they say. I found a way to make it interesting for myself, playing around with the curtains and the shading on the map.