Introduction and Pre-Freelance Career Work

personal, Year In Review
Nude study, Oil Pastels, 1988

I had a late start, only taking drawing seriously as a career option at the age of 27. I had been drawing as long as I remember, but for some reason spent most of my twenties avoiding art. An art school dropout (attended two years at the Kendall School of Art and Design), and graphic artist (seven years as a typesetter and art director for a small print shop in Grand Rapids), I only rekindled my drawing ambitions after taking a series of life drawing classes at the local community college in the late eighties.

Nude study, Chalk Pastels, 1988

Working mostly in pastels and charcoal, I was encouraged by the fact that the school hosted a one man show of my work at the campus library. I began to wonder if perhaps I might be able to make a living simply by drawing pictures. How that would happen was still a mystery to me. All I knew was that I was getting burned out in the graphics and typesetting trade, and needed to do something else with my life.

Nude study, Oil Pastels, 1988

I gave notice in early 1989, and was on my own by spring of that year. I was completely directionless, trying my hand at gag cartooning for a couple months, trying to sell the pastels I was doing to the limited edition print market, approaching clip art firms with various pen and ink styles. The first year in business wasn’t anything to brag about, but by the fall and winter of that year, I was starting to see some small success.

Pastel of Maine Lighthouse, 1989