Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime Blues

AHMM, Barrons, ChronicleHE, Newsday, WSJ

A rather nice piece for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. Been working for them since ’89, and while the pay is on the lower end of the scale, the assignments are always challenging and fun. I enjoy trying to take a straightforward scene from the story and give it a sense of mystery or suspense with little more than lighting and layout. This is one of the better ones I’ve done in a while for this client, I thought. I suspect that their budgets have shrunk quite a bit from the days when I first started working for them, because the early issues that I’ve appeared in contain 8-10 illustrations, and these days you are lucky to see 2-3. I’d love to do a cover for them sometime, but in the nearly 19 years that I’ve been working for them, I’ve never been asked.

Had a touchy same day assignment around this time from Newsday, regarding rape and investigations thereof (pictured left). Also during this time period, I received a couple spot assignments from Barrons, one involving ‘risk’ (the man fishing, about to land a bigger catch than he expects) (below right), and another one regarding George Bush’s stewardship of our shaky economy (below left).

By this time of the year, it is becoming more and more clear that business has definitely slowed down quite a bit from the pace set by the year before. I’ve been studying the numbers, and while it is heartening to see a buildup in certain client’s workload and a steady addition of new clients to the mix, it is also distressing to see that numbers across the board are down as far as frequency of assignments, from all of my clients. Don’t know whether to blame the stagnant economy, or my own stagnation as far as advertising or work quality goes. I’ve definitely been experiencing much more ‘down time’ this year than I have seen since the mid 90s.

Although I’m not going to miss his policies or administration, I’m certainly going to miss the ease with which I am able to caricature this guy. Something I never would have guessed years ago when he first came upon the scene. I never did get good at Clinton until years after he left office, and I suspect his wife is going to be difficult to capture as well.

The illustration below was for Newsday, for one of the designers that I get infrequent assignments from. I remember a lot of back and forth on the sketches and layouts, with a lot of editorial opinions weighing in on what type of ‘scale’ it needed to be and the weights and the angles at which the two sides were to appear. I don’t even remember what the story was about (something about balancing your investments I assume). The final product of this ‘committee think’ project turned out remarkably dull, considering how much debate went into its construction:

Also had a small but complex spot for the Chronicle of Higher Education, something about differening financial paths that are taken by students to eventually reach their degree goals, as opposed to the more conventional basis on which financial aid is assessed.

And of course, the usual ‘health care’ column for the Wall Street Journal, of which I am endlessly grateful to have, especially when times are slow (a piece on knee replacement pictured above in the first paragraph).