Wrapping Up July

ChronicleHE, Cricket, WSJ

The month of July is nearing an end, and I’ve a few projects to post from the past few weeks. The historical illustrations above and below (and the accompanying map) were all for a story in an upcoming issue of Cricket magazine. The scratchboard style seems to net me a lot of these ‘historical accuracy’ type assignments, which I can understand, as it has a certain ‘antique’ feel to it. This project was a bit tricky, because, while the client provided lots of reference material, there was also a lot of stumbling around in the dark with regards to accurate depictions of this or that costume or prop.

This latest ‘aches & claims’ illustration (on varicose veins) for the Wall Street Journal was completed in downtown Chicago, while we were attending our son’s college orientation. It was interesting to do my work while sitting in front a large plate glass window with a view of Lake Michigan on the 8th floor of the city’s oldest skyscraper. (Keenan is attending Columbia College in the fall, and planning on a double major with saxophone jazz studies and acting) Very excited and nervous for him, it looks like a great place to go to school.

Earlier this week, I had another group of ‘ideas’ illustrations for the Chronicle of Higher Education. This has been an ongoing series of black and white illustrations I’ve been doing this year for special election supplements for this magazine. This particular batch had to do with global warming policies of the republicans and democrats.

Also this month, I completed a cd cover design for an independent recording artist, but I’ve decided I’ll hold off on posting those illustrations until the cd is released (should be sometime in the next month). And, since we are coming up quickly on August, it is time to start thinking about our annual family vacation plans. For the past few years, we have been going on a ‘disc golf’ vacation (picking a destination and then sampling local courses), and then for the other half of the break, taking a sailboat ride somewhere on Lake Michigan. Next week, we plan on driving to Ontario for our ‘disc golf tour’ (and probably bringing work along with me, since I have another large project lined up), and we haven’t quite yet decided on a destination for the boat trip (probably in two weeks’ time).

Mid-July Work

Cruising World, LA Weekly, Miami Herald, Newsday, WSJ

Heard from an old client this week that I haven’t had a chance to work for since early this year (their art director and my ‘usual contact’ was given ‘early retirement’ in January), Newsday, the Long Island Newspaper. This illustration assignment was for a sunday section cover to accompany an article about Alzheimer’s patients. I took advantage of my Dad staying with us this week, to use him as a model for one of the characters (my wife stood in for another one, and the other two were from other sources). I was quite pleased with how this one turned out, both from an illustrative, and from a conceptual standpoint.

The previous week, I had an assignment from a new client, Cruising World Magazine. I was tickled to get this one, being a sailing enthusiast myself, but also a bit nervous about how much attention to technical detail it would ensue. I was given lots of handy reference to the boat in question, however, the angle at which I chose to draw this boat, was the one angle not covered in the reference photos, so I had to do a bit of guessing and camoflage at the same time.

Had another assignment for LA Weekly this week. This was a book review for a murder mystery set in the Hollywood hills, and I had a bit of fun with this one. Originally, I was going to use the ‘hollywood sign’ with a single woman’s pump in the grass, but after sketching out the undulating letters on the hillside, I felt that a reclining woman’s figure would fit there better. One of those rare occasions where I did the figure without any photo reference.

The above ‘three panel’ assignment was for the Wall Street Journal this week, something to do with possible economic scenarios that could play out in the near future. The illustration below was a full page assignment for the Miami Herald that I did sometime in the middle of last week, something about credit card debt. Of the two sketches I submitted for this concept, I actually preferred the one that didn’t get chosen, and may finish that one up on my own when I get some free time.

Whirlwind Couple of Weeks

ChronicleHE, Highlights

Been so busy the past few weeks, that I haven’t had a chance to update the blog. A Chicago wedding weekend, then deck renovations in the back yard, then my son’s graduation open house, and top it all off with a regular workload, not only of new work, but revisions to work completed earlier in the year.

I had a chance to work in my cartoon style again, which I haven’t done in quite some time. The above illustrations and the ones below were all for an upcoming issue of Highlights, on their ‘puzzle/activities’ page. I even had to come up with a simple soduku type rebus puzzle, which was a bit tricky for me, as I barely understand the regular soduku puzzles. (alert readers will recognize my pit bull ‘Lady’ in the illustration above, and our deceased cat ‘Ripley’ making an appearance from beyond the grave in one of the illustrations below).

Also have been working on a cd cover for a client over the past month. I’m not sure what the current status of this job is quite yet, so I’ll wait until later to post samples from this project. It is a trio of faux ‘tarot card’ designs, plus an additional illustration for the back cover. The music is quite nice, and I’ll be sure to post a link to the cd when it hits the shelves.

Earlier this week, I had another supplement assignment for the Chronicle of Higher Education. This one involved three black and white illustrations, plus a series of small icons depicting the various ‘generational splits’ in the population (boomers, generation x, etc etc). I came up with a faux ‘fisher price toy’ solution (my younger sister used to play with these toys when she was a kid), and with a few minor modifications (race, gender, etc), they didn’t stray too far from the original rough concept. I decided to portray myself as the ‘gen x’ model. Even though I am technically in the ‘boomer’ age designation (cut off date of 62 or 64 depending on who you read), I have never felt a part of of that generation (I was 6 years old during Woodstock fer pete’s sake).

Whirlwind Part Two

Far East Economic Review, WSJ

The piece to the left was for the Wall Street Journal over the fourth of July weekend. We had a large electrical/wind storm come through the day before this job was due, and we had problems with electricity and internet connections at our house, so I ended up taking the computer and tablet down to a coffee shop downtown and working remotely there on that morning. This was one of the semi-regular pieces I do for the Sunday Journal, but a rarity in that this one was published in color (perhaps a special edition for the holiday weekend). I also had another regular illustration for the Journal earlier this week. This is the ‘dubious health care’ column that I illustrate every other Monday for this client. This particular one was regarding a certain flower’s purported claims for healing damaged skin (sunburn, radiation etc). I debated on making the woman nude, but played it safe with indications of a bathing suit. The model and pose is an homage to a favorite album cover image from my parent’s record collection back in the 70s. I usually publish these spots much smaller in this blog, but wanted to show one of them a little larger for a change of pace, to better show the details. They usually appear in the paper at a size of 2 inches by 1 and a half inches.

A couple weekends ago, I also had an illustration assignment for the Far Eastern Economic Review in Hong Kong. This one fell due on the weekend of my son’s graduation open house, and I remember getting up extra early on Sunday morning in order to get it done in time to help out with preparations. This one was about China’s air pollution woes.

And now, completely off the topic, I have a photo from my office window from a few days ago, when we had an interesting and large visitor to our bird feeder. A large tom turkey, who then proceeded to tromp around in my garden, snapping a bunch of flower stalks.