The Good the Bad and the Ugly

Barnes & Noble, Barrons, Miami Herald, WSJ

An interesting couple of weeks, where I did one of the illustrations that I’ve been the most pleased with in a long time, another illustration that has to be one of the oddest that I’ve done in a long time, and another one that started out nice, but ended up being one in which I was extremely disappointed with myself for letting slip through the cracks.

Aside from the usual bi-monthly WSJ gig for the health column (left), I also picked up a new client, Barnes and Noble Publishing. The assignment was an interesting subject matter, and came about through one of my mailers that I had sent out a couple years ago portraying a sailing vessel set upon by a giant squid. Another nice aspect was the time frame, which was tight by some standards, but when you are used to same day or next day work, like I’ve grown accustomed to, a couple weeks feels like the lap of luxury. Enough time to really devote to a good layout, and the time to really spend making sure the finish is just the way you want it, fix problems that crop up, experiment with different colors. I liked how it turned out, and the client seemed quite happy with it, as it resulted in another assignment a month or so later. One thing I would change, looking at it now a couple months later, is the ‘plume’ on the pirate’s hat, I don’t like how it is flowing up and away, and interferes with the lightning bolt.

Around this time, I also took in a trio of assignments for Barrons. Been doing a lot of work for them this year, and they are always fun and challenging. Got to play around with some new ‘cloud ideas’ I’d been toying with on the illustration above, a piece on ex-pat citizens. The illustration below had something to do with bloated budgets (I think), and below that a piece on federal bailouts. They don’t always appear in the magazine in color, but I usually provide them with both a color and greyscale version depending on whether the story appears on a ‘color page’ that particular issue.

Also during these few weeks, I received an assignment from the Miami Herald, a large full page assignment, with a very short deadline. I’d done a few assignments for this client before, but this was a little tighter than the previous time windows I was provided. The story was about US citizens going abroad to Cuba to get medical attention. It took a couple rounds of sketches to eventually find a suitable idea, and then it was a mad rush to get the thing finished. I spent a lot of time making sure the main thrust of the illustration looked good (the patients in the boat, the outboard motor, the water), but was rushing through the background elements (the trees, island and hospital). I was very disappointed in myself for how the hospital in the background turned out. Perspective was all screwed up, trees were copied and pasted in a rushed fashion. Not incredibly proud of this one. (pictured below).

And then there was this illustration. Got an email out of the blue from a fellow who runs a ‘Kilt’ website who wanted me to do an illustration ‘of a kilt’. Whatever I wanted just based on the theme. I’m never much good at ‘anything I want to do’, I work much better given at least a little bit of direction. Also gave me a pretty open deadline, which is always a mistake. Well, when I eventually got it done (kept putting it off for more pressing assignments), the client seemed happy with it. I think he may be selling it on tee shirts.