Throwback Thursday – A Pair of Children’s Books

Instructional Fair



In 1999, I had a pair of full color children’s book assignments for Instructional Fair. One was entitled “Mother Goose News”, and told various fairy tales in rhyme, as if presented by a newscaster, and the second book “Imagine That” was a hodgepodge of two unrelated fantasy stories told in rhyme. I got the impression that the purpose of the books was to introduce certain vocabulary words to a particular age group.

In the past, I’ve only shared a few sample illustrations from each book, but I have gone back and revised the original blog posts so that each book is now shown in its entirety. Click on the links below for the illustrations collections for each book.

Mother Goose News (sample illustration posted above)

Imagine That

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Instructional Fair Spots Part Two

Instructional Fair



Over the past few weeks, I’ve been digging through the archives and posting some heretofore unseen cartoon spot illustrations that I did for Instructional Fair back between 1998 and 2004. Most of these haven’t seen the light of day since publication, and I am sharing each set in their entirety. Click on the links below to see the collections for each book.

Teamwork Test Prep Teachers Guide Grade Five

Teamwork Test Prep Teachers Guide Grade Four

Teamwork Test Prep Teachers Guide Grade Three

Character Education

Building Writing Skills 2

Building Writing Skills 1

Genres of Literature

The above illustration is the cover art for ‘Genres of Literature’ from 2001, one of the rare few times I did color cover artwork for this publisher.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Instructional Fair Spots

Instructional Fair



This past week, I’ve been digging through the archives and have found a treasure trove of hundreds of black and white spot cartoons that I had done for Instructional Fair (Carson Dellosa) around 1998-2004. These were for children’s workbooks for the most part, and the topics and subject matter would vary widely. I’ve posted each book’s collection in its entirety for the first time since publication, and the links to each posting can be found below. (above is a sample page of spots from ‘Teamwork Test Prep Grade Three’).

Outdoor Science Classroom (2004)

Teamwork Test Prep Grade Eight (2004)

Spanish Vocabulary Poster Icons (2004)

Teamwork Test Prep Grade Seven (2004)

Teamwork Test Prep Grade Six (2004)

Teamwork Test Prep Grade Five (2004)

Teamwork Test Prep Grade Four (2004)

Teamwork Test Prep Grade Three (2004)

These projects were instrumental in developing my ‘cartoon style’ through sheer volume and quick deadlines during that period when I was making the transition from physical to digital illustration. I’ve still several years of art to dig up and collate, so stay tuned for next week when I’ll unveil another collection.

Outdoor Science Classroom

Instructional Fair

Around the turn of the century (hmm, still sounds strange to say that), I did a number of black and white children’s workbook projects for a local educational book publisher, Instructional Fair. These usually involved a series of 20-30 small spot illustrations, mostly cartoonish in style, on a variety of subjects, depending on the book title. I mostly worked with one editor, and we did a number of books together, but then after a few years, the company underwent some shake-ups and reorganizing, and the projects started drying up. Occasionally one would trickle in, the company now called ‘Carson Dellosa’ and with different editors, and this one that I did in the fall of 2004 was the last one that I worked on.

When I first posted this blog entry, sometime around 2008 (backdating, since the blog started in 2007), I only posted a few samples of the illustrations for each project. It is 2018 now, and I’ll be going back and posting all the illustrations for the first time since publication.

These were usually quite fun to do, for the most part. The pay wasn’t all that great, but the sheer volume of illustrations meant a substantial paycheck at the end of the project. They were fairly quick and easy, and gave me a lot of practice in perfecting my ‘cartoon line work’, and most importantly, kept me busy.


This particular batch of illustrations was for a book on ‘outdoor activities for children’. The quantity was somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 illustrations, ranging in size from full page to small spots.

There was usually very little in the way of art direction or changes to my sketch ideas, so working with this client was usually pretty painless. Looking back, though, I wish I was a bit more strident in negotiating the contracts, as there were a mountain of illustrations involved. This was the last project I had from Instructional Fair/Carson Dellosa, and the art director/sometimes writer was Kate Wheeler, who was always a delight to work for, and she seemed to take a real shine to my son Keenan, who would frequently tag along with me to meetings. Unfortunately, Kate passed away several years later, and I was thinking of her this weekend as Keenan got married.


Anyhow, here’s all the illustrations from this particular workbook. The book is still available on Amazon (link here).

Teamwork Test Prep Grade Eight

Instructional Fair



I’ve shared limited samples from all these workbook projects in the past, but I’ve begun to go back and post all the illustrations from each book, as there are many fun little spot illustrations that have not seen the light of day since these were published. This was the last of the ‘Teamwork Test Prep’ books that I worked on in 2003 and 2004 for Instructional Fair (later Carson Dellosa). My contact/art director for these books was a woman named Kate Wheeler, who has since passed away. I always enjoyed going in to her office to show my work, as she was such an enthusiastic fan of my work, and after living and working in such isolation for years, it was refreshing to have an audience who would actually laugh out loud at my cartoons. (in tribute, I snuck a caricature of Kate as a schoolgirl writing in a journal – see above)

Anyhow, these are all the illustrations from “Teamwork Test Prep Grade 8”, published here on this blog for the first time in about 15 years. (writing this in 2018)