Around about this time, I was still selling reprints of old illustrations through a distributor, and when I had some free time, I would also finish up old rejected sketches from old projects and add them to the reprint library. These were a few of those ‘on spec’ illustrations that I was doing around this time. This is something I should probably continue doing in the future.
The above illustration was the first assignment from a new client of mine in 01, a specialty magazine, and the story involved ‘ethics’ for which I came up with this image. I finished the illustration, and sent it off, and a couple weeks later the client contacted me again, asking me to change the artwork. It seems in the earlier version, I had put too many shadows on the main character’s face, to the point where the editors were worried that he looked ‘black’, and didn’t want to offend their readership who were primarily white. It really bothered me at the time, but I just did what they wanted and didn’t think about it again, until I ran across this art while going through my archives. It was the first and only time something like this had happened to me in my career – usually art directors are bending over backwards to be ‘inclusive’ in their images (to the point, with some clients, where I’m asked to draw at least one person in a wheelchair in most crowd scenes). I think it sort of colored my attitude toward this client for the rest of our short working relationship.
The above illustration was one of my favorite black and white scratchboards of the year. This was for a jesuit publication about online predators, and this image of the hands coming through the computer screen seemed very powerful to me then, and still seems so today. I finished it a little ‘rougher’ than I usually do, which helps with the power of the piece I think. Almost as an afterthought, since the article had the word ‘evil’ in the title, I noticed that the letters E-V-I-L on the keyboard are placed almost in order in their regular typewriter layout (staggered of course) and drew them into the layout in a subtle way.
The pieces above and below were both for my national newspaper client in February. One of them about the Iron Smelting industry, and another about illegal immigrints. Good job of research on Iron Smelting, but not so good on old trucks. Gotta remember that research nearly always pays off in the end. The illustration to the left was another for the same client, a rare color piece during this time period. This one was about online music listening (a ‘new thing’ back in ’01)
The above illustration was another fiction piece for my long time ‘mystery digest’ client. This would be the last assignment for this client for over a year – not sure why, perhaps they underwent some sort of changes at the magazine. When work resumed again the following year, I would receive quite regular assignments for the client for a slight raise in pay. Also, when work resumed, I started noticing that the magazine was using illustrations a lot less often than they used to, 3 or 4 per issue or less, as opposed to 6-8 in previous years (also illustrations tended to be full page in the future, where in the past, they had to share the page with the title and author).
Below was a full page color illustration for my east coast newspaper client. This had something to do with the real estate industry.