College Spots


Once a year, my southern college lifestyle magazine client has a special feature where they feature interesting items from various colleges in the area, and it usually involves somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 spot illustrations on various oddball topics. Sometimes the concepts were easy and self explanatory, but other times they were a bit of a stretch to make interesting (or even understand). This would be the last year I took on this project, due to time and budget restrictions, though I would continue to do the smaller ‘factoid’ type spots for this client for another couple years. All the spots in this posting were for this project, and each needed to include the name of the school, and school colors where applicable.

Atypical Oddball Experiments

America, Innovision, Newsday

Above is another ‘food’ illustration for my east coast newspaper client. This one was for a ‘leek soup’ recipe. I’ve been noticing that the tonal values on a lot of the illustrations in ’99 are a little on the light side (probably owing to my naivete and ignorance of screen brightness settings at the time), so I’ve taken a few of the files from this month and started to play with the values a bit before I post them here to try and improve them. I darkened the midtones a bit on this illustration above and it really helps, although the ‘whites’ seem to have gotten a bit grey. (next time I’ll have to pay attention to that and try and simultaneously lighten up the ‘highlights’)

The illustration above and the corresponding black and white spots below were for a west coast magazine client. I’ve been doing these cover/inside assignments for this particular client for several months at this point and would do many more over the course of the year, before budget cuts ended this magazine’s usage of illustration.

I also had a series of illustrations for a jesuit publication this month. This particular client had a rather small budget, but I tried to accomodate it by keeping the illustrations rather simple and quick. The budgets got a little bigger in later years, and I was able to do some much nicer work and devote a bit more time to each project. All these had something to do with catholic education in some form or another. I did them all in a combination of watercolors, pastels and colored pencils, all in greyscale.

February Cartoon Crop

Christian Home & School, Gemini Publications, Oxendine

The cartoon crop in Febrary wasn’t particularly bountiful (not counting the mountain of tiny spots mentioned in another post), but I did have some choice illustrations come out of the harvest. The illustration above was for a local regional city magazine, and, as simple as it was, it ended up being one of my favorite pieces of the year. I also particularly liked the ‘baby with brain balloon’ (left) that I did for the same client (but different publication).

The ‘will’ illustration below was another for the same client, as was the ‘educational wheelbarrow’ illustration below that. These weren’t bad, but not quite as simple and direct as the two concepts above.

The ‘pole vault’ illustration below was a medium sized spot for my southern college lifestyle magazine client this month. I also had a series of 15 small spots for the same client that can be seen in another posting this month.

And finally, I had a fun piece for a local christian parenting magazine, about children’s fantasy playtime. I chose to create a pirate ship out of cardboard boxes and odds and ends around the house, similar to the sort of fun and games I’d organize when I was a kid (there was nothing more fun than a big old cardboard box from a washing machine). If you look carefully, you can see a tiny version of one of my favorite illustrations by N.C. Wyeth in a book that one of the children is reading.


ChronicleHE, Legal Times, Newsday, Recorder

The illustration above was for a west coast legal magazine. It was a challenge, as I wasn’t too confident drawing cars, and drawing two cars smashed together was a logistical nightmare. I’m not crazy about the color choices I made, but I seemed to have had fun with the actual drawing. This was a big one, stretching across a two page spread (not sure how it looked with the fold coming right at the point of impact, unless this was the center fold of the magazine.).

I had a handful of other scratchboard illustrations this month, all of them fairly ho hum. The illustration to the left was a same day illustration for my east coast newspaper client and had to do with some Serb/Croat peace accords. I liked how the bones looked at the bottom of the cliff, but wasn’t too crazy about the ‘stack of papers’ teetering on the edge of a cliff concept as a whole. And the execution of the ‘cliff face’ wasn’t up to snuff, I definitely would have done it a bit differently today (perhaps with the stack of bones a bit more prominent and fading to black sillouetes on the left edge, and given the left side of the cliff more definition.

From time to time, my east coast legal newspaper client would hand me a cover illustration, but in such a way that it would incorporate several small elements that could then be pulled out to use throughout the inside of the issue. It was really a money saving scheme for them, and a logistical headache for me, and usually ended up with a confusing mess of an illustration that I wasn’t too happy with. The illustration above was a prime example. It doesn’t work as a full page illustration, and I’m sure the small spots were less than interesting as well. Nobody to blame but myself and my own shortcomings, though, really.

The illustration to the right was for my educational publication client. I don’t quite remember the topic, something to do with disabilities perhaps?

Below is an illustration for my east coast newspaper client. This one for the lifestyle section and probably had something to do with divorce, or maybe coping with absentee spouses.