Settling in nicely after a couple years of a learning curve on the digital changeover. I have a comfortable collection of clients, with wide ranging subject matter to keep my restless creativity stoked. The Wall Street Journal has become of one my bigger clients this year, but still hasn’t hit the high point that it would in a few years. Newsday, with whom I started back in the early to mid nineties (mostly with black and white art) has grown to using me for more wide ranging assignments including full color supplement cover assignments, and features with multiple spot illustrations.
The Children’s magazine market keeps me fairly busy as well. Cobblestone, with its multiple titles (covering Science, History, Geography, etc), generally gives me 3-4 assignments per month, and Cricket Magazine is still sending me work after a decade of working together (in a decade’s time, these two companies will merge, and I their payment policies will force me to stop working for them). Zillions and the Children’s Television Workshop use me less often, but the jobs are usually much more lucrative.
Still doing multiple workbook projects for Instructional Fair, and several books for other publishers like Quarasan and Brown Publishing (but unfortunately, since they went through my agent, I have little information about what specific book project I was working on at any given time).
On the other side of the spectrum, I had several long time clients that I was starting to grow weary of, either because of the low rates (that I was happy to get in my early days, but now seem ludicrous compared to other work that was currently coming in), or because of subject matter. I was especially growing tired of the many evangelical clients, and the subject matter I found myself drawing to keep them happy. One particular ‘classroom bible poster’ project took up a great deal of time this year, and I found myself leery of using any of the work as self promotion, not wanting to give the wrong impression to potential clients.
I also had my very first instance of a client refusing to pay me for my work. I forget what the dispute was all about, but I was able to turn a lot of the work that I did for this client into Tee shirt designs in later years, and a few became fairly steady earners. And, speaking of reprint sales, one cover illustration I did for the Jesuit publication ‘America’ this year, ended up in later years being my biggest selling image on Zazzle (the ‘book tree’ image below).
This was also the first year I began advertising with the online portfolio site theispot.com. I would stick with them (off and on) over the next few decades.