Spiders and Computers

America, ChronicleHE, Innovision, Legal Times, WSJ

Another west coast magazine assignment this month. These were usually one larger color piece for the cover, and accompanying smaller black and white spots for the inside on a similar theme. Theme this month on spiders (don’t remember why), but most of the smaller scenes seemed to have an ‘office’ feel to them. For the cover I broke from tradition a little bit, using more of an experimental mixed media approach, using watercolors, scratchboard linework, and airbrush techniques to better portray the spiders, which would have been rather dull in traditional scratchboard.

Besides the ‘spider on a computer’ illustration for the client above, I also had a few other ‘computer related’ pieces for my new national newspaper client this month. I had been gradually getting more and more work from this client, and was starting to enjoy the steady workload, and entertaining thoughts that I might have stumbled onto a pretty good thing, if I could keep them happy (so far so good, 8 years and counting – crossing my fingers).

The illustration to the left was something to do with computers controlling ‘on time delivery’ (if memory serves), and I don’t quite remember the story being the ‘galley slave’ computer boat pictured to the right. The illustration below was for the same client, and had something to do with the tech stock bubble bursting and investors losing money on all those computer start up companies.

The yo-yo illustration to the left was another for the same client this month (stock ups and downs more than likely the topic). Below is an illustration for a jesuit magazine client, probably showing the future of the church in the new millenium.

Below that is a rather strange illustration that I did for my east coast legal newspaper client. I dont’ remember the angle of the story exactly, but I do remember having to dress the little kids up in clothing depicting eras in the past.

Below that is a pair of ‘statue’ illustrations for my educational publication client in January. I don’t remember if they were for the same article or not, but it is likely that they were, based on the fact that I used a similar ‘grey wash’ style background for both of them.


If you are following this narrative backwards as I am doing as I dig deeper into the archives, we are about to enter a period where I had just begun using the computer for my illustration work. The transition was rather quick, actually. One day I was working on paper, and within a week, I had completely given it up and worked exclusively on the computer (including preliminary sketches). For the most part, I stuck to the traditional mediums that I was both known for, and was most familiar with. Many clients didn’t realize a change had taken place, and those that did embraced it whole heartedly, for reasons of turnaround time and ease of file transfer. Not to mention the fact that my work started looking a lot better (don’t underestimate the power of the ‘undo’ button). The only real resistance I’ve ever run across to the idea of computer illustration have been from fellow illustrators, usually those with a preconceived notion of what ‘computer art’ means. Over the previous two years we will notice a lot of experimentation as I try out new and different tools, and different ways of approaching the same old tired techniques.