February Hodge Podge

America, Barrons, D Magazine, Highlights, Newsday, WSJ

In the latter half of February, besides the flurry of educational spots (see other posting for this month), I had a variety of assignments from all corners of the spectrum. The above illustration was for D Magazine out of Texas, who I had done work for about a year prior. This was a smaller spot illustration, having to do with school finance laws.
The illustration to the left was for Barrons, and had to do with the real estate market. After the fact, I was asked to go back to this illustration and add a continuation of the ‘stream’ so that it wound its way all the way down the sidebar of the page (I’ve only posted the original piece here).

I had an assignment around this time from America magazine. This accompanied a story about bible scholarship. I was asked a few months later to do a follow up illustration along the same lines.
I also had another of my ‘health care’ illustration spots that I do every two weeks for the Wall Street Journal. This one was either regarding measles treatments, or acne, I dont’ remember which.

I had a couple of small cartoon spots around this time for Highlights magazine. The one to the left was something to do with ‘family activities’, and the other one (pictured to the right) had something to do with figuring out how many kids it would take laid end to end to reach the moon.
I also had another spot illustration for the Wall Street Journal, this one had something to do with a specific airline carrier and their ongoing financial woes. Didn’t quite like how this one turned out. I don’t normally enjoy drawing airplanes, and trying to anthromorphize one didn’t make it any easier.

I also had a piece for Newsday. This one was a lifestyle section color piece having to do with sending your kids off to summer camp. I liked how I treated the clothing of the two main characters in this one. I usually just do a straight color wash, but the patterns seemed to help break up the rather large color spaces better.

Educational Spots


Got assigned a series of black and white spot illustrations for the Chronicle of Higher Education sometime in February. These were for a supplement publication, and the subjects ranged from affirmative action, to test scores to school finances. The illustration above would be the ‘main illustration’ for either the cover, or for the lead article.
I did a couple different versions for the client, one in simple line art, another with greyscale, and as a change of pace, one as a duotone (pictured above). I don’t quite remember the particular slant of this story, but it was a fun image, and turned out nice.

The second illustration had something to do with the disparate income levels of incoming college students.

I don’t remember what the illustration below that was pertaining to, but went along with this series, and was a nice powerful image.
The fourth illustration was based on a concept provided by the editor, something to do with high school graduates not being properly prepared for college level requirements (thus the bridges not quite meeting in the middle).

The illustration below that was concerned with SAT test scores in some capacity.
The apple image below that, was one my favorites of the series (aside from the opening piece), even though I don’t remember what the article was about. The simpler the image, usually, the happier I am with the end result. Sometimes a concept can get weighted down with way too many concepts and symbols.

Judging by the illustrations from this series, it doesn’t look as if the current state of education doing too well. The next illustration, obviously a take off on the old ‘lemmings to the sea’ concept, is another case in point (add that one to the wormy apple, the broken bridge span, and the crumbling orb at the top to see what I mean).

The next illustration seems to have something to do with either handing off a student from high school to college, or perhaps it had something to do with transferring schools, I don’t quite remember.

The next illustration down, was something to do with SAT testing, but other than that, I don’t recall what else the article was about.

And finally, the illustration at the bottom seems to be concerned with affirmative action in some way or another. Disparate income levels, or unequal opportunities, something along those lines.

Oscar Poster 2007

Oscar Poster

For the past few years, I have been drawing a commemorative Academy Award poster for my brother’s annual ‘Oscar Party’ in Chicago, and printing up a nice big copy of it for him to frame. I usually try to include each of the major nominees in all the acting categories, as well as squeezing in a director or two, a documentary if it is well known, and a small nod to the animated features. It is usually a logistical challenge trying to fit everything in, and takes a lot of research, especially on the faces of little known ‘supporting actor’ nominees. I generally have a lot of fun with these things, and it is nice to keep in practice with my caricature skills, which only occasionally get called upon in my day to day projects.

These posters are available as large quality prints (18 x 20 if I remember correctly), and signed by the artist (contact me for details). Click on the image to see a larger, detailed version.

Managed to see a lot of the nominated films this year prior to the awards: Capote, Walk the Line, Transamerica (which I loved), Cinderella Man, Good Night and Good Luck, Syriana, Crash, Brokeback Mountain, King Kong – – and then caught up with a few more after the awards; History of Violence, Hustle and Flow, Squid and the Whale, Constant Gardener, Pride and Predjudice, Junebug

All the posters in this series can be found under the ‘Portfolio’ section of the masthead.

Lots ‘a’ Spots

Newsday, WSJ

The early part of February found me immersed in lots of little spot illustration assignments. This piece to the left was an assignment for Barrons. I don’t quite remember the topic, something to do with rankings of some sort.

I also got an assignment to do a series of small black and white spot illustrations for the Wall Street Journal. These would all concern the ‘super bowl’ in some capacity. While working in color is always fun, I also like the challenge of simplifying the palatte a bit more, to the point, with these spots where I was thinking in terms of solid black and white, and trying to keep grey middle tones out of the picture altogether. It struck me as a little more ‘masculine’ and in keeping with the subject matter.

In addition to these spots, I had another of the ‘health care’ column spots that I do every other week for the same client. This one was about candy designed to improve dental health, and it resulted in a cute illustration with a trio of frolicking sweets and a molar. (pictured below, right)

A few other spots that came across the desk for the same client in early February, were the two pictured below. A piece on technology and the internet (why the ear, I really don’t remember), and a black and white chart accompaniment piece on overseas investing. (which gave me a chance to work on my globe skills, skills which would come in handy over the next few years)

For the same client, I also was handed a spot having to do with the Chinese economy, or US investments over in China. I seem to remember this being one of the editor’s ideas, and it was simply a matter of fleshing it out.

Also around this time, I got an unusual assignment from Newsday to do a piece on ‘ballroom dancing’. One of the sketch ideas I proposed was that I do a silouette of the dancers with a lot of wild colors in the background. I don’t do an awful lot of silouettes, so it was a bit of a challenge for me, but not nearly so much as the ‘wild colors’. I wasn’t real wild about how this one turned out, but it was fun to try something new.

Children’s Magazine Assignments

AHMM, Carus Publishing, US Catholic

Took in a trio of illustrations for Cricket magazine. Starting to get a reputation around this publisher as the ‘go to’ guy for ‘historical sagas’. This one concerned a pair of young girls during the revolutionary war, who lived at a lighthouse, and managed to fool a British troop ship into retreating from a landing, thinking that a garrison of troops was stationed just over the dunes. I have a soft spot for lighthouses, so this one was a great deal of fun all the way through (plus I got to draw a few little sailing vessels).

Another children’s publication, Oddysey (Cobblestone’s ‘science’ publication), sent me another ‘puzzle page’ (I’d been doing these puzzle page illustrations for a year or more for this publication). Some are easier than others, this one was one of the easier ones.

The image above was another fiction piece for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. This one involved a contract employee building a wall at a convent (other than that, I dont’ remember much else about the story)
The illustration below was for US Catholic, and I don’t quite remember the topic (book reviews or something – late night snacks??), but anyways, I liked how this one turned out. I need to use more solid black in the cartoon illustrations more often, it is a nice effect. At this point, we hadn’t gotten our new dog ‘Lady’ yet, and I was still drawing variations on my old dog ‘Dinky’ who had passed away two years prior.