Promising Start to the week

Baker Book House, Self Promotion, WSJ

Got a call from a couple old clients I hadn’t heard from in a long while over the past weekend, one of which I finished up this morning (pictured above, for the Wall Street Journal, click on the image to see a larger version). Been kind of down in the dumps this past month, with business remaining quite sluggish for the first quarter of the year, and it was nice to get back to my ‘wheelhouse style’, with a project that was a joy to work on.

Otherwise, I’ve been immersed in more book project work that have to remain under wraps for now (and expecting sketch approvals on another one any day now). I started work on the 4th ‘Little Amish Girl’ book that I’m doing for a local publisher, and below are a few samples from this project that I’ve been working on over the past week.

I had to make some drastic decisions regarding my online marketing plans in the past few weeks, and ended up dropping one my listing sites. I’ve decided to put the advertising funds that I would have spent on that website, and put out another postcard in the near future. This was a self promo piece I did a couple years ago, but have yet to make use of, and will likely be sending these out in the next couple weeks.

Still Here

AHMM, Green Prints, Uncle Goose Toys, US Catholic

Been over a week since my last post. Been keeping fairly busy, but as with a lot of my work this year, I’m unable to share it on the blog until after publication. Last week spent most of my time working on a series of 4 illustrations for a book project I thought had been put to bed months ago, but a few extra illustrations were added to the pile. Still awaiting approval on a batch of 90 illustrations for another project, and have been given the go ahead on starting sketches for the next ‘Amish Girl’ book. But in the meantime, I’m still working on this and that short term project for my magazine clients. Above is another fiction piece for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine (24 years working for this digest this month). Below is a spot illustration (and an additional widget of a sprig of parsley) for GreenPrints (a newer client I picked up last fall and for whom I’ve done 3 or 4 previous assignments).

And somewhere in the past couple weeks I also had a pro bono assignment from a friend of mine, which harkens back to my earliest days of freelancing. Back when I was in High School, my very first assignments were from my Mother, who would hire me to draw a caricature poster for various retiring co-workers. I usually would do these on poster board bought from the local drug store using a box of colored markers (I can still recall sitting at the family dining room table late in the evening trying to milk the last bit of color from quickly depleting felt tips). This one was a caricature to decorate a flyer/invite for a friend of a friend’s upcoming retirement party.

Last week, I also received a package from the UPS man, with a box of wooden presidential blocks that I had provided illustrations for about 4 years ago. (Currently working on a new project for this toy manufacturer, and it was brought up in conversation that I hadn’t yet received a sample to see how they turned out)

This morning I also finished up a piece for US Catholic (pictured below) on Urban Sprawl.

In other developments, over the weekend, I started working with a new animation program (starting work on a new music video for my band, as a way of continuing my education in animation in hopes of eventually turning it into another branch of TFI). I’ll be posting some ‘sneak peeks’ in the coming weeks. So far, the program has been a challenge to learn the ins and outs of, but the leap forward in the professionalism of the end product has been very encouraging.

Mid Week Roundup

ChronicleHE, Red thread, River Styx

Been a very busy week/weekend so far. Over the weekend I had a rush job for the Jewish Monthly News out of Detroit. This was a portrait of the victim of an unsolved murder from back in the 70s. I seemed to think it called out for something a little different than I usually do, so I tried for some ‘Bernie Fuchs’-esque techniques using mixed medias and a heavy dose of bleach (this was a style that was heavily pushed during my art school days in the early eighties, which was already about 10 years out of date at that time). It was fun and refreshing to try something new and I was quite pleased with the end result (and still managed to go out and enjoy some of the beautiful weather we had this weekend here in Michigan). Click on the image above for a larger version.
On Monday, I finished up a book cover illustration which has been percolating around here for the past month. Unfortunately that one will have to remain under wraps for now.
On Tuesday, which is my usual day for driving over to Lansing to see my Dad, I goofed up and misunderstood a deadline for an old client. I had thought the illustration was due on Wednesday at noon, but I got a call around 3:45 from the designer who informed me that in fact the deadline was Tuesday at noon. I made a mad dash for the home office (and all the way home drawing the image in my head, and trying to figure out ways of getting it done as fast as possible), and once there, managed to get the thing done in about 45 minutes flat and shooting it out in an email by 5:30ish. (image pictured below)

On Wednesday, I now had a little more time for a River Styx fiction illustration, pictured below (and for several rough sketches planned for the afternoon for a wooden block project). A few more book project assignments also came in earlier this week (more ‘hush hush’ stuff that I won’t be able to share) that I’ll likely be occupying myself with over the remainder of the week, and I’m expecting the sketch approvals for another book to show up any day now. Meanwhile, we are in the final stages of recording our new CD, and I’ve started a new animation, so I probably shouldn’t be wasting any more time on this blog. See you next week sometime when I emerge again into the sunshine.