Taking Risks and Playing it Safe

Carus Publishing, Newsday, US Catholic

The piece above was for US Catholic magazine. This was a rather large two page spread, a memoir of a family member returning to the family farm after a father has passed away in order to sell it (if I remember correctly). This was quite close to the situation my Father and his siblings faced back in the 60s when my Grandfather passed away, so it was a fun project with a bit of personal connection for me. I took a risk and worked in almost an ‘oils’ feel (actually using ‘oil pastels’ from my digital toolbox, as the ‘oil paints’ tools were unfamiliar and a bit intimidating still even though I’ve been using this program for nearly 7 years at this point). I was quite pleased with how this one turned out. the large expanse of sky was supposed to be open for the text to overlay, and the tractor/house and barn in the background would surround the lower part of the text block.

Another assignment for the same client is below, and was much less of a stretch for me. The article dealt with different faiths and their influence on the voting process. At the time I was heavily immersed in an ongoing ‘bible stories’ project, and was really sick to death of drawing people in robes, so I probably approached this assignment with a heavy sigh of resignation.

A couple of cartoonish assignments rounded out the month, with a puzzle page piece for Oddysey (Cobblestone’s ‘science’ publication) (above), something to do with one of those ‘volcano science projects’, and a piece below for Newsday, a lifestyle article about ‘getting on the soapbox’. The boy above is obviously influenced by my own son and his usual mode of dress around this time (although he had abandoned the ‘baseball cap’ the previous summer). The girl is wearing a pair of those colorful ‘pajama bottoms’ which seemed to be popular dress for girls at the time.

Around this time I also was handed an assignment for Cricket magazine. I was starting to become known as the ‘go to’ guy for historical and period illustration at this publication. This was a challenging piece that took a bit of research, dealing with a famous ‘terrorist’ attack in New York in the late 19th century on the Barnum museum. I like drawing horses, but they are challenging and difficult to get right, and the busy ‘fire scene’ on the inside page illustration (right) was a logistical puzzle. What should have been a difficult and tiresome illustration actually ended up being a lot of fun and I was quite pleased with the end result.

Around this time, in early January, I returned home to live and work, after having spent the past 6 months living in South Haven Michigan, caring for my father who was undergoing chemotherapy for Multiple Myeloma, and was severely limited in his mobility. I’m pleased to report that he made a nice recovery and has managed to keep in remission and gain back much of his health and self reliance for the time being (this being written in Dec of ’07), and we’re keeping our fingers crossed for the future that this particular cancer finds improvements in treatment and care.