Pushing the Outside of the Envelope

Barrons, ChronicleHE, Newsday, Smart Money

In July, I had a few opportunities to try and stretch myself as far as ‘style’ goes. I was given a cover assignment for the Chronicle of Higher Education, and I took a chance and tried out a completely different look. Using a mixture of mediums, colored pencils, watercolor washes and various paper textures and color layers, I came up with something quite special. I don’t quite remember what the topic of this illustration was, but I had a lot of fun with it. I was quite happy with how the sky and clouds turned out, and proud of myself for avoiding the usual color schemes that I find myself returning to again and again.

Barrons asked me to enlarge and improve upon an illustration that I had done for them the month before, for use as a cover illustration. I used the usual scratchboard technique for the ‘hand’, but then used a combination of airbrushing techniques and spatter paint to make the ‘black hole’ much more spectacular than in the original version.

Newsday handed me an assignment about the ‘Harry Potter’ book series, and how it is appealling to not only the kids, but to the parents as well. I thought it might be fun to finish this one up as if done by the artist that draws the book covers on the US editions. I enjoy the occassional ‘mimic’ job, as it gives me a chance to really study how other artists go about getting the effects that they do.

Also, in the middle of July, I got a pair of spot illustrations from a new client, Smart Money. These pair of spots, while using the same techniques that I’ve grown comfortable with over the years, were actually a marrying of two different styles. Scratchboard in technique, but more cartoonish in style and feeling, and a little less ‘busy’ than I usually work.

It was nice getting a chance to try something new this month, and it sure helps break up the monotony and routine. Not to mention the new tricks you pick up along the way that might come in handy later on down the road.