BW Scratchboards Part II

ChronicleHE, US Catholic

The large illustration above and the 5 small spot illustrations to the left and below, were all for the Chronicle of Higher Education in December. The small spots were all for an article on noise pollution, and the larger illustration was something to do with housing or architectural design. I’m still struggling with the ‘larger illustration’ assignments, learning how to best work on an illustration when you can only see a portion of it at a time when working at 100 percent.

The illustration above and the one below were both for US Catholic. These were the first digital assignments that I did for this particular client. I had been doing traditional media illustrations since my second year in business (’90), although I think it had been a while since this client had called me at this point.

BW Scratchboards Part 1

ABA, ChronicleHE, Legal Times, National Business Employment Weekly

The illustration above and the illustration below were both for Legal Times in December. I don’t quite remember the story behind the ‘homeless man’ illustration, although I do remember getting a rare piece of fan mail because of it. The illustration below was about the D.C. Police force.

The illustration above featuring Janet Reno was another for the same client this month. The request for this one was to try and emulate one of the engraved illustrations in an old Dickens book. The illustration below was for the Chronicle of Higher Education, and I don’t quite remember what this one was about.

The illustration above was for the American Bar Association, and the illustration below was for National Business Employment Weekly.

Calendar Brochure

Self Promotion

Put together a color brochure to promote the changeover to digital. Don’t remember where I had the printing done, but it came out very dark (still had a lot to learn about lightness/darkness settings on my monitor). I mixed up the samples on this brochure, putting a few ‘pre-computer’ images on it, and also including a couple of the newer pieces (some of the ‘unpublished work’ that I did around this time ended up on this brochure).

Odds and Ends

Carus Publishing, Christian Home & School, Cobblestone, Oxendine, Uncle Goose Toys

The above illustration and the map to the left were both for Faces Magazine (Cobblestone) in December. This article concerned a group of islands off the coast of South Carolina.

I also had another illustration assignment for the same client this month. This one was for something about a ‘clone contest’, and I got to take full advantage of the new computer technology to draw a single character and then ‘clone’ him numerous times (changing shirt colors of course) to put together the final image. This would have been a completely different project 6 months prior.

I had my first two ‘computer’ assignments from Oxendine Publishing (Student Leader) that I had been working for since the early nineties. I went a little nuts on these first two assignments for this client, creating almost a completely new style, that I wasn’t prepared to keep doing on a regular basis, especially at these rates. I tried to keep it up for most of ’98, but eventually worked out a compromise, working in a more standard ‘cartoon’ style that was better suited to the job.

Also, around this time, I was asked by Uncle Goose Toys to help design some new wooden ‘car’ toys. These would have wooden spokes and wheels, and the designs would be printed on two sides of a die cut wooden block. I don’t know if this toy ever actually made it past the experimental stage, but I don’t remember ever seeing a finished product, unlike some of the other projects I was involved with for this client.

I had a full page color assignment from Christian Home and School. I went a little nuts on this one, mixing and matching techniques and styles, and the finished piece ends up with a certain ‘frankenstein’ quality that isn’t too pleasant. (below)

Experiments and Unpublished Whatnots


During these first few months working digitally, I was spending a great deal of my spare time getting familiar with the software, experimenting with different techniques and doing a fair share of unpublished work that eventually just ended up in a forgotten file folder on my desktop. Until now. The above ‘peacock’ illustration was an early experiment in working with scratchboard as a ‘color’ technique. I eventually discarded this idea as impractical, and due to the fact that it didn’t resemble anything duplicatable in the real world, and I wanted to keep my work ‘looking somewhat real’. The caricature to the left was another experiment around this time using a similar technique.

The Robert Mitchum portrait above was a bit more along the lines of a ‘traditional scratchboard’, but I was trying to do a ‘big portrait’ and forcing myself to try and work in a slightly looser style than I usually do. I wasn’t entirely happy with the results, but it was a good learning experience.

The quick oil study to the left was one I did of my son sometime around the fall of ’97 (the exact dates of these early experiments are hard to pinpoint, as they all ended up being saved in a file with the same date).

The following two scratchboard illustrations were both finished versions of ‘rejected sketches’ for other assignments that I decided to finish up on the off chance that they might find homes elsewhere on the reprint market. I was working with a reprint syndicate at the time, and would often just send in illustrations like these as a form of spec work.