28 Years with Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine

AHMM

This morning I finished up a fiction assignment for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. This was for a story about a robbery at a Catskills resort and involves a lot of old time jewish comedians. This magazine is currently my longest continuous client relationship, with my first assignment for them being in my first year of business, back in 1989. You can see other samples of my work with this magazine here at this link. I love working for them, as they are one of the last surviving ‘pulp fiction’ digests, and, for me, it feels like a romantic link to the past, to a long list of forgotten illustrators going back to earliest days of the pulps.

I’ve been diligently saving every issue that my work has appeared in, and I’ve got a nice stack of old AHMM magazines on my bookshelf, but I’ve misplaced some of the earliest years, and would love to get my hands on some old copies of this magazine from 1989-2003. So, if you should happen to read this, and have a box of old back issues in the attic, drop me a line, and perhaps we can work out a deal.

Martin Luther

Baker Book House

This was a book cover for a book on Martin Luther (he’s apparently having a big anniversary this coming year) for Baker. This is an early draft, the final version had some changes to the ‘crowd’ in the background. Below is the black and white version of the same art.

Starting Year 28

Green Prints

Been working on sketches for an upcoming book project, and paper dolls for an upcoming paper doll book over the past few weeks. The year has started out reasonably well (mostly thanks to holdover projects from the end of 2016), but the new work has been slow coming in so far. Some resolutions for the new year, going to try my hand at more personal work, and I’d like to get back to animation again, and as far as my ‘day to day’ work, I’m going to resolve to be a little ‘looser’ in my style (I sometimes feel as if I’m too stiff and ‘controlled’). These pieces here are a couple of story illustrations for GreenPrints. I’ll be working on a book cover illustration today and another project tomorrow, but then heading south to the Caribbean for a week to escape some of this winter weather.


2016 Year in Review

Year In Review

Aside from the dark cloud that started growing halfway through the year, and culminated in that nightmare on November 9, 2016 was not a complete disaster, with more highlights than downsides. As I start the new year, it is with more trepidation, uncertainty and fear than I’ve ever felt after any election year in my entire life. I’ve survived Republican presidents in the past (5 of them in fact), but never before have I had this feeling of riding on an out of control train barreling towards a cliff with a raving madman at the controls. Hopefully I am over-reacting.

Musically, it was probably my best year. My band, the Jukejoint Handmedowns, won their first WYCE ‘Jammie Award’ in February, winning the ‘Traditions’ award for their 2015 CD ‘Jukejoint Handmedowns Sing Songs of Death, Murder & the Afterlife’. The band feels tighter than it ever has, with several memorable performances this year, including our very first summer music festival appearance at the Buttermilk Jamboree. We signed on with a booking agent in September and are hoping that the coming year will see some interesting new opportunities come of this new relationship. We are also starting the recording process for our 4th CD, a collection of Michigan themed songs that we hope to release early summer of 2017. I continue to also play bass with the Kent Philharmonic Orchestra, challenging myself with classical music that is often way over my head, as well as playing bass with a few other groups. I’ve been finding this musical side of my life to be the most fulfilling, and I only wish it paid nearly as well as illustration. My friend Ted Bergin took a nice photo of me playing at our New Year’s Eve show, that I’m sharing here, and am hoping to get a signed and framed copy of this for my office.

My wife continues to work at a local travel agency as a graphic artist, and her job there offers her many opportunities for travel discounts, so we had several interesting vacations this past year. We shared a house on St. Croix with my Son and his girlfriend, my Brother, his wife, sister in law and a family friend for a week in January, and liked it so much that we are returning again (staying in a different part of the island) this coming January. We also went to Mexico in November with my Brother, his wife, sister in law and family friend, plus my Sister and her husband, and my wife took a trip to Ireland with a co-worker in February. My wife and I celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary this past December.

My son surprised us with some good news in October, with the announcement that he and his girlfriend have gotten engaged to be married, and we look forward to wedding bells sometime in 2018. He currently works as an Apartment Leasing Agent in Chicago, and still plays with his jazz combo ‘Bonzo Terks’ around the Chicago area.

Meanwhile, I continue to plug away at this illustration business. Still undergoing major changes in the industry. Magazine and Newspaper work has dried up to a mere trickle as compared to 5-6 years ago, and I find myself doing a lot more book publishing work. This was in fact a record year for me as far as ‘books published’. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 9-10 books where my work is either featured or appears on the cover were published this year alone, and I’ve got several titles already lined up for the coming year, that I’ve either just finished or are in the works. I’ve also tried something new with regards to my ‘self promotion’, signing up for a page in the Directory of Illustration last year, which will be coming out in January of this year, and I’m hoping will result in some new clients over the coming year. I’ve never tried advertising with the Directory before, so I’ll let you know next year how that worked out. I always dread this next task of picking out my ‘best work’ of the year, as I usually forget most of the work that has come over my desk in the last 12 months, and worry that I didn’t do anything worth revisiting. But here we go, looking back over the past year, here’s what I’m most proud of:

Who Were The Wright Brothers?

Penguin

Continuing with my ongoing plan to post all the illustrations from the ‘Who Was’ series, on a month by month basis. This was the third project that I worked on for Penguin Young Readers in 2013 (after the Laura Ingalls Wilder book, and the Lewis & Clark cover, but before I did the Lewis & Clark interiors). ‘Who Were the Wright Brothers?’ required approximately 80 illustrations of varying sizes for the interior of the book. I’ve posted a sampling of illustrations from this book in the past, but here is the entire collection. Next month I’ll be sharing the illustrations for “Where Was The Panama Canal”, which was a book that I worked on almost concurrently with this one.