Black and White Scratchboards (mostly)

Carus Publishing, ChronicleHE, Cobblestone, Innovision, Newsday, WSJ

Another series of illustrations for my west coast magazine client. This wasn’t one of my stronger efforts for this regular assignment. These regularly consisted of a single larger color image, with 3 or 4 smaller black and white accompanying pieces along a similar theme. The concept this month was in ‘giving a helping hand’, and I chose to portray a ‘helping hand’ given in what are usually solitary artistic pursuits (I know, the ‘ballet’ one was a stretch, and even the ‘singing’ one isn’t particularly apt). I was taking adult cello lessons at the time, which probably nudged me towards the opening image (but I really should have used better reference in the hands).

One of the better black and white scratchboard efforts I had this month, was for a children’s magazine client of mine. This was for one of their ‘teen’ poetry/prose digest magazines, and concerned a story about a stray dog and worker at an animal shelter that befriends him. (above and below) I thought the layouts on each of these spots was particularly good, and I used a nice mixture of solid blacks and white space, along with a mixture of tight rendering and loose expressiveness.

For my east coast newspaper client, I had this rather strange illustration depicting Leonard Nimoy in a pose reminiscent of one of the Laugh-In characters portrayed by Lilly Tomlin. Don’t ask me, I’m just the illustrator.

Below and to the right is one of three illustrations I did this month for my educational publication client this month (no, make that four, I had a color piece in another entry this month). This was something to do with an imaginary debate between the article’s author and Hobbes.

Additionally, I had a pair of ‘beaver’ illustrations for the same client. This was a mascot of a particular school mentioned in the article, and I don’t quite remember why he is taking a bite out of a mortarboard cap, or hitchhiking down the road.

In addition to these illustrations, I also had a series of 40 or so small black and white spots for another children’s workbook for a local book publisher. As a departure from my usual ‘cartoon’ approach to these projects (which I’ve done quite a few of in the past few years), I decided to try and do all these in scratchboard. It wasn’t quite as successful as the cartoon spots, and I wasn’t really happy with how a lot of them turned out, and consequently went back to the cartoon style for later books. One of these illustrations is pictured below by way of example (the tropic fish illustration)

And then I had the usual smattering of black and white spots for my national newspaper client. The above ‘snake oil salesman’ illustration was an unusual shape that had to wrap around a chart, and the illustration below was a piece on the ‘small bond market’. (ha ha get it? small bonds? the bond is small – get it?)

The illustration to the left probably had to do with ‘forecasting’ in some way or another (looking down the road ahead, etc), and I also had a slightly larger spot this month about the microsoft operating system, portraying the two systems as an old jalopy and a souped up sports car, with users crowding aboard the new version. Definitely not my best ‘cars’.
Below that, was another for the same client, something to do with talent going overseas. I’d been working for this newspaper client now for a little over six months, and they’ve been keeping me pretty busy with steady work, but looking back at some of these early assignments, I’m amazed at how primitive they look to me now, and am very grateful that this client stuck with me long enough for me to work the kinks out of my drawing style.