November Cartoons

Briar Patch Music, Gemini Publications

The ‘swing dance’ illustration to the left was for Gemini Publications (Grand Rapids Magazine). A bit more stylized and freeflowing than my usual dumpy cartoon characters. I was quite pleased with the simple design on this one.

Less successful was another experiment in combining the cartoon style with a ‘collage’ of credit card images lifted from the internet. The cards were too low in resolution to look good and sort of clashed with the style of the ‘tree stand’ below. This was another piece for the same client in November. (pictured right below)

I also had a trio of small black and white line cartoons for the same client this month, probably for the ‘parenting’ publication (since they tended to have a smaller operating budget and frequently put out issues in black and white, except for the cover). One was on ‘holiday travel’, another dealt with gifted children and another was on ‘investigating employee benefits’.

Also this month I was contacted by a new local client. A christian music publisher wanted me to draw a caricature of one of their artists for a newsletter. This was one of those ‘big head’ caricatures that I always feel a bit awkward drawing (they never look right to me somehow), but this one turned out better than most.


ABA, National Business Employment Weekly, Recorder

The above illustration was for The Recorder. I did a fairly steady stream of work for this client for about a year or so, but then a series of budget cuts forced them to curtail illustration usage. This one was an early alarmist piece about the upcoming Y2K fears. I’m struck by how quickly any of these illustrations can look so ‘dated’ when anything ‘modern’ is introduced into the picture (like the current computer model of the time), and how something much less concrete in subject matter can transend the era in which it was produced. (sometimes a ‘style’ can do that as well, which is obvious when you flip through some old illustration annuals). The illustrations on this page all seem very dated to me.

The illustration below was for the American Bar Association. They wanted something a little 50s ‘horror movie’, and wanted some hand lettering. Not my favorite thing to do, but I bit the bullet and gave it my best shot.

This series of spot illustrations was for National Business Employment Weekly. They just wanted a set of ‘computer spots’, anthromorphized and in several different poses. Probably about ‘online job hunting’. Since I was less specific on the style of computer, these don’t look quite so dated, although the boxy computer monitors do date them a bit. The color spots were for the cover and inside contents page, and the rest of the black and white spots were sprinkled throughout the issue.

Time Capsule

Chemical Engineering, ChronicleHE, Legal Times, Newsday, Recorder

The above illustration was a cover for a new magazine client, Chemical Engineering Magazine. A nice illustration, however hamstrung by the ‘label’ on the guillotine blade. A lot of the illustrations in this posting are rather dated, and cover topics that are barely even remembered today. The Y2K scare, the short lived Russian Prime Minister pictured to the left (quick, anyone remember his name?), Monica Lewinski and Linda Tripp, etc etc. A lot of the illustrations around this time make me cringe, and I’m sure that ten years from now, the work I’m doing today (’08 when I wrote this) will do the same. A healthy thing, I suppose, as it probably means I’m not going stagnant.

The ‘russian bear’ illustration to the left was for Newsday, on a same day basis. The bear’s not bad, and the likeness of the PM is pretty good, but the body, wip and chair are kind of awkward.

The caricatures of Linda Tripp and Monica Lewinski were for Legal Times. These originally were part of one big illustration, with Linda in the upper right and Monica in the lower left of the page, with the phone cord snaking through the text connecting the two. The likenesses and layout were fairly decent on this one, considering the age of the thing, although I seem to be fudging the hands and clothing.

Above was another full page illo for Legal Times. Sometimes a job comes across my desk with the idea already worked out by the editors/designer, and there’s little for me to do but try and bring it to life. I’m never quite happy with these sorts of assignments, the end product frequently looks stiff and lifeless. Both the illustration above and the illustration below (for The Recorder) were handed to me in this way. The image below was something to do with an ex baseball player who was going through some sort of legal difficulties at the time with a certain brewery’s ad campaign. The illustration below that was another for Legal Times, something about huge severance packages.

The ‘balloon baby’ below was for the Chronicle of Higher Education. This one was no doubt something to do with Hillary Clinton’s ‘It Takes a Village’ book. The ‘online term paper’ image to the left was another for the same client this month. Below that, is an illustration to accompany an article about the Ken Burns’ documentary about Lewis and Clark, which was making a debut on PBS around this time (for Newsday).

Additional Cartoons


These were some additional cartoons I ran across for the month of November. These were for the Christian Reformed Church, and were a series of spots depicting kids doing good deeds (above), and kids in difficult situations (left).


ABA, Carus Publishing, Cobblestone, Gemini Publications, Newsday

The above illustration was a rare cover assignment for Gemini Publications (Grand Rapids Parent). I do quite a few small cartoon spots for this client, and this gave me a chance to try something a little different. As a whole, it seems a bit awkward to me, but there are some interesting things going on, and I’m sure I learned a lot from the experience.

The illustration to the left was another for the same client this month, again, a bit of a departure from the usual type of illustrations I provide them with.

I had a couple of stylistic departures for Newsday this month. The illustration above was finished with oil pastels and was for a story about depression, or grieving, or something along those lines. The illustration to the right was another for the same client, and had something to do with ‘nylons’.

I had another map for Cobblestone (Faces), this another of those fun ones that I enjoy doing, with lots of mountain ranges and rivers.

I had a couple cover assignments for the American Bar Association. I approached these a little differently than the usual ‘scratchboard technique’. Instead of drawing in black and white and then adding a color wash in a layer underneath the drawing, I decided to try both of these with actually drawing the scratchboard lines in different colors. It had an interesting look, but apparently not interesting enough to ever go back to it anytime soon. I remember these as being very time consuming. Perhaps that is why I dropped this particular experimental technique.