Break in the Routine

AHMM, Barrons, Highlights, Miami Herald, WSJ

A new client this month, referred by one of the designers from my regular national newspaper client: The Miami Herald, and the first assignment from them was a full page illo for an article about a growing trend of retirees buying properties down in Mexico. Tried to keep the colors bright and colorful, but wasn’t really pleased with how they turned out. I always seem so lost on ‘oversize’ projects like this. The scratchboard just doesn’t seem to lend itself to that format (or it is a shortcoming in my own approach to it – I certainly don’t get enough practice at it). A week or so later I got another assignment from the same client – about mortgages and hispanics, as I recall. This one seemed a little more successful. The white background seems to help the scratchboard ‘pop’ a little better. And I liked how I was able to anchor it with a rather stylizing ‘cityscape’ at the bottom. The house at top was kept rather stylized in shape as well, in order to give the ‘arrow’ shape of it more thrust.

Another quartet of illustrations for AG Edwards (which I don’t include here in deference to their usage agreement) came through during this time, and my usual ‘health care’ column gig for the WSJ continues to shore up my workweek on every other Monday. The one to the right is presumably about weight loss, and a new type of ‘bathroom scale’.

Above is another ‘mystery fiction’ piece for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine that came through during this time period. This one required some research on police uniforms and ‘dumpsters’. Always interesting to try and find research materials on obscure objects like this, things that you see over and over in your daily life, but never really take a good long look at how they are put together, or at the details. These projects are always fun, I’m usually given lots of freedom on them, and I enjoy pretending I’m a pulp illustrator from the 40s illustrating a cheesy detective story. To the right, and a complete departure from the heavier stuff I’ve been immersed in more and more is a goofy little children’s puzzle for Highlights magazine. I did a series of spots for the same puzzle/activity page of this particular issue, of which this is just one example.

Then I also had another spot for Barrons, of which I’ve been getting an increasing amount of work from this year. This one concerned investors doing a bit of ‘detective work’ on the companies they wish to invest in.

April Showers

America, Barrons, Far East Economic Review, Newsday, WSJ

Around this time, in addition to the regular bi-monthly ‘health care’ column for the WSJ (pictured right), I received an assignment from America magazine, a jesuit publication I’ve been doing a fair amount of work for over the past few years (although this would end up being one of the very few I would get this calendar year), something to do with communion and breaking bread (the exact topic escapes me). (pictured above) The nice thing about this client has always been the freedom to experiment in different styles, for instance, on this one, I played around with a combination of light washes and colored pencils, and adding different transparent layers over the whole thing to add depth (all digitally of course).

Also in the mix during this time period, were a few spot illustrations for Barrons, a publication I’ve been doing more and more work for this year. The piece on the left was for a story about carbon taxes – my least favorite things to draw, cars and buildings, but in this case I thought they turned out rather nice (a little research goes a long way). And the one below is yet another visit with our old cliche friends the bull and bear. This time ringing bells for some reason, a reason which has now been long forgotten.

A same day black and white assignment from Newsday came through around this time (pictured below). The topic was a story about improper teacher/student romantic relationships.

Another portrait for the Far Eastern Economic Review, a Hong Kong client, also came through around this time. More practice on both portraiture techniques, and on asian faces in general.