Children’s Workbook Project


In April, I had a project involving a series of spots for Quarasan publishing. In previous years, this client dealt with me through an agent that I had at the time, but since I hadn’t heard from her in a number of years, these were handled directly by me. I don’t remember what these illustrations were about, but I can surmise that a few of them were some sort of rhyme scheme (goat in a boat, frog on a log, etc). A number of them seemed to have something to do with classic fairie tales (goldlocks, three pigs, etc). Since I don’t remember what kind of contract I signed when I did these, I probably won’t be offering these up as reprints, but include them here for historical purposes.

I last drew ‘goldilocks and the three bears’ a number of years earlier for a children’s book for a different publisher. I tried not to make them look too similar to the previous incarnation, but looking back at them now, I think they look remarkably similar.

Not crazy with how the wolf turned out in this ‘three little pigs’ illo, I think I went a little too realistic with him. The pigs turned out cute, though.

This cartoon style got a lot more usage back in the early years, but it has sort of dwindled down, and scratchboard has taken over as my primary bread and butter style. Perhaps due to a decrease in the amount of ‘children’s publishing’ work that I’ve been taking in over the past few years. I should probably design a postcard that features this style, if I want to get back to doing more of this kind of work.

I tried to give all of these illustrations a similar background color, in order to tie them all together. I think it may have been a mistake, though. The overabundance of yellow gets to be a bit much after a while.

Large Color Book Project


Through my agent this month, I had a rather large extensive color book project for a midwest book publisher. I got the impression that I was only one of several illustrators attached to this project, and the illustrations were quite varied in both size, scope and complexity. Some were full page color ‘story’ assignments like the ones pictured above and below this text block, while others were small spots of varying sizes. The project was spread over a month or so, and the illustrations would trickle in one or two at a time, which made working on this project a bit tedious at times, just in keeping up with the staggered deadlines and red tape that went with it (each illustration also had its own PO number and contract that needed to be filled out, plus I had to keep reporting everything to the agent so that she could keep track of the billing).

I don’t quite remember what the stories were behind a lot of these illustrations (or even if I was let in on it all that much at the time). The above series of illustrations were something to do with a rollerblading adventure featuring a couple of kids and a runaway skate. There was also a series of ‘bicycle’ illustrations, only one of which was in color. (pictured below)

It was on larger projects like these that I really started questioning the whole ‘agent’ concept. I was doing alright on my own getting work, and in fact this particular client came to me through a contact my brother had made through his restaurant job in Chicago originally, and the client worked with me directly with little or no involvement except the billing through my agent (who got credit for this job because it was one of her ‘contacts’). It wasn’t so bad with a small job here and there. I didn’t begrudge my agent her 30 percent, but it started to feel like a much bigger bite when projects like this came along. I never made a big deal about it, but continued to quietly grumble to myself and bite the bullet. I would continue to work for this agent for a few more years, mostly with a single client and a couple small jobs a month, but eventually the work dried up, and I wasn’t too sorry to see it go.

So, anyway … for the same ‘project’ but staggered throughout the month, I also had the above ‘lunch bag’ border illustration, plus the ‘farmyard umbrella’ illustration below that. A couple small spots involving a car being pushed, and a fire truck, plus a ‘family picnic’ scene below to the left (there was a large banner above the scene, but I’ve cut it off to better show the interesting half of the illustration without it having to be too small).

There was also another ‘large’ illustration involving a nature hike (pictured below) and an illustration featuring a pair of archaologists at a dig (pictured below), plus a few more small spots of various dubious origin (pictured below).

Of course, at the end of it all, I never did find out the title of the book that these illustrations appeared in, so I’ve never been able to find a copy for my personal sample library.

Book Project


Over the months of June and July I had a series of ‘book illustrations’ for a midwest publisher through my agent. These were staggered throughout the month, and I got the impression I was just one of several illustrators working on this particular project. Most of the illustrations this month seemed to be about ‘pets’, and there were quite a few small spots featuring dogs (pictured below) – Unfortunately, I never did find out the name of the book, so I don’t have a copy in my personal sample library.

Cartoons in May

Consumer Reports, Gemini Publications, Metro Detroit Parent, Newsday, Quarasan, Zillions

The above illustration and the one below were both for an east coast newspaper client in May of ’99. The one above was about working mothers, and I’m not sure what the one below was about (playing with your kids?).

The above four spot illustrations were the beginning of an extended project that stretched over the next three months for a midwest publisher, through my agent. I was one of several illustrators hired for this particular project, and I never quite learned what book these were published in. Also this month, for my agent, was the illustration below for a Michigan regional parenting publication.

The illustrations above, below and to the right were all for a local regional publication (where my wife was working at the time). The one above was for a humor article about experiences on the ‘comedy tour’ by a young comedian. The one to the right was about working mothers, and the one below was about protecting yourself as you surf the internet.

The following two illustrations were both for ‘puzzle page’ illustrations in the same children’s magazine. I don’t quite remember the story behind either one.

Wrong Way Reggie



Had a book project this month for a fairly well known children’s author. This was for a series of ‘young reader vocabularly’ paperbacks, and was technically a job through my agent (for Quarasan Publishing), although the job actually came about through some networking that my brother did in Chicago, through a restaurant he was working in at the time (where he met the author). One of the first instances where I was starting to regret working with an agent. I would have preferred giving the agent fee to my brother.

Out of print as of this writing (2018), but a few used copies can still be found here and there.

None of the original art was returned at the end of the project, and the only original I have from the book was an early sample version. All the samples in this post are photographs taken of the book itself.

Above you can see the front cover, and the front/back spread when opened up. Below are the interior pages, including the frontispiece.