The above illustration and the two below were actually some of the earliest assignments to come across the desk this month, but since this client wasn’t going to be publishing them until later, I held off on posting them at the time. These were all for Barrons, and dealt with tax law (above), dividends (below) and fears about biotech corn (below). I kind of went overboard with the ‘dramatic lighting’ in all three of these. Hopefully they weren’t placed side by side when they reached publication, like they are here.
Earlier this week, I had a quartet of small black and white spots for my the Chronicle of Higher Education. These all dealt with different ‘tax proposals’ made by different factions of the upcoming election. In order from left to right: consumption tax, tax cuts, tax incentives and ‘taxes & elections’.
This weekend I finished up the Suharto portrait for the Far East Economic Review in Hong Kong (it was pre-ordered when he first entered his sick bed the week prior, and then it looked like he was going to recover, but finally kicked it over the weekend).
Earlier in the month I also had an assignment from the Miami Herald, who I hadn’t heard from since the previous summer. This one was on ‘work perks’ like medical benefits and massages. The assignments for this client tend to be a little on the large side, and this used to indimidate me, but I think I’m starting to find an approach that works.
I had a portrait assignment earlier this month for the Los Angeles magazine for Niche Media. I don’t remember who this was exactly, other than a movie producer. Also this month was another ‘fiction’ illustration for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. This one was set in ancient Greece during a plague, and needed some research on costumes and ‘cemetery markers’ of the time.
I also continue to work on the ‘book assignment’ that has been on the workbench for the past two months. Apparently the release date has been set for the end of March, and my artwork will now grace the cover, after some back and forth with the publishers. More info when it gets closer to the release date.
The above book cover assignment was completed in late December for Barnes and Noble Publishing. This was the second assignment for this particular client, the first being a ‘pirate’ image that I did in scratchboard back in the fall. This illustration and my holiday postcard were the first two times that I’ve moved from using the ‘oil pastels’ to using the ‘oil brushes’ in my Painter software. I’d been a little intimidated by them in the past, but was determined to get over the learning curve with this project. This book and the other ‘pirate’ book should be published sometime this spring, and I’ll be sure to put a link up when I get it.
The above illustration was for the Chronicle of Higher Education earlier this week. The story was a humorous take on various literary stories, presented as ‘police blotter’ synopses, and the editor requested that I do a ‘hamlet’ scene along those lines. Been reading the ‘Big Book of Pulps’ anthology that my son got me for xmas this year, so this assignment fell right into place with my current mindset.
I’ve had a couple black and white scratchboard spots over the past few weeks from the Wall Street Journal. I got a fun phone call one weekend from my Father in Arizona, to inform me that he had seen one of my illustrations in their weekend newspaper, and it ended up being the ‘retirement’ illustration (pictured below) for this same client. Amazing to think that I just did that illustration the afternoon before, and here it is appearing in a newspaper the very next morning halfway across the country.
Also during the past few weeks, I’ve had a couple of my regular ‘health care column’ illustrations for the same client (these usually appear in Tuesday’s paper). One of them was on ‘ear candles’ (which, oddly enough, I actually tried about 5 years ago – it don’t work), and the one I did earlier this week was on ‘night sweats’ (which my wife is having problems with nowadays). I’ve done an ‘ear candle’ illustration once before, many years ago, in a cartoon style, and I recently went back and took a look at the earlier one just for comparison’s sake. They were both pretty similar in concept (a candle in each ear), but the earlier one I think was funnier, as the character was holding a fire extinguisher.
I had a couple of ‘hard news’ type illustrations recently. The black and white same day illustration below was for Newsday, and dealth with the election situation going on in Kenya (pictured below), and below that, for the Far Eastern Economic Review in Hong Kong, I had a piece on a mud flow situation that is going on in Indonesia (a story I was completely unaware of until I did some research for the story – it looks like quite a mess).
I have a few other illustrations to post, but I think I’ll wait on a few of them until later in the month, since I’m not sure if they’ve been published yet or not. I also continue to work on an interesting book project this month, which I should have some news regarding next month sometime (at the moment, we are still working out the details regarding the book cover).
2007 was a strange year for me. One of those ‘feast or famine’ schedules with more famine than feast on the menu, especially in the second half of the year. But looking at the big picture, I continue to improve my craft, and the work this year overall, has looked better than it ever has. I’ll be stepping up my postcard mailings this year to try and drum up some more clients, and I’ve launched this reprint blog in November in the hopes of pressing my back catalog into service.
New clients this year have included the Miami Herald, Dolan Media (for which I had a fun project of creating a ‘stock certificate header’ – a first for me), LA Weekly, Barnes & Noble Publishing, and the return of Llewellyn Publishing after an almost 10 year hiaitus.
After a year off of music, I started songwriting and recording again, and set myself a challenge during the summer to write a ‘song a day’, which managed to jump start my interest in this area in the upcoming few years.
2008 looks like it may be an interesting year, what with my son graduating high school in the spring and starting college in the fall, and this year also marks my 19th year in the illustration business, and I and my wife’s 25th wedding anniversary.
So, here are what I consider to be the best pieces I’ve done this year (click on the thumbnail to see the larger version).
224 illustrations this year (down by about a hundred, although the income didn’t go down all that much, thankfully), bringing the grand total, since 1989 up to 11,198.