A Quartet of Financial Spots

ABA, Barrons, Newsday

Barrons approached me with a series of spot illustrations for upcoming articles. One of them would be about ‘faith based investing’, and one of the sketch ideas for this particular concept was chosen for the finish, and would later be resurrected again as a cover illustration over coming months. I would also use a similar idea for a small black and white spot for another publication. Thanks to Michaelangelo for the iconic ‘hand of god’.

Each spot was of a different subject, the one to the right was something to do with stocks at that time growing to healthy abundance, and bonds withering on the vine. The editor suggested this concept of a garden with some of the plants receiving beneficial sunlight and the others in shade.

The spot to the left with the fellow being left behind by the motorboat, was for the same client, but I don’t quite remember the topic on this one. I did enjoy the tiny ‘sailboat and lighthouse’ scene in the background. Nice and simple with a minimum of linework.

And finally, the spot to the right, something to do with measuring your portfolio. I seem to remember a lot of back and forth with the editors about this one, not being sure how to picture a ‘portfolio’, but after the dust settled, we ended up with a nice little image, and I thought the colors turned out quite striking on this one.

Then, for Newsday, I got a rare color job (rare for this time period), something to do with voting booths, if I remember correctly.

Then also, around this time I landed an assignment for a full page illustration for the American Bar Association (it had been about a year since the last assignment). The jobs from this client tend to be more heavily art directed than most. I usually receive a rough sketch of what they are looking for from the AD. This one was something to do with a rallying cry for young law students. I treated the grass and hillside a little differently than I’ve approached this sort of thing before. Not sure if it was entirely successful, but it gave me something fresh to occupy my time. Lots of grass and landscape can tend to be a little tedious sometimes.

The Ides of March

America, Highlights, Honolulu Magazine, US Catholic, WSJ

A rare (these days at least) cartoon assignment came through in the middle of March from Highlights magazine (pictured above). I don’t remember the backstory on this one too clearly. The little brother wants to play wiffle ball with his big brother, but he doesn’t have the time for him. To the left is another of my ‘health care’ column spots for the Wall Street Journal. The illustration below, was another chance to stretch the old ‘cartoon legs’, this one for US Catholic magazine, and concerned getting along with your ‘fundamentalist neighbors’.

The spot to the right was another ‘chart accompaniment’ for the Journal. This was another one of those that had to fit in a rather strange sized inverted L space. The topic was something about crumbling infrastructure or perhaps just shaky times ahead for the markets.
The same client, different weekend, another ‘chart accompaniment’. This one about the housing market no doubt. Early rumblings about the following years’ ‘burst housing bubble’.
Plus I got a call from a new client around this time. Honolulu magazine needed a spot illustration about a local girl who tries out for the Jeopardy program. This would lead to a few more spots for this publication in the coming months.
America magazine approached me mid-March with a larger full page illustration. Something to do with a ‘call to arms’ over something or other. The ‘bullhorn’ seems to be getting a lot of use this month.

A Few Oddball Assignments

AHMM, Barrons, WSJ

Above is another fiction piece for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. This was an ‘inner city mystery’ with a rotund detective. Had some fun putting together the buildings in the background from a number of reference sources, almost in a modified collage technique.

Another spot illustration for my long time ‘health care’ column gig for the Wall Street Journal. These come about every two weeks on a Monday, and usually run on a Tuesday. This piece was on Transendental Meditation. I usually come up with a series of three concepts for each story, and sometimes the client picks the more conservative idea, and other times surprises me with one of my more outre notions. This would be an example of one of the more ‘conservative ones’.

This would be one of those times when the clients provided me with a few of the more ‘outre’ ideas. Barrons asked me to do a ‘road sign’, similar to one of those iconic ‘falling rocks’ signs, but with a person with their pockets hanging out and uncle sam both falling off a cliff. OK. Kind of a strange one, but I had fun trying to make the sign look as interesting as possible, considering. Unfortunately, I think it ended up running in black and white, which decreased the effect considerably.
Another strange request around this time came from The Wall Street Journal. I was asked to draw a map of South Africa, with a cluster of houses placed in the areas mentioned in the article, and then lay the South African map across the country. Kind of confused looking I thought, but gave it my best shot.

The piece below, for the same client, had something to do with drug prices, I assume. I think you can blame me for this concept.

Also, for the same client, was a piece about children who were ‘finicky eaters’ growing up to be adults who are ‘finicky eaters’. I thought this was one of the more successful pieces of the month. Simple, yet funny.

In Like a Lion

Banking Journal, Barrons, Carus Publishing, ChronicleHE, New Zealand Herald, Newsday

Some interesting pieces came through in the early part of March. The illustration above was for the Chronicle of Higher Education, and had something to do with predicting upcoming supreme court battles.

And as a nice break from the routine, I had a trio of black and white assignments from Cicada magazine (the ‘older brother publication’ to Cricket, published primarily in Black and White). Since I was assigned two stories in the same issue, I tried to make each of them slightly different in style. The one above was to accompany a poem about a moose, and the two below was about a friendship between a couple of high school students, and one of them gets a rather provacative tattoo. Fun to stretch a little and try out new styles, even if I sometimes fall flat on my face. Thanks to my wife for her beautiful hands on the ‘moose’ picture, always a pleasure to draw.

Around this time, I also received an illustration assignment from a new client, Banking Journal, who wanted me to draw a humorous scene of bank customers auditioning for the bank officers. If you look closely, you can see a self portrait hiding in the crowd of potential auditioners.

I got a rather complex piece from Newsday. This one a ‘maze’ illustration having to do with prescription drugs, and I remember it was a logistical challenge, working out the maze so that it was actually ‘solvable’ (didn’t occur to me in the first version, so I had to go back and revise the illustration). A nice piece when we eventually finished with it, and worth the trouble.

And finally, I got a job from a new client, The New Zealand Herald, who had, at the time, the distiction of being the furthest geographically of any client I had heretofor worked for. It was interesting working for someone on the far side of the globe, where it was technically already ‘tomorrow’ when the job was assigned. The job had something to do with religious tensions, and the sample pictured is actually only half of the original illustration, which had a big color sky section above, for text to be placed over.