2024 So Far

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My 35th year as a freelance illustrator. So far, I’ve mostly been working on a series of ‘fantasy’ illustrations for a D&D style card game (one of the 40 or so illustrations is pictured above).

I’m reformatting this blog to make it much easier to navigate and to eliminate a lot of the excess samples that I’ve previously posted, over concerns about AI and how it uses samples without permission to ‘school’ the algorithm. This may take a while, so bear with me.

I’ve launched a Patreon site for my daily webcomic, and regularly post samples of my illustration work there rather than on this blog. Membership can be purchased for as little as a dollar a month (and even free memberships are available, although limited in scope). I am still working as a freelance illustrator, although getting near retirement and a little pickier about what jobs I take on.

For the past two years, I’ve been doing a daily webcomic on Instagram, inspired by a recent book assignment (‘Who Was Charles Schulz?’), and wondering what it would feel like to draw a comic strip every single day. The link to my ‘Mose Goes Walkies’ page is in the menubar above. I’ve begun self publishing a few collections of my earliest comics, and they are also available on the same website.

I will be adding to this ‘2024’ post as new major assignments warrant, but this website will mostly be a portfolio site for the time being, with limited samples.

2023 Year in Review

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2023 was a strange year. It felt like I was working harder than at any time in my career, but with stagnating pay, and more of an emphasis on ‘larger book projects’ rather than ‘quick turnaround work’, my income has been steadily shrinking for the past decade.

This was the first complete year that I’ve been doing a free webcomic every day, and it may have contributed to the feeling that I’m ‘working harder for less’. However, I’m having more fun doing this ‘Mose Goes Walkies’ comic strip every day than anything else I’ve ever done. A highlight for the year was winning a ‘Festival of the Arts’ award for a comics story that I featured in March about our hike on the John Muir Trail back in 2019. (The book for this story is available on my ‘Mose’ website)

The workload this past year was mostly made up of publishing assignments. I did a coloring book of New York City landmarks (a sample of which is pictured above), a Fantasy Mixology book (sample pictured below), plus several ‘Who Was’ books for Penguin (see bibliography for further information, and one sample from “What Do We Know About Alien Abductions” is pictured at the bottom).

I also did a series of illustrations for an illustrated edition of ‘A Farewell to Arms’, which was a follow-up to my ‘The Sun Also Rises’ from the previous year. I also did what was probably my last series of ‘Witches Companion’ interiors early in the year (one sample of which is pictured below). This was a long running annual assignment that seems to have undergone some changes from the publisher, and now are using more reprints and less commissioned work.

2022 Year in Review

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This has been an interesting year for me. At the start of 2022, I was in a deep funk. I turned sixty in January. The past 6 years in this country have been mentally exhausting, just keeping up with all the madness on the news, and the Covid pandemic wreaked havoc with both my illustration career and with my musical side hustle. I’m still working on various book publishing projects, but the quicker turnaround clients have been drying up and blowing away for years, and this year was no different.

However, in April, in order to improve upon my weight and health (a troubling doctor’s visit in February convinced me), I began a walking regimen, which began to show positive results after a few months diligence. I wanted to put the same obsessive attitude towards my flagging enthusiasm towards work. For years I have been wanting to do more comics, so I made an additional goal of doing a daily strip, just to see what happens if I keep it up for a length of time. Perhaps I might improve at it just by daily repetition.

After several months of this routine, I began to see my enthusiasm begin to slowly return to my illustration career. I began to take a bit more interest in my assignments, and started applying new skills I learned doing the daily comic to my paying work. I end the year 2022 with an improved mental attitude towards my work, and an enthusiasm for comics that has been laying dormant for decades.

The major jobs this year were: A coloring book of ‘Literary Horror’ for Dover, a series of illustrations for the book “Saving Earth” for MacMillan (a sample pictured above), and the annual ‘Witches Companion’ for Llewellyn. I also spent a great deal of time working on a series of ‘Academy Award Caricture Posters’ (see the menubar for samples of this self promo assignment) as a way of keeping busy, but ended up abandoning it after doing about a decades worth. I also did several “Who Was” books for Penguin.

A disturbing trend towards a this new A.I. technology has given me pause with regards to posting so much of my work on the internet. I haven’t personally been impacted by this yet, but I can see how it could be a problem in the future as the technology improves. Which is why I am going to be making a few changes this year with regards to what I’m sharing on this blog. I’m thinking of expanding my Patreon site (the one I currently use for my comic strip “Mose Goes Walkies”), and adding a bit more of my illustration work (plus extras, like rough sketches, behind-the-scenes commentary, and time lapse videos). In fact, this week I’ll likely be posting my usual “year in review” samples on the Patreon site. We’ll see how this works.

The band is floundering on life support at the moment (we had a few gigs in the past year, added a new band member), but rethinking the music business is also a big priority.

Hope everyone had an interesting past year, and wishing you all the best in the coming year.