Children’s and Parent’s Magazine work

ChronicleHE, Consumer Reports, Metro Detroit Parent, Zillions

The above illustration was an assignment through my agent in November, for a Michigan regional parenting magazine. I don’t quite remember the angle of the story, but I had fun designing the bright and cheerful wallpaper (which the character is doing a pretty sloppy job of putting up).

These two simple black and white illustrations were for the same client this month. The drawing above probably had something to do with Michigan travel, owing to the small ‘Mackinac Bridge’ in the upper right corner, and the one to the left was presumably about Living Trusts and Wills.

Another assignment for the same client is pictured below, probably having to do with mending broken relationships during the holidays.

The ‘parade of numbers’ illustration below, was for my educational publication client this month. I don’t quite remember what this one was about.
Below that, is a fun ‘racetrack’ illustration that I did for one of my children’s magazine clients. I had a lot of fun putting all that ‘wear and tear’ on the roadway.

College Life


I had a few more cartoons for a southern college lifestyle magazine in November. The above illustration was one of the bigger spots, and accompanied a quiz entitled ‘how big headed are you?’. In addition, I had the usual assortment of small spot illustrations to accompany various factoids and short news items. (pictured below)

Also this month, for the same client, I had a portrait of Gandhi for another article. A rare scratchboard assignment for this client.

Atypical Style Experiments

America, Carus Publishing, Cricket, Newsday

Watercolor and colored pencil were the tools of choice for this history assignment on the Pan-Africa movement for a children’s magazine client in November. The above illustration turned out much nicer than the accompanying two page spread pictured below for the same article.

I used a similar style, but much heavier on the colored pencil details, for this ‘puzzle page’ assignment set in ‘Neptune’s Castle’ for the same client this month. (pictured above)

I took an unusual approach to my routine scratchboard style for a black and white assignment that I had for a children’s fiction digest this month. I wanted to convey a dreamy surreal atmosphere and capture the fog shrouded mountains of the story, so I used a graduated watercolor wash for the background, and then cut my scratchboard lines out of the background tones, then went back with another layer of watercolors after the fact. An interesting experiment, but I had mixed feelings about how it turned out, and rarely went back to this approach in future assignments. In the original, the top of the illustration on the left continued across the top of the page, with more sun and clouds that went behind the title and author for the short story, but I’ve cropped the image to better fit this blog page layout.

Also this month, for the same client, I had another trio of illustrations for a different short story in the same issue. They wanted a slightly different style for this one, so I tried something kind of new, using a rough sketchy pastel approach, a bit different than my usual approach to this medium, which is to build up the image using a lot of sketchy parallel lines. I chose a ‘grainy paper’ pattern and let the materials and the paper grain build the lights and darks. This story was about a friendship between a couple girls ‘from different sides of the railroad tracks’ who meet at a menial summer job. I wasn’t too crazy with this style and didn’t go back to it again, other than a few more times.

One of those ‘other times’ that I returned to this style, was the same month, where I had an illustration assignment for a jesuit publication regarding ‘women in the priesthood’. I think this one turned out a little better than the fiction assignment above (less grain in the paper I think for this one).

And finally, this month, I had an illustration for the ‘lifestyle section’ of an east coast newspaper. I don’t remember the story behind this illustration, but I once again tried for a ‘painterly’ effect, using the oil pastel tools in my software package.

Black and White Scratchboards

ChronicleHE, Legal Times, Newsday, WSJ

I had a couple of ‘sailing ship’ illustrations this month for my east coast legal newspaper client. These concerned the legal battles that Bill Gates was facing at the time, and the two illustrations were meant to spread across the bottom of two pages (with the gutter between them). I always enjoyed drawing these old sailing vessels, even years before I contemplated becoming a sailor myself. Something about the way they take so well to this scratchboard style, it seems you can’t go wrong with this topic.

For the same client this month, I had an early likeness of Rudy Guiliani (not a very good one, I might add). Someone who was rather obscure and on the political sidelines at this time, but would be thrust into the limelight in later years thanks to being in the right place at the right time.

For another east coast newspaper client this month, I had a rather unusual scratchboard assignment. I was asked to draw a rather large view of a neighborhood. My favorite, lots of buildings and cars, and for frosting on the cake, some hand lettering here and there. The drawing has to be reduced down so far to fit in this blog, that I’m afraid it doesn’t look like much, and it also had a strange shape, as it had to make room for text blocks in the upper left and lower right corners. (original size was somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 inches across – much larger than I was comfortable working at that time).

To the left was another assignment for the same client. This one started out as a much more vertical layout, but then after the sketch was okayed, the size and shape changed, so it had to be squeezed into a more square format. I thought I could get away with just distorting the sketch, but it certainly shows.

The unusual illustration to the right was another for the same client this month. This one having to do with the evolution of music, and where the first ‘musical instruments’ may have come from.

Below are a few assignments this month for my educational publication client. This first one was rather strange and went with an article talking about ‘unusual intern experiences’.

I also had a few ‘computer related’ images for the same client this month. I’m not sure if they were for the same article, or just happened to be on similar topics at different times during the month. I liked the concept of the illustration to the left a little better, due to the ‘dollar sign’ that I managed to squeeze in among the twisted computer cords. The illustration below had a little weaker concept, but I did a fairly good job of keeping it simple and uncluttered despite the possibilities that it could have gotten out of hand.

The previous month, I had received my first two assignments for a new national newspaper client, and I was pleased to get another assignment this month, to prove to myself that it wasn’t going to be another of those ‘flash in the pan’, ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ clients. I wasn’t quite convinced that this would be a regular thing yet, and wouldn’t get comfortable with the idea that this was a steady thing for a few more months yet. This illustration to the right was the third assignment from this particular publication.

Color Scratchings

ChronicleHE, Newsday

The color scratchboard assignments this month weren’t a particularly interesting lot. The above illustration was for my educational publication client, and I don’t quite remember the background story behind it.
The three illustrations below were for my east coast newspaper client in November. The ‘menu’ illustration was a cover for a special real estate section, the ‘prayer’ illustration was for a ‘lifestyle’ section story (again, I don’t quite remember the story behind it), and the illustration at the bottom was another cover illustration for the business section (which I don’t remember the topic of either).