Xmas Mailing

Self Promotion

Finished up the xmas promo mailing. Thanks to Terri for posing for me, and thanks to Keenan for the ideas for the ‘story titles’ and ‘authors’. I’ve been working on this one, off and on, for the past week or so, almost giving up on it a number of times. The oil painting style is pretty unfamiliar to me, and took a lot of false starts before I was able to make it work. I think I should plan on doing a steady campaign of postcards this year, I’ve neglected advertising of late, coasting on my laurels, and it is really starting to show.

Quiet. A Bit Too Quiet.

Newsday, WSJ

Been a very quiet couple of weeks around here. Aside from a reprint and a small job for Newsday last monday (pictured at bottom), the phone has been eerily silent. I’ve got a book cover job that’s been on hold for the past month, and I always chalk up slow periods to a completely irrational and superstitious belief that ‘jobs on hold’ create a sort of ‘phone curse’ that is only lifted when the job is put back in motion again. Even my regular bi-weekly WSJ gig got pushed back a week. So in the meantime, I’ve been working on an xmas mailer to go out early next month to try and drum up some business. The boss wants it completed and ready to send out by next week, so I better get busy. Working in an unfamiliar medium to try and break out of my rut, but of course, trying for something a little different usually means a bit more work and frustrating dead ends while you work through the problems.

(addendum: 11/20 – just heard from the ‘on hold’ job, and it will hopefully be coming down the pike very soon, perhaps by the end of this week, so hopefully the curse is now lifted)

The illustrations I’m using in this post were actually completed back in October for a London based subsidiary of the Wall Street Journal (for a European Sunday Edition, I believe). First time I’d worked with them, and most of the sketching was done on the road while I was driving my Dad down to Arizona for the winter. The print date was to be several weeks later, but now that the date has passed, it is probably safe to post them here at this time. One large illustration and a series of smaller spots on ‘grooming and cultivating talent in the office environment’.

Been kind of a feast or famine kind of year overall. Either very busy, or very slow, but rarely in between. Also, am nearing the twenty year mark and starting to feel my age. I had a long time client retire on me this month. I’ve had several art directors move on to new assignments over the past 5 years, many are surely reaching retirement age, and I’ve even had one client die on me during my time here at the drawing board (and another one who isn’t feeling too good). Makes you think, that’s for sure. About stagnation, about the need to try and push the envelope a little bit and try for something new and fresh. I need a jolt to the system, and no one is going to give it to me, except myself.

Already Thanksgiving week, and the beginning of the Holiday season. I expect a few rush jobs this week, there always seems to be a few ‘desk clearing’ assignments that trickle in just before the long weekend.

A Week of Tight Deadlines

ChronicleHE, Far East Economic Review, WSJ

What looked as if it might be a rather slow work week, ended up being rather full after all due to some late arriving, but quick turnaround jobs. It started over the weekend with an email from the Far Eastern Economic Review from Hong Kong, with a pair of jobs due by Tuesday morning. A portrait (pictured, left), in which I was supplied a few reference photos, and another one that I was simply given the instructions “its about health care” (pictured below). Both went pretty quickly, and I managed to get them done by Monday night.

Also due by Tuesday morning was a job for the Chronicle of Higher Education to accompany an article about ‘affirmative action’, in particular reviewing 4 recent books on the subject. I came up with a sketch on Friday, but the AD wasn’t happy with the original idea, and requested others for Monday. After I sent those on Monday morning, I got an email choosing one of those, and then another email right after that saying ‘wait’, and then a phone call to inform me that the editor just saw all three sketches and wants to go with Friday’s original idea. I should probably save the other sketches, as this topic comes up from time to time. (I should actually save all my unused sketches, but I’m horribly negligent about keeping up with it).

Then added to the mix was my usual bi-weekly gig for the Wall Street Journal (a dubious health care claims column), this week on chinese herbal teas to sooth menstrual cramps. Been doing these for a while now (4-5 yrs?) and they are always fun and challenging. The middle of the week was actually quiet, but then I got another quick one for the same client on Thursday evening with a Friday afternoon deadline (didn’t include an example of this one, it was b&w and not particularly interesting), and then around 3 on Friday I got another call from the same client with a quickie, due at five, about the housing market. Pretty straightforward instructions, a ‘house stuck in a vice’. Had to miss an eye appointment because of it, but it turned out quite nice, and I got rescheduled for next week (my eyesight has been getting worse over the past year, and I’m about due for a new prescription I think – may have to finally go the bifocals route…)