Life Drawing

Figure Studies, personal, rough sketches

Somewhere in the neighborhood of ’01 or ’02 I took another life drawing class at the local community college. Again, without a grade, just auditing the class for studio time with a model, and a chance to hone my drawing and anatomy skills. This was the last class I’ve taken in many years, and after looking through these, I am itching to get back into it again (this being written in ’08). This was a frustrating class this time. A lot of students of rather poor skills and aptitude, and the model variety was limited to the same two dull gentlemen with limited pose repertoire. However, I still managed to get some interesting drawings out of it.

Black and White Scratchboard Spots


Oddly enough, this illustration for my national newspaper client came across my desk the weekend before September 11. Seems to bode none too well for the future.

Most of these spots were for the same client this month, some of them were before the attacks, and some were after, but in most cases, I don’t remember which (the happier looking ones were probably before).

September 11, 2001

ChronicleHE, Newsday, WSJ

I was in the office working, when I got a call from my wife at the regional magazine she was working for at the time. “Are you out in the office? Go in the house and turn on the television, there’s been a plane crash in New York”. The second plane hadn’t hit yet, but would shortly. We were naturally worried about our sister-in-law, who is a flight attendant for American Airlines, but it turned out that she was ok, not working that day. Another fateful wrinkle, was that my mother had planned on taking my son on a trip to New York during this time, but other plans came up and it never materialized. I didn’t do any more work that day, and spent most of it glued to the news stations, until I grew angry at them for replaying the crash video and the ‘people jumping’ videos over and over and over. Later that day we took our son to a soccer practice down at Riverside park, and it was so very eerie to look up at the sky and see not a single jet trail, and to sit and watch our children playing soccer like nothing at all had happened today. I remember it being such a beautiful fall day.

Back to work the next day. The first of the assignments was for a NY newspaper and concerned the theater closings due to the emergency.

It didn’t occur to me right away, but I soon realized that one of my largest clients offices were right across the street from the trade center, but luckily many of them work on a late staggered shift and were still enroute to work when the planes struck. Many of the jobs from that client over the next month or so were from a remote office in New Jersey. The assignment I got from them first was a rather vague financial uncertainty illustration for a chart in the Sunday paper, reminiscent of the fog of smoke and ash that enveloped the city when the towers fell. Another assignment later in the month depicted an investor looking a little anxiously at the skies as he prepares for the worst. (pictured below)

I had another assignment from the NY paper later in the month dealing with all the computer newswire services and the general state of anxiety we all found ourselves in while trying to get the latest developments. (pictured below), and below that, an illustration for an east coast legal newspaper dealt with the new security measures at airports and in selective screening.

Later in the month, I had a rather somber illustration for my east coast newspaper client regarding missing loved ones from the attack and the state of limbo that many families found themselves in with no official word on their status. What struck me as odd about this whole time, was the fact that I never received any assignments that dealt directly with the towers, and wouldn’t actually draw a picture of the towers for another year at least. Clients became leery of using any concepts over the next year that had anything to do with planes crashing or people falling. I guess we’d seen enough.

The illustration above was probably not directly related to 9/11, but seemed to fit the mood of this posting, and coincidentally came across my desk around this time. this was a piece on depression for an educational publication in September.

My Wife’s Employer

Gemini Publications, Oxendine, US Catholic

Around this time, my wife was working for a local regional magazine. A client that I had been a contributor to since my first year in business. This month would mark the last assignments I would do for this magazine. The above full page illustration was for a special supplement on ecommerce, and the portrait to the right was a personal favor for my wife for a photo that the company requested of her to place on their new web page.

At this time I was starting to phase out some of my lowest paying clients, in order to free up some of my time to accept some of the more lucrative assignments that were starting to come my way. I hadn’t done an assignment for this client for almost a year at this point, and this assignment was a bit more than the usual rates.

Also this month, I had a pair of cartoon assignments for a catholic magazine client. This one dealt with ‘reading clubs’, and these two cartoons would be placed along the bottom of a two page spread.

Another rather strange cartoon for the same client this month is pictured at right. This one dealt with how middle aged adults are starting to help their parents through old age, and in some ways the parents ‘become the children’, and this story dealt with one couple’s experiences taking their elderly parents snorkeling.

I also had my first assignment for a children’s version of a major national magazine. I would later get occasional assignments from this client, but never what I would call regular work. (pictured above)

I also had another larger cartoon illustration for my ‘college’ magazine client this month. (pictured left)