A little early for ‘Throwback Thursday’ this week. But I stumbled upon this piece of art while looking through my old promotional mailers, and couldn’t wait to post it. This is the only surviving piece of art from my years at the Kendall School of Design (Fall 1980-Spring 1982). As I recall, it was an assignment from an illustration class on ‘contour line art’.
Well, day one of my scheduled Jury Duty, and it being Martin Luther King Day, I don’t have to report. Instead I finished up an illustration for the Common Reader this morning, and am about to send it on its merry way. I like how this one turned out.
That time of year again, and I’ve been working on wiccan illustrations for Llewellyn’s annual ‘Witches Companion’ book. This year they went with 6 full page illustrations instead of the “mix n match” sizes of previous years.
Upon reaching my 30th year in business, I’ve been spending some time over the past month, looking back at my work and how it has evolved over the years. One thing I’ve noticed about the scratchboards, is that they started out rather crude and loose, and when I went digital, I started getting tighter and tighter with the style and the realism to the point where I think I started to lose some of the life and vitality that my earliest samples had. So I’ve been trying to make a concerted effort lately to ‘loosen up’ a bit with my style, and you can see a bit of that working in this set of illustrations.
In addition to the Llewellyn witches this week, I also had some work for GreenPrints (a gardening journal I’ve been doing work for since 2012). These are pictured below.
More work planned this weekend, which I hope to share early next week, and then I’ll be heading downtown for Jury Duty (hard to tell how much time this will eat up).
Seems like just yesterday I was celebrating the my 50th birthday, and now here I am suddenly facing down my 57th. Been a slow start to 2019 so far, but I have a few big projects that I’ll soon be starting on (hopefully next week), and in the meanwhile I have been doing a few quick turnaround pieces (above for Delaware Today, below for Hudson Valley), and I’ve been working through a series of 8 full page scratchboard interiors for Llewellyn’s “Witches Companion” for this year (I’ll share these next week when I’ve got them all completed).
Well, I made it. Officially thirty years now since I began freelancing in 1989. (technically, I didn’t leave my job and start working for home until March or April of 1989, but I had begun sending out cartoon submissions earlier in the year, so close enough). I have no plans to retire anytime soon, so onward to 40 years, or as long as I can keep this up.
2018 was a little better than 2017. The book publishing industry still seems to be where I am finding most of my work these days, and I’m finding myself more comfortable at the pace and working requirements that this sort of work entails. 3 Penguin books (on ‘Area 51’, ‘Hollywood’ and the ‘Vietnam War’), as well as 3 MacMillan projects (the ‘Epic Fails’ series), a children’s adaptation of ‘Peter Cottontail’ for Skyhorse, and one that I was particularly excited about working on – a book on the Watergate Scandal (also for MacMillan). The ‘Western Screen Legends’ book that I was excited about last January, still hasn’t been published, but I expect that to hit the shelves next month. Things move much slower in the Book Publishing World, and I am trying to adjust.
One more big development that I was first approached about in May of 2018, was the possibility of working on my first ‘Graphic Novel’. Doing comics has been an ambition of mine since leaving college back in 1982, and I am super excited by this possibility. I did several pages of ‘samples’ over the summer, and there has been a lot of back and forth with the publisher (and the author, this being an adaptation of an existing work), and I was offered a contract near the end of the year, and will likely be starting work on this project in the very near future. This will be the biggest project I have ever tackled and am looking forward to the challenge. More on this later.
Other big developments in 2018, on the personal front; My son Keenan got married in August to a wonderful girl named Lydia (another artist in the family, which is nice). We sold our boat (which has been a bit of an albatross around our necks for the last few years), but we still have plans to charter sail when our schedules permit. We had a few unexpected hospitalizations earlier in the year, but are feeling better now, thank you. Me and the wife celebrated our 35th anniversary in December, and took a trip to Ireland with a couple friends in October. And thanks to my sister, we have gotten back into hiking, and have made plans to tackle a rather large hiking trip in the summer of 2019 (wish us luck).
Oh, and almost forgot to mention the band. Our 8th year playing together, we had a nice ‘residency’ this past year and a half at a local restaurant, and while having a nice steady monthly gig that paid well, and grew a nice audience of new fans over a period of time, the downside was that we got kind of lazy in seeking out other gigs (since we only play out twice a month). Our hope is to play a few more summer festivals this coming year, and get to work on our 5th album (and perhaps a few EPs as well – thinking of a ‘cover album’ and a ‘christmas album’, as long as we are in the ‘recording mode’).
Anyhow, here’s what I consider my best work of 2018 (not counting images I have not yet shared on this blog, due to books not yet seeing publication):
Approximately 510 illustrations done in 2018, bringing the grand total to 15,830 since I started in 1989.