As July Hurries Into August

Hudson Valley, Today Media, Westchester Magazine

videowebusageAside from the book projects I am currently working on (“Peter Cottontail”¬†and ‘What Was The Vietnam War?” – an interesting daily juxtaposition to be sure), I also had a few quick turnaround assignments from Westchester Magazine (above) and Hudson Valley Magazine (below) this week. Both these magazines are under the same parent company (Today Media), but I don’t think I’ve done any work for Westchester before this (perhaps there are two Westchester Magazines? I had a few¬†assignments for a similarly named magazine back in 2005, but with a different address). Other than that, have been gearing up for my son’s wedding in Chicago at the beginning of next month, so the days are flying by at a rapid pace.



Those Crazy Kids

Carus Publishing, ChronicleHE, Highlights, Westchester Magazine

In November, I had a nice opportunity to provide the wrap around cover for Cricket magazine. This client has been providing me work since my very first year in business back in 1989, and this is the second cover illustration I’d done for them since that time. This one turned out much nicer than the first, I’m happy to say. The overall theme of the magazine was given to me as “music and butterflies” and it was up to me to come up with a cover (I could do one or the other, or as I chose to do, both). Since I was active with an amateur cello quartet around this time, I used that as inspiration, and our local botanical garden here in Grand Rapids has a ‘butterfly event’ every spring, so I imagined a concert given in an indoor garden, with a sprinkling of ‘musically inspired’ butterfly designs hovering in the air. The illustration to the left, was for the inside contents page, as a tie in to the cover design. (I almost liked the small spot better than the more busy spread on the outside). (the original for the cover measures approx 17 x 10)

This was certainly the month for oddball children’s assignments. I also had a quartet of spot illustrations for Highlights, on a variety of subjects. The piece to the right was about ‘studying bugs’, and there was another one about the ‘milky way’ (pictured below left)>

Then, in addition to these spots, I also had a couple of awkward ones for the same client, one of them having to do with US states along the mexican border, somehow woven into a decoration on a sombrero. And then a ‘hidden picture’ spot, in which I was to hide a drawing of the Mayflower in a bouquet of flowers. This one was tricky. I’ve never been much good at these ‘hidden picture’ assignments, I’m never sure how much ‘hidden’ is ‘hidden’ enough for the age group that I’m drawing for. You don’t want to treat the kids like idiots, but then again, you don’t want to make it impossible to find, either. (both pictured below)

My son turned 16 years old this month, so in honor, I worked up this illustration to go on a birthday party invitation. A homage (and apologies to) Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth, whose wonderfully demented ‘hot rod’ cartoons I grew up admiring as a child, was the inspiration for this ‘monster version’ of my son driving his ‘dream car’.

My son also turned up in an illustration this month for the Chronicle of Higher Education (in his trademark hoodie pullover and mussy hair). This was to accompany an article about making voting and political issues more appealing to high school kids.

And although it may look like an illustration for the same client, this one below was actually for a new client during November, Westchester Magazine.

Most Reprinted

Barrons, Highlights, Scientist Magazine, Westchester Magazine, Yankee

The illustration above, originally for Barrons, who I had just started working for within the past few months, has the distinction of being the one illustration I have done that has gotten the most reprint requests, and has been the most lucrative for me. I don’t even remember what the original story was about, but this one seems to be quite popular as a way of portraying any number of concepts. Also appeared on the cover of a german financial magazine WirtschaftsWoche, and in a couple other US magazines who’s names have slipped my mind.

A couple more illustrations for the same client around this time, include the one above (which was actually quite a bit more horizontal in the original, stretching across the top of the page), and the one below, with the demented looking alarm clock.

I had a couple of new clients contact me around this time. One of them was for Yankee Magazine. An illustration to accompany a recipe for baked beans. I don’t normally think of myself as primarily a ‘color illustration specialist’, even though I do the majority of my illustrations in color. I’m most comfortable working in black and white, and think of color as an ‘add on’ after the fact in most cases. This piece, though, I have to say seems to be one of the rare ones that I actually enjoyed the color aspect of it. The scratchboard is rather simple and for once, not too dark and overpowering, and the colors actually seem to enhance rather than spoil the effect.

Another newer client, Westchester Magazine, for which I did the above full color illustration regarding the health care industry. The illustration below was for another new client, The Scientist Magazine, and concerned grants and funding for scientific research. While both of these gave me a much bigger area to exploit, and I tried to use color in a bright and splashy way, neither of them has the impact of the small ‘baked bean’ spot. I don’t know if it is the size, or what, but I just can’t quite seem to get the same magic with a full page assignment.

And finally, I had a cartoon-ish assignment for a Highlights magazine this month, which also included a number of tiny ‘rebus’ illustrations to sprinkle around the page (which I haven’t included). This was a bit more realistic than most of my cartoon work, probably because the publication’s editors were so concerned with portraying the asian boy as accurately as possible. (note how the cat is much more cartoony than the boy) A lot of the items in the boy’s room are based on furniture and toys that could be found in my own son’s room 10 years earlier (he’s nearly 16 around this time, and way past the age where I’m able to use him as ‘chilren’s reference’).