Last in the Series


This month marked the last of a fun series of assignments that I was getting from a west coast magazine client. I seem to remember that they either went out of business, or slashed their illustration budget, but anyways, I didn’t hear from them again. These were usually a larger sized color cover illustration, and a series of 3 or 4 smaller black and white spots, all on the same theme. I enjoyed working on these, as it gave my ‘concept generator’ a good workout, and it was fun doing variations on the same idea. The AD was always fun and supportive to work for, and I ended up with some nice pieces over the one or two year stretch that this series of assignments lasted.

Black and White Scratchboards (mostly)

Carus Publishing, ChronicleHE, Cobblestone, Innovision, Newsday, WSJ

Another series of illustrations for my west coast magazine client. This wasn’t one of my stronger efforts for this regular assignment. These regularly consisted of a single larger color image, with 3 or 4 smaller black and white accompanying pieces along a similar theme. The concept this month was in ‘giving a helping hand’, and I chose to portray a ‘helping hand’ given in what are usually solitary artistic pursuits (I know, the ‘ballet’ one was a stretch, and even the ‘singing’ one isn’t particularly apt). I was taking adult cello lessons at the time, which probably nudged me towards the opening image (but I really should have used better reference in the hands).

One of the better black and white scratchboard efforts I had this month, was for a children’s magazine client of mine. This was for one of their ‘teen’ poetry/prose digest magazines, and concerned a story about a stray dog and worker at an animal shelter that befriends him. (above and below) I thought the layouts on each of these spots was particularly good, and I used a nice mixture of solid blacks and white space, along with a mixture of tight rendering and loose expressiveness.

For my east coast newspaper client, I had this rather strange illustration depicting Leonard Nimoy in a pose reminiscent of one of the Laugh-In characters portrayed by Lilly Tomlin. Don’t ask me, I’m just the illustrator.

Below and to the right is one of three illustrations I did this month for my educational publication client this month (no, make that four, I had a color piece in another entry this month). This was something to do with an imaginary debate between the article’s author and Hobbes.

Additionally, I had a pair of ‘beaver’ illustrations for the same client. This was a mascot of a particular school mentioned in the article, and I don’t quite remember why he is taking a bite out of a mortarboard cap, or hitchhiking down the road.

In addition to these illustrations, I also had a series of 40 or so small black and white spots for another children’s workbook for a local book publisher. As a departure from my usual ‘cartoon’ approach to these projects (which I’ve done quite a few of in the past few years), I decided to try and do all these in scratchboard. It wasn’t quite as successful as the cartoon spots, and I wasn’t really happy with how a lot of them turned out, and consequently went back to the cartoon style for later books. One of these illustrations is pictured below by way of example (the tropic fish illustration)

And then I had the usual smattering of black and white spots for my national newspaper client. The above ‘snake oil salesman’ illustration was an unusual shape that had to wrap around a chart, and the illustration below was a piece on the ‘small bond market’. (ha ha get it? small bonds? the bond is small – get it?)

The illustration to the left probably had to do with ‘forecasting’ in some way or another (looking down the road ahead, etc), and I also had a slightly larger spot this month about the microsoft operating system, portraying the two systems as an old jalopy and a souped up sports car, with users crowding aboard the new version. Definitely not my best ‘cars’.
Below that, was another for the same client, something to do with talent going overseas. I’d been working for this newspaper client now for a little over six months, and they’ve been keeping me pretty busy with steady work, but looking back at some of these early assignments, I’m amazed at how primitive they look to me now, and am very grateful that this client stuck with me long enough for me to work the kinks out of my drawing style.

Scratchboards in May

AHMM, America, ChronicleHE, Innovision, Legal Times, WSJ

Another in a series of assignments that I had from a west coast magazine client. These usually consisted of a single larger color illustration with 3 or 4 small accompanying black and white spots, on a common theme. The concept this month was on ‘Sir Walter Raleigh’ and concerned chivarly in various forms. Not one of my favorites from this series of projects, but then again, not the worst one either. I suppose I have a hard time working up enthusiasm for an idea that just doesn’t grab me from the starting gate. You can usually tell which projects they are. I usually try just as hard as I do with every project, but there just seems to be a certain magic missing from the drawings.

Below is another fiction piece for my long time ‘mystery digest’ client. This was one of the better ones for this year. I don’t quite remember the story exactly, but it seems to me that there was some sort of ‘cross dressing’ and mixed up genders situations going on in this murder mystery.

I had a rather straightforward ‘handshake’ illustration assignment from my educational publication client this month (pictured right).

Below are a few illustrations I had this month for my national newspaper client. The usual Bulls and Bears in a rather crowded ‘presentation’ scene (pictured below), and below that, an illustration regarding ‘funds’ for which I came up with a rather weak idea.

Below are a couple more illustrations for the same client. Stuck for an idea? A frequent method is to play around with size and scale when I’m having trouble conceptualizing. ‘Sniffing out’ your co-workers – voila, a big nose. Something to do with ‘listening’ – voila, a big ear. (or make the people next to ear real tiny to really bring the point home).

I also had a color piece for this client in May (rather rare to do color for this client at this time). A long horizontal regarding online global investing (I think I’ve recycled this idea more than once too, now that I think of it).

This illustration to the left was another for the same client, and had to do with investors taking a break for the summer. This was originally a strangely shaped inverted ‘L’ design to wrap around a chart in the weekend edition, but I’ve chopped off the bottom portion to make it fit here better without all the white space.

Below is a portrait of Fidel Castro for an east coast legal newspaper. Oddly enough, the first time I’ve been asked to draw this guy, considering he’s been in power since before I was born.

This illustration to the left was for a jesuit publication in May. An article about ‘religion in the office’, and I came up with a rather clever solution I thought.

April Shower of Cartoons

Innovision, Newsday, United Methodist Communications

For a Methodist publication in April, I had a couple of cartoon ‘series’ illustrations. Most of these were about the same size, but showed different stages in a particular narrative. I’ve shown one larger above to better show the details, and the rest in this series are pictured below on a smaller scale. this story involved a childhood incident involving a set of railroad tracks, and I’m sure there are some lessons to be learned about ‘cooperation’.

Another series for the same client was the sequence below, something about an unruly child in church. I obviously saved a little time on this one by cloning the background. Probably should have varied the background expressions and poses a bit, at least with the three foremost characters, but I was probably cutting corners due to the limits of the budget for this project.

I also had a cartoon assignment this month from my east coast newspaper client. This was a piece on the failing bodies of the baby boomer generation.

Maps and More

Carus Publishing, Cobblestone, Gemini Publications, Innovision

Another map assignment from my children’s magazine publisher this month. This one ended up being one of the more time consuming maps I’d yet done for this client, but also ended up being one of my favorites. Another map for the same client is below, but not quite as interesting.

The above illustration was another for the same client, another in a long line of ‘puzzle page’ illustrations for one of their science publications.

Below is a rare full page color assignment for my local regional publication client, I don’t quite remember the topic.

I had another series of illustrations this month for my west coast magazine client. These were usually a single large color illustration for the cover, with accompanying 3 or 4 smaller black and white illustrations on a similar theme. Flowers with ‘apology cards’ this time.