Tis the season, and I had a few holiday themed projects fall onto the workbench this month. It was a hectic month, as we had planned a trip to the Bahamas for an extended weekend for our wedding anniversary, and with Xmas falling on a Monday this year, I had a few regular jobs that needed to be shuffled around, or done ahead of time. The above project was for the Wall Street Journal, a scene of Santa flying down toward the stock exchange. Not being overly familiar with the area and buildings around there, it was tricky finding the right reference materials to help sell the image. I had done something similar as an xmas card for another client the year before, so the whole santa/sleigh/reindeer iconography was something I was sort of familiar with. And, in a similar ‘zooming around’ theme, I had another small black and white spot for the weekend edition of the same newspaper around this time.
Even the semi-regular ‘health column’ gig took on a holiday flavor around this time, with an article about holiday flu season. My pitbull ‘Lady’ made a couple gratuitous appearances on a couple illustrations this month, both in the ‘flu season’ spot, and in a piece on New Year’s resolutions for Newsday. My wife was also good enough to pose for me on this one (and this time I actually ended up making the character look like her). (pictured below)
Another couple pieces for the same newspaper are pictured below. The first one was about investigating family histories, when one half of the family is basically a blank for one reason or another. Then I received another ‘tribute portrait’ around the holidays when President Gerry Ford passed away. I was pretty pleased with how that one turned out.
Another fiction piece for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. This one was about a pair of mysterious ‘hollywood’ millionaires, which had a sex change twist at the end, so I paid homage to a semi-well known photo of a favorite silent film actress to portray the ‘man’ in the story.
And finally, after doing a series of ‘saint portraits’ for America magazine over the past few months, the project culminated in a collage cover, both reusing one of the portraits, and adding a series of ‘present day’ scenarios to the mix. Collages are not a favorite subject of mine. I’m never happy with how things flow together and I’ll avoid them if I can. Not always able to though.
As both a combination xmas card and promotional mailer, worked up this homage to favorite giant creature movies with a giant rampaging santa terrorizing the populace. Kind of how I tend to feel every year as the xmas decorations seem to get set up earlier and earlier every passing season. Looking back on it now, it probably would have been more frightening had I made Santa with a big happy smile on his face instead of the evil grimace.
Experienced a little bit of lull in the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it didn’t help that we also took a short vacation around this time.
The above illustration was a same day rush job for Newsday. The subject was those two airline pilots who were being held hostage down in South America at the time. The simple solution worked well here, and for once I didn’t overwork it with a lot of extraneous background clutter. Also had another of my ‘health care’ column spots for the WSJ around this time, this one being about meat ‘freshness’ devices. The chance to draw a cut of meat doesn’t come around often, and I had a lot of fun with it.
An assignment for Barrons this month gave me a chance to pay homage to a favorite film image of W.C. Fields, as the topic of ‘playing it close to the vest’ came up. And another black and white spot illustration for the Wall Street Journal came through around this time as well, this one having to do with ‘how different stocks measure up’.
And as a change of pace, I also had a cartoonish illustration for an activities page for Highlights magazine. The reader is supposed to put the 6 scenes ‘in order’ based on clues in the drawings (for instance, you would purchase a hot dog before you ate it, and of course you would eat it before you threw the trash away, etc etc). A challenge to draw a couple characters over and over again, and keep them looking like the same person from scene to scene.
The above illustration was for the American Bar Association, and dealt with paralegals and some issues involving their certification woes from state to state. I remember using my wife to pose for reference for this one. This was another of those cases where the AD was very specific about what they wanted as far as layout and subject matter, right down to drawing a rough sketch for me to work from. Remembered thinking at the time that this would make good stock art in the future, as all you would have to do is replace the information on the card.
Then one more rush job for the Journal, this one undoubtably about oil cartels or something of that nature.