Continuing with my salute to the Presidents (with President’s Day falling on Monday of this week), I’ve dug up all the presidential illustrations I’ve done in my nearly thirty year career. The more obscure early presidents from John Quincy Adams through James Buchanan are mostly culled from a few projects from about ten years ago, a collection of caricature portraits for a Dover Sticker Book, and a series of woodcut illustrations for a set of Uncle Goose Presidential Blocks (I’ll have to share a photo I have of former President Clinton holding a set of these blocks in a future posting). Once we get to Lincoln, I have several illustrations to dig out of the archives, and scrolling down we also find an extra James Madison and George Washington that I had forgotten about (dating back to around 2002).
In honor of President’s Day (which fell on Monday of this week), I’ve collected every illustration that I could find in my archives in which I’ve portrayed George Washington. 3 of the most recent illustrations are from the ‘What Was the Constitution?’ book which I just completed a few months ago, and the others are from various sources, including the Uncle Goose President Blocks (upper left), Dover Presidential Sticker Book (2nd clockwise from the top), a few early Cobblestone illustrations (more or less center), an illustration from the Miami Herald (bottom left) and a cover illustration for Barnes and Noble (bottom right).
And then, since I found an extra ‘George Washington’ that I did for the Wall Street Journal (the dollar bill portrait with the black eye), I’ve collected all the 2nd and 3rd Presidential portraits that I have in my archives. Again, some from the Presidential Sticker Book from Dover, and from the Uncle Goose Presidential Blocks, plus some others from various sources. Below are the portraits I did of Madison (many from the same ‘Constitution book’ that I recently completed), and the only two times that I’ve drawn James Monroe. The remaining presidents I have on file are rather hit or miss, but I may continue with this series at a future date.
And I almost forgot the paper dolls that I had done just last year for a book on Alexander Hamilton, so here’s Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison one more time.
This assignment above is for an upcoming issue of Ask magazine on pirates. The inspiration for this particular illustration was an image that I had done almost two years ago for a book cover (original pictured to the right), but with some changes to fit their needs. This was one of my favorite images of the past few years, and it interesting to try and recreate some of what I had done back then, and try to improve on the image if possible. Tried some slightly different colorings and techniques, and used myself as a model for the pirate. A fun assignment, surprisingly, and gets me in the correct frame of mind for a series of ‘Treasure Island’ illustrations I’ll be working on over the next few weeks.
Also, on Friday, I had a quick turnaround assignment for the Wall Street Journal. Some hopeful signs for the economy, but I don’t think I’m done drawing bears just yet.
After we returned from our ‘disc golf tour of Wisconsin’ during the second week of August, we had planned on taking a few days at home and then spending the rest of the following week on our boat on Lake Michigan, but weather conspired against us, and we ended up staying home for most of the week, and doing a few short daysails when the weather cleared. Plenty of work was waiting for me when I got back. A set of 4 illustrations for Cricket magazine about whaling in New Zealand and an interesting human/killer whale cooperation that took place there for a time. This is a client that I’ve been working for since my first year in business (back in ’89), although the original AD has moved on during the past year, and the new AD seems to have me pegged as the ‘historical nautical’ specialist. I’ve included only one of the four illustrations (above), as they are unusual shapes that spread across two page spreads, and this one I’ve chosen is probably the best of the lot.
The Wall Street Journal (and affiliated publications) took up the lion’s share of the rest of the workload over the following few weeks. My bi-monthly ‘health column’ (pictured left) regarding some sort of herbal remedy for night sweats. Then a ‘chart accompaniment’ illustration in black and white later in the week. (pictured below right) Something to do with the market gyrations, ups and downs, etc. And then there was also a piece on ‘bullies’, which I don’t quite remember what the story angle was, that was also for the same paper at a different time of the week.
And, for Barrons, who I’ve been doing more and more work for lately, I had an assignment that I had the good fortune to convert from a single illustration to an additional spot thanks to the client enjoying both of my sketch ideas. The story was about some banking scandal where the institution didn’t have the requisite funds in the vault (or something like that). The larger spot is pictured below and the smaller spot is below that to the left. (one of them ended up being used on the contents page as a ‘teaser’)
And, then, in addition to all the ‘financial’ subject matter, I had an assignment the Chronicle of Higher Education, who wanted an illustration to accompany a story about study programs abroad, and the government’s interference with them (or at least that’s how I remember the story – memory is a bit fuzzy on this one). I liked how this one turned out. I usually have trouble with ‘shoes’, but these turned out quite nice. I especially like the background shading that I used, I tend to go a little too light on the backgrounds, perhaps that is why I always feel like ‘color’ tends to diffuse the power of the scratchboard medium. Maybe I’m just being too wimpy with it.
Also had a quick spot for one of Niche Media’s regional publications regarding tongue in cheek etiquette advice for fine dining, more specifically, not fighting over the bread plate. Did this one in a bit more of a ‘cartoonish’ style, something I used to do a lot more of, but has fallen by the wayside of late.
Around this time I also had a same day illustration for Newsday (pictured below). Something to do with sluggishly slow progress on urban development projects in the area.
This month I had a book project for Cobblestone Publishing, a client that I’d been doing magazine work for over the previous 2 years. This was a collection of Native American myths, legends and stories, and I was one of three ‘scratchboard’ artists assigned to different sections of the book. My illustrations take up the middle third of the volume, mostly concerned with Native American folklore and tribal history, and constituted about 25-30 illustrations. This book is still available on Amazon (link here) and was the winner of the 1995 Book Builder’s of Boston Award for Excellence in Graphic Arts.
A few of the originals still survive (the frog, the wolf, the buffalo stampede), and others were scanned from a copy of the book in my collection. If I remember correctly, the image of the ‘globe’ below (with animals marching around it) was reused by the client for xmas cards later in the year.
When I first wrote this blog post, around 2009, I shared only a few samples from the book, but I am updating the posting in 2018 and sharing each and every one of the illustrations for the first time since publication.