Spots and Squirrels

Barrons, Log Home Living, WSJ

Been kind of busy over the past week. Finished up a quartet of illustrations for AG Edwards (which I’m not including in the blog in deference to the usage nature of the agreement with the client), I also completed a quartet of spots for Barrons, all on different topics – deflation, entrepreneurs from India, hucksterism, and navigation in the digital age. I’ve been doing quite a few spots this year for this particular client, and I’ve usually been quite happy with the results. You’d think I’d be getting burned out from such an immersion in the ‘financial/business’ illustration world for the past 8 years or so, but I seem to be holding up pretty well, idea-wise. It is definitely a more satisfying rut to be stuck in than the religious rut I found myself rooted in back in the mid-90s.

(images) top right: the ‘deflation/interest rates’ illo from the aforementioned series. middle left: another spot from the same series, this one on ‘navigating the digital age’. middle right, below: from the same series, “entrepreneurs from India”. middle left, below: from the same series, “stock hucksterism”.

I’m not sure when these pieces will run, they usually save them up and run them over the course of the following month, sometimes in color and sometimes in black and white depending on whether the page is printed in color that week or not.

Also this week, completed a ‘semi-rush job’ for the Wall Street Journal (two day lead time is actually quite a luxury for this particular client). This piece was on Ethanol and other eco-friendly fuels. I sort of cheated and used a similar solution (corn cob on fuel truck) that I had used before, but this was a bigger illustration, in color, and also utilized a farm scene and pipeline (image to be found further down the page). I was pretty happy with how it turned out. I also finished up a project this week for a London based subsidiary of the same client, but I’m not including those illustrations here, because it doesn’t run for another month or so (perhaps I will include it next month some time nearer to when it runs).

And finally, I also completed a half page illustration Log Home Living. The article was regarding ‘storage solutions’, and the idea was suggested by the client. (while I like a certain amount of freedom in idea generating, I usually feel it is better to get a little bit of input from the client, sometimes, as I tend to work better as a ‘idea bouncer’ than as an ‘idea generator’). (image posted at the bottom of this entry)

A West Coast Cover Assignment

LA Weekly

I started this blog right around this time, and it was with this illustration that I was inspired to start sharing all or most of my work, as a way of tracing the evolution of my career, and also to use this as a broader ‘portfolio’ to share examples of my work.

This assignment was for a new client, LA Weekly, who called me due to seeing my ‘santa postcard’ the previous year. This was for a story about a true life ‘murder mystery’ but without a ‘body’, and I was provided with photo reference of the two detectives involved. The original illustration is above, and below is how it appeared in print. I was at first a little taken aback by how garish the colors looked, but it is growing on me.

New Blog (perhaps)

Self Promotion

I’ve been thinking of perhaps starting a blog devoted to my day job, posting samples of illustration projects on a weekly basis. Still in the planning stages at this point.

addendum Nov 19: Starting now, when I have down time, I may be post-dating selected periods of work moving backwards from the date I started this blog, as a sort-of history and review.

addendum March 2010: Been doing this for three years now (my how time flies, it seems like I just started this blog the other day). Been gradually getting a little attention from it, with a few mentions here and there on the internet, and a few reprint sales because of it. Mostly it is just interesting for me to look back and see what sorts of things I was working on at different points in my past, otherwise it all blends together. Been fun so far, and I think I’ll keep at it.

ADDENDUM: This was the date I first started an illustration “blog” back in 2007. All the entries prior to this date have been ‘back-dated’ using art archives and my invoice history as reference material. In November of 2014, I moved the home of the blog from to its current home on my own website. It has been a 4 year job moving all the entries from the original blog over here, but it looks like I’m getting closer to the finish line.

More Witches


These are more of the black and white illustrations for the ‘witchcraft’ book project that I did in October (along with a few other scratchboard artists) for Llewellyn. These ranged in size from small 2 inch spots to full page illustrations like the one pictured below. I also had a series of four ‘chapter opener’ illustrations (the ones with the ‘oval’ background motif). I did most of these while on the road to Arizona driving my dad back home for the winter, working in motel rooms on my wife’s laptop and tiny little 5 inch tablet. I’m trying to get used to using a small tablet, and laptop, because it is what I am thinking of switching to sometime in ’08, and try to do a bit more work aboard the boat in the summer (operating via cell phone and email through the marina wireless system).

Witches Bird and Sharks

Barrons, Christian Home & School, Llewellyn, Newsday

Over the past week or so, I’ve been working on a large batch of black and white spot illustrations to fill out a book for Llewellyn Publishing on the wiccan religion. I’d done the cover earlier in the summer, and they contacted me later for some last minute inside work (I gathered that I would be among a number of other illustrators working on this project, in order to get it done in time). Many of them I finished while on the road, driving my Dad to Arizona, working at night in hotel rooms on my wife’s laptop. I’ve included only a few of them here (there were something like 12 of them total, on a variety of topics). After a long dry spell during the end of September, it was a relief to get a lot of work back on the docket, but at the same time, the drive that I committed to with my father made the timing a little stressful.

The subject matter was a nice change of pace, from my usual financial topics that I’ve been mired in the past few years. Nice to not have to draw a businessman’s suit, and in some cases, even got to do away with clothing altogether.

ADDENDUM (Jan 9, 2008): I just got my complimentary copies in the mail today for this book, and it looks pretty nice. Can be purchased at Amazon here.

When I got back from Arizona, I had a few color pieces for Barrons. I had done a number of sketches earlier for a general all purpose topic of ‘risk’, and these were a few leftover ideas from that earlier session, that I was asked to finish up for future usage on upcoming articles. I’ve included the ‘measuring the shark bite’ example, of the two that I completed early in the week (below left).

Also had another quick black and white daily for Newsday, this one on endangered New Jersey wetlands, and had to do a little research on a specific species of ‘Meadowlark’ (pictured at bottom). I liked how this one turned out. I always seem to prefer how the black and white pieces turn out over the color ones, not sure why. The color seems to dillute the power of the scratchboard technique just a little bit.

And to round out the month, had an illustration assignment for Christian Home & School about ‘being a bit too busy’ (the woman in the story is so engrossed in her phone conversation and coffee that she runs a red light and nearly runs down a little girl at the crosswalk, only noticing her in the rear view mirror after she passed). Got to experiment with a different medium than the usual scratchboard, using washes and colored pencils for a lighter sketchy feeling. Thanks to the wife for rushing out into the driveway to pose in the family car for me.