This month I had a book project for Cobblestone Publishing, a client that I’d been doing magazine work for over the previous 2 years. This was a collection of Native American myths, legends and stories, and I was one of three ‘scratchboard’ artists assigned to different sections of the book. My illustrations take up the middle third of the volume, mostly concerned with Native American folklore and tribal history, and constituted about 25-30 illustrations. This book is still available on Amazon (link here) and was the winner of the 1995 Book Builder’s of Boston Award for Excellence in Graphic Arts.
A few of the originals still survive (the frog, the wolf, the buffalo stampede), and others were scanned from a copy of the book in my collection. If I remember correctly, the image of the ‘globe’ below (with animals marching around it) was reused by the client for xmas cards later in the year.
When I first wrote this blog post, around 2009, I shared only a few samples from the book, but I am updating the posting in 2018 and sharing each and every one of the illustrations for the first time since publication.
In the summer of ’94 I had one of the biggest projects of my career so far. This was a catholic school textbook that would involve several color ‘chapter opener’ illustrations like the sample I’ve included here, plus a color cover spread across the front and back, plus several smaller black and white illustrations (something in the neighborhood of 30 or so), plus additional color inside pieces and a few large spreads. This project also involved a personal day long consultation and visit with the publisher in Minnesota, St Mary’s Press, which was a new thing for me. A plane ride and night’s stay in a local hotel, being shuttled around by the art director. Needless to say, this ‘hermit in training’ was a bit nervous. It wasn’t nearly as bad as it would be today, as I still got out of the office occasionally to deal with local clients at the time, but I was still not quite prepared for so much personal face time all at once.
Most of the ‘major illustrations’ were roughed out on site during the board meeting (gave me something to do, and I have always been much better at communicating visually rather than verbally), and a recurring motif was discussed (the ‘dove of peace’) which popped up in one way or another in each of the main illustrations. I’ve still got most of the original artwork for this project, surprisingly enough, although I think I may have sold one of them to the art director as a keepsake (probably the cover spread).