Building Writing Skills 1

Instructional Fair



I did two workbooks for Instructional Fair in 2001, “Building Writing Skills 1” & “Building Writing Skills 2”. I had previously only shared a few sample illustrations from these books, but am now going back (writing this in 2018) and sharing all the illustrations from each book. These were both challenging because there were so many odd spaces to fill in the layout, from extreme vertical spaces to tiny spots to a great deal of extreme horizontal spaces, as well as full page borders. Anyhow here are all the illustrations from ‘Building Writing Skills 1’.

BuildWritSkills1i BuildWritSkills1e BuildWritSkills1g BuildWritSkills1b BuildWritSkills1d BuildWritSkills1c BuildWritSkills1f BuildWritSkills1h

On the Lighter Side

Carus Publishing, Instructional Fair, Newsday, Uncle Goose Toys

The above ‘food border’ was for a children’s magazine client of mine in July. I completely forgot about this one, and was quite tickled when I ran across it in the archives the other day. Probably one of my favorite cartoon illustrations of the year.

The illustration to the left was for a cd cover for a local children’s toy manufacturer. These were reissues of some vintage children’s recordings made back in the 50s, and I had done a few illustrations for this same project earlier in the year. Available at Amazon here.

This small ‘bird with microphone’ spot was also for the cd, extra decoration for the back cover.

The illustration at left (and the accompanying ‘rattle’ spot) was for a special interest magazine, comparing various ‘baby items’ available on the market. I had done a lot of work for a children’s version of this well known publication for years, but the kid’s magazine went out of business recently, and I got a few assignments from the grown up version for a short while before the work started petering out from this client.

Below is a full page newspaper illustration for my east coast newspaper client, regarding a few competing film festivals in the area.

All these black and white spot illustrations were for a children’s book publisher in July. I had a similar assignment for them in August. These were a pair of workbooks on writing and literature, and each contained about 170 spot illustrations of varying sizes and shapes. Many were long horizontals like the two above with occasional large illustrations like the one at left. Subject matter varied widely throughout each of the books which made working on them a treat despite the huge volume of work involved, as it kept things fresh and never quite got monotonous. I was surprised by how fun these drawings still seem to me as I flipped through the archives looking for a few samples to post here.

The one thing I’m not sure about is whether or not I’m able to sell reprint rights to these drawings. I remember the contract they handed me was a ‘work for hire’, and I remember discussing alternate terms with the designer, but I don’t recall what was ever settled. And these were so long ago, that I don’t think I still have copies of the contracts on file. Perhaps in a few years I’ll go through these files again, and alter and color the illustrations and offer them up as ‘new’. Too much nice work here to waste.

Maps etc

Carus Publishing, US Catholic

Another ‘region map’ for my children’s geography magazine, and additionally this month I had a map of the Bahamas (pictured below).

For the same client, but a different publication, was another ‘puzzle page’ assignment. This was a rather fun one involving lemurs (an animal I hadn’t yet had a chance to take a crack at).

An usual assignment came from my catholic magazine client, an illustration to accompany an article about memory loss, and I had the idea to have a person’s head with various little bits of the picture pixelating and floating away. An interesting concept, but I don’t think I quite pulled it off successfully. I should have done more of the head breaking up, and I hate the way I treated the lower part of the illustration, the neck and shirt area especially. Better photo reference would have been a help. And also I still seem to be stuck using way too much purple/pink in my color schemes, as I’ve noticed is a problem in a lot of illustrations during this time.

Additional Children’s Assignments

Carus Publishing

Came across yet another assignment for July while going through the archives. This one was a history of the rifle piece for a children’s history magazine which included an image of Daniel Boone. Not much of interest in this one, the layouts are a little dry and I still seem to be using that purple color way more than I should be this year.


ChronicleHE, Legal Times, Newsday, WSJ

A rather lackluster group of scratchboards this month, with probably the best one being the piece on archaologists above for my educational publication client.
I also had a half way decent one for my national newspaper client this month on emissions and the Kyoto treaty. (pictured below). I think all my energy in July and August was taken up with those extra large cartoon book projects. The illustrations in those projects were full of energy and spontenaety, and in contrast, these scratchboards seem sort of stiff and awkward.

The above illustration was for my east coast newspaper client and had to do with divorced parents causing difficulties during wedding plans.

The cliched based concept below was for my national newspaper client, and had to do with venture capitalists seeking handouts (marked with VC just in case you don’t understand, or can’t read the article). I don’t like including ‘text’ or ‘labels’ in my illustrations, and usually when I do, it is at the request of the client. The illustration at left is another weak concept for the same client, again with explanatory labels.

Another assignment for the same national newspaper client is pictured at right.

The illustration below was for an east coast legal newspaper in July. From a distance it seems rather busy and confusing, but there are some nice elements to this one from a color and lighting standpoint. I’ve been doing scratchboards now for over ten years and I still seem to be working the bugs out of the technique. I’ll probably always be learning something new. Probably why I haven’t gotten tired of this job yet.

Another scratchboard that I ran across the other day to add to July’s tally, is the portrait of Yasser Arafat for my east coast newspaper client (pictured below).