April Newspaper Showers

ChronicleHE, Innovision, Legal Times, Newsday

About six months since the changeover to digital at this point. My goal when I made the switch was to keep my biggest selling styles largely unchanged, so as not to scare away long established clients. It quickly became apparent that clients were preferring the new direction for reasons completely unrelated to style. The fact that art was able to be sent as email attachments, eliminating the costly and time consuming step of ‘scanning’ the original art was one of these reasons. Sending rough sketches was streamlined as well, eliminating the fax machine almost overnight. Faster turnaround, and cleaner looking artwork. I could also do things like the illustration above, including actual cover images to the three magazines in the article and incorporate them seamlessly into the image (if done a year previously, I would have had to either include pasted on photocopies, or hand draw the covers and lettering, or left them blank for the art director to drop in). The above illustration was for the Chronicle of Higher Education in April, for a story about ‘small magazines’. Below is another for the same client, this one regarding SAT scores and judge’s rulings (another one where I was able to incorporate found imagery into the illustration).

Legal Times was another long time user of my traditional scratchboards for many years, who in fact went months without realizing I had changed the way I was working (they thought I had bought a scanner and was somehow ‘digitizing’ the artwork for ease of shipment. This ‘polygraph’ illustration to the left was one of the assignments I had for this client in April.

For me, the benefits of this new method of working were obvious and almost immediate. The simple fact of the ‘undo’ button changed my work immensely. No longer was I tied to goofs and errors or a ‘bad line’. No longer did I have that tedious step of transferring sketches to the scratchboard in order to render them. No more clouds of scratchboard dust clogging my office and lungs. I had so many more options now for adding color to my scratchboard drawings, eliminating the problem I had been struggling with for years of adding watercolor dyes to the scratchboard, only to have the colors muddy up thanks to the everpresent scratchboard dust (or bleed into board that has been ‘scratched too vigorously’. I felt my images had improved by a factor of 10 almost overnight, and there was no turning back. The only resistance I ever encountered was from fellow illustrators who bemoaned the ‘loss of the tactile’, or that I was somehow ‘going over to the dark side’. Most of them were ill informed and had a pre-conceived notion of ‘computer art’ as something resembling airbrushed looking video game characters, and they would shake their head and turn away like the religious encountering one who has ‘fallen from the faith’.

Above and below are a few more illustrations for Legal Times. Most of the caricatures of Bill Clinton that I had were for this client, but they are hard to classify as ‘caricatures’ per se. They usually involved a smaller figure like the one above, involved in some sort of activity, so there really wasn’t much room for capturing a detailed likeness. I tended to simplify him into a recognizable symbolic representation. The ‘gun control’ illustration below was another assignment from this same client.

The above illustration was a first assignment from Critical Care Nurse magazine (Innovision) who would eventually keep me pretty busy over the next few years.

I also had another assignment for the National Business Employment Weekly this month (pictured below).

I had a few assignments this month from another long time client who actually started using me a lot more since I made the switch to working digitally. Newsday used to have me send photocopies via the fax machine for their finished printable art (I tried to photocopy it much larger than the finished size so that it reproduced as good as possible under those conditions, but even so, I shudder to think what the repro quality looked like for years). The ease and speed of this new method made working on their ‘same day’ assignments much more expedient and painless. The above ‘smoking/children’ illustration was one of those ‘same day’ jobs during April, as well as the ‘drunk driving test’ illustration pictured below.

Below is another assignment this month for Legal Times. I don’t remember the story behind this one, other than it features that old cliche standby the “fat cat tycoon”.