Dollars and Sense

comics, Freaks of Nurture Comics, WSJ

A midweek assignment for the Journal’s sunday edition, above, and I have to credit the previous ‘army men’ job for giving me a breakthrough in how I handle ‘drawing dollars’. This is a subject matter that pops up from time to time, and I’ve been struggling with finding a satisfactory way of portraying ‘money’ for the past ten years if not more. I’ve tried the ‘collage’ technique in the past, using scans that I’ve found online, and I’ve tried drawing them from scratch, manipulating, filtering, etc etc etc, but I’ve never quite been happy with how they integrate into the finished product. I think I may have stumbled onto something with these past two projects (anyhow, it’s an improvement).

Meanwhile, I’ve also been working on another of my ‘freaks of nurture’ comics. This is the first page of a two page story about a young man’s introduction to the birds and the bees courtesy of his drunken father. (as usual, click on the image to see a larger version). The second half of the story will probably be posted sometime next week.

Army Men

Business North Carolina

A fun project this week from North Carolina Business magazine. The Art Director wanted to use the ‘classic army men toys’ and have them dropping into town with ‘dollar’ parachutes (click on the image above for a larger version). Since I was unable to find the reference material for the angles I had in mind, I decided to go out and buy a set of these figures so I could pose the reference shots myself. I eventually found them at a local toy store, but the ‘classic soldiers’ were only available in a jumbo bucket (which also included tanks, plastic rocks, and air support), so it is a wonder I managed to get this job done, once I tore myself away from playing with these guys on my desktop.

On the “Interwebs”

Self Promotion

Besides the upcoming postcard, and the various email mailers I’ve been sending out this spring, I’ve also been trying to boost my web exposure with a variety of sites (some paid, others not). To start out with, I recently renewed my membership at, with whom I’ve been associated since the spring of 2000. (click on each screenshot to visit the site in question)

And, as a side benefit to being an Adbase subscriber, I also recently set up a portfolio site on their ‘Found Folios’ site (I’ve yet to max out their image hosting capabilities, so I’ll probably be adding to the samples at this site)

Also, this year I signed up with a UK based portfolio site, in order to try and make more contacts across the pond. Also, as a side benefit to this site, I am able to bundle extra postcards with regular mailings that this company sends out to potential clients. Time will tell if this proves worthwhile. (I’ve found this site works better with Firefox as a browser rather than Safari)

In addition, I’ve also signed up on the free site Illustrationmundo. Not sure if this one actually reaches any clients, but has a ‘news’ feature that I’ve been trying to make use of on a regular basis just to keep active and ‘visible’.
Another couple that I’m not really sure are all that important (but I want to cover all the bases) are Facebook and LinkedIn.

And then of course, there is this blog, which I started in 2007, and then my own personal website which pre-dates all of the above. Interesting though, how good old fashioned postcard printings send via snail mail still seem to be the most effective marketing tools.

Promising End of Week Upturn

Newsday, WSJ

A slow couple of weeks, but these past few days have seen a couple of new jobs trickle in. A little too soon to get optimistic, but I certainly appreciate having projects crossing the desk again. The one above, on the nuclear situation in Japan, was a same day project for Newsday, and I also had a quick turnaround project for the Wall Street Journal this week (pictured below). Interesting lately, how I sometimes like the rough sketches better than the finish (sketches for both projects included below — the WSJ project had several changes to the ‘acronyms’ before the final round). Perhaps I should turn my ‘sketch’ style into yet another marketable medium.

I also got a call this afternoon for another project for next week that sounds like it will be fun, involving those little plastic ‘army men’ toys, and I’ve also been working on yet another comic strip for the ‘freaks of nurture’ project. Stay tuned.

Rattling the Bushes Again

Self Promotion

Slowest work year since the early 90s so far in 2011, so I’m once again putting together a new mailing postcard in an effort to rattle the bushes and get some momentum going around here. While brainstorming about what to do this year (we decided that another large format card might be the best bet, since it worked pretty well last year), I got to thinking about what kind of work that I’d like to promote, and I remembered how much I enjoyed doing maps back in the early years of the past decade. This grew into the concept of doing one of those ‘picture maps’ with the ‘greetings from’ lettering across the face. My original concept was to draw a ‘specific’ item for each and every state (either a landmark, or famous person, or major industry), but after a while, the concept turned into a sort of career retrospective, where I was lifting images from old illustrations spanning the past twenty one years. Also, I wanted to highlight my versatility, plus the concept of using my old illustrations as reprint art, so I tried including as many different styles as possible. I’ve put together an ‘annotated’ version of the card with a special page off of my website, which will explain where each of these illustrations came from, original client and date, and also explain several of the personal tidbits hidden throughout the image. (click on the image above to see a larger version) These should be going out in the next couple of weeks, so if you don’t end up on the mailing list and wish to receive one, be sure and drop me an email and I’ll make sure you get added to the recipients.

Addendum: August 2011: I think this ended up being one of the least effective mailers I’ve ever sent out. I got one call, from a designer looking to have me do an illustration of an ‘old time ‘greetings from’ postcard’. Another oddity about this mailing, was the fact that we never received a single ‘return to sender’ postcard back to us in the mail (usually we receive at least 25-50), which makes me wonder how reliable the mailing service we use actually is.