Thanksgiving Rush

Barrons, ChronicleHE, Legal Times, Strategic Finance, WSJ

A week to go before we head down to the BVI for our 25th anniversary, and work has started to pick up a bit after a rather slow summer and fall. Several large projects will be keeping me busy over the Thanksgiving weekend as I try to clear out the docket. Taking vacations has never been easy as a freelancer, and with the uncertain economy I’m a bit leery of missing any work due to being in communicado.
The illustration above was for the Wall Street Journal last week. The original version is the one on the left, as I wanted to show the dark murky depths swallowing the figure near the bottom of the layout. However, the designer was worried about how it would print, so I revised it so that the solid blacks weren’t so pronounced. I’m torn as to which one I like better.
Also for the Journal earlier in the week, I had a quick rush job, an icon for a recurring feature on ‘books’. Not much direction was given, just something generic involving books and reading. I’ve posted both the color and black and white version below.

Also for the journal over the previous weekend, I had an illustration regarding ceo’s refusing bonuses during these tough times (but not necessarily the middle management).

During the past few weeks, I’ve begun hearing from a few clients who I hadn’t heard from in many years. The above map for Legal Times was the first assignment I’d done since 2005, and I also had a fun ‘icon’ assignment for Strategic Finance, who I hadn’t heard from since 2003. These were small (they will be printed approximately 1 x .5 inches) and will go with various topic headings in a ‘bulletin’ section. I’ve posted one of them at a greatly increased size, and a sampling of the rest of them at a size approximately double how they will appear in print (there were nine of these total).

There were also a few jobs for Barrons in the mix this past week. Most have been involving the economic woes of recent months. (above and below)

And, also this weekend, I had an interesting piece for the Chronicle of Higher Education, involving scientific research in the age of instant information dispersal.

And much more to come after the weekend, plus work lined up for when I get back from vacation. Nice being busy again.

Hit and Miss

Banking Journal, Newsday, Strategic Finance

A large full color piece for Newsday, that I chose to treat a bit more ‘realistically’ than usual, gave me a chance to work with a ‘faux oils’ technique that I’ve been toying with. I leaned heavily on reference materials for the statue, but used much more liberal color choices in the rendering than the reference material provided. I felt this piece turned out quite nice, and so I tried to apply the same techniques to another assignment for the same client later in the month. This one didn’t turn out quite so well. Looking back, I think it was because I used a much better range of colors above, going from solid blacks to solid whites which really helped the statue pop out of the background, and below I just seem to be using a lot of mid tones and what I end up with, although rendered nicely, is a muddy, flat image. (the piece above was for the upcoming’ emmy nominations, and the piece below was something about retirement)

The two pieces above and below, for the same client during this month, have a similar story. The above was a quick one day illustration, something about the 9/11 memorial. I thought I came up with a rather simple and clean concept, and rendered it well, using nice solid black areas to contrast with the white and offwhite areas of the grass and tarp. The piece below, a lifestyle section piece about siblings, was a longer deadline, and in color, and I thought the concept was weaker (I’ve done these sort of ‘back to back’ ideas before), and the colors, rather than enhancing the design and layout, actually served to muddy the whole thing up. Not exactly a bad illustration, but nothing particularly inspiring either. Some solid white areas, perhaps in the clothing, would have helped give this a bit more ‘umph’.

For the same client (busy month for them in September), I also had a piece on telecommunications developments, where how in the future, your television signal, internet and telephone service may one day all come from the same company. I chose to do this one in more of a ‘cartoon’ style, due to the subject matter (sticking a dog into the picture will usually dictate this), and I notice that I’ve included my old dog ‘Dinky’ in this one (he had passed away the previous spring). Another piece for a different magazine client below, also utilized the cartoon style, but with this one, I went into a bit more detail with the colors and shading.

I also had a few ‘oddball’ assignments from a pair of new clients this month. The caricature to the left was for the University of Missouri, but I’m afraid I don’t remember who the subject was, either an author, or someone who was involved with the University. I believe this was the second similar assignment I had done for this client. I also had a large full page illustration for Strategic Finance magazine, in which I remember using myself as a model, asking my wife to take a few snapshots in this unusual pose. Looking back on it, I really liked the layout, but I think I goofed up as far as color choices for the background ‘tent’ ceiling. (but I’m not sure what would have worked better, maybe something more muted would have helped the character pop out more).