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.



1996 – Burning Out

Year In Review
Newsday, 1996

I was starting to feel like I was in a rut around year 7 of my freelance illustration career. I still had a steady stream of regular clients, and new ones popping up from time to time, but some of the Evangelical Clients were starting to wear on my nerves a bit. I started asking myself questions like “Am I creative and talented, or am I just the affordable alternative?” Perhaps I was just getting work because I was willing to work for substandard rates, and had no problem with tight deadlines. A lot of self doubt creeping in around this time, and I was looking for other outlets for my creativity.

CRC Publications, 1996

I took a few life drawing courses at our local community college, as a way of jump starting some enthusiasm for art again (if you recall, this was what started this whole freelancing career in the first place). I started oil painting on the side as another outlet. I started a short lived poetry magazine with my sister (see separate post for details).

Life Drawing, pastels, 1996

On the positive side, however, I had a somewhat high profile children’s book project for a better known author (Helen Lester, see separate posting), and still had several textbook assignments for St. Mary’s Press (but with no airplane ride for consultation this time). And a new client jumped on board, which seemed at the time like a ‘one time only’ assignment, but in later years would grow to be one of my long time regulars (Llewellyn, see separate posting).

Newsday, 1996

I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the last full year of working with traditional art materials. A change was coming in the following year that would help revitalize my career, and bring me kicking and screaming into the future.

Cricket, 1996
Unpublished, for a proposed book project with my brother, 1996