On Spec

Alternet Books

Because of the excess of down time I’d been experiencing this year, I accepted an assignment of the sort I usually don’t even consider. A series of three sample spec illustrations for a prospective author for a yet unsold book project. Nothing has come of it yet, and I won’t go into details about the book because of my agreement with the author, but I accepted this one because I got a kick out of the writing, and the author was known to me through NPR segments that I’d heard, and it was a book project that I felt I could get behind whole-heartedly. Even if nothing comes of it, I’m glad I spent the time on it, it was a fun diversion from the routine.

The author seemed happy with the spec drawings, and I pretty much forgot about the project after a few months had passed. It wasn’t until around Christmas that I was contacted again, and discussions began to take place regarding the finalization of the project.

I had done these spec illustrations in more of a loose caricature-ish style, reminiscent of some of my editorial cartoon work from previous years. As the project took shape, the style radically changed to more of a retro children’s book feel, for which my standard cartoon style (with minor adjustments) made a nice fit.