12 December 1992

Bible comics

Around this time, I started working with the Christian Reformed Church in illustrating their school curriculum booklets. This was an ongoing project that lasted for several years, in an on-again, off-again basis. Usually these came in bundles of anywhere from 5 to 25 illustrations at a time, and were in many different styles and formats. This particular one appears to be some sort of writing/drawing activity, filling in the blanks in the story. The purple background wasn't part of my original illustration, but it appears that the designer used scizzors to cut out my art and paste it to a piece of purple construction paper.

The middle east map below was another one from this same early batch of illustrations.

04 December 1992

More Religious Work

These two samples were for the Christian Reformed Church's ongoing curriculum project.

01 December 1992

Xmas Party 1992

Presumably in a fit of nostalgia, after two years of pushing the envelope with regards to style for the annual xmas party invite, I went back to the original style of black and white printed on red astrobrite paper. These annual xmas party invites (which ran from 1984-1995) were thought lost, until I discovered a stash of them in my father's keepsake drawer in 2014 when he passed away.

More Bible Studies

These small spots were also part of the Christian Reformed Church's school curriculum project. One of several in this early batch from December of 92. These particular illustrations appeared in a faux 'newspaper layout' about early christian martyrs.

22 November 1992

Metro Creative Graphics

In November of 1992, I had my first assignment from a New York Clip Art Firm, Metro Creative Graphics. This would remain a fairly steady client of mine through 1999. I don't think any of the artwork I did for them was returned to me, and since nearly all of it was done 'pre-digital', I have little or no memory of most of the jobs that I did for this company. I would find myself occasionally running across familiar looking 'clip art' from time to time on flyers or in newspaper ads, but I could never quite be sure that it was something I did or not. A handful of samples survive from the last few jobs that I did for them, once I had gone 'digital' in the late 90s, but most of it has completely faded into obscurity (a rough estimate of approximately 250 illustrations over about 8 years).

15 November 1992

Dollar Bills

This one was for Strang Publications. The colors didn't turn out too well in the scan (subtle greens and blues seem to have a hard time with my scanner, and this one was fighting with a lot of shiny black in the preacher's coat, which may have affected it).

15 October 1992

Seeing Spots

These small black and white spot illustrations were part of an ongoing regular gig that I did for Marriage Partnership Magazine (Christianity Today) throughout the early 90s. Records are fairly sketchy concerning when each particular spot ran, but I have a pretty good idea that the spots pictured here in this post were from '92 at various times during the year.

14 October 1992

More New Clients

This was an early assignment for the Chronicle of Higher Education. This was a rather large scratchboard on inequality in college sports funding. Also this month I heard from a children's magazine out of Toronto called Chickadee for which I did an illustration layout about early horse evolution. Other new clients in November were; Heartland USA magazine, and Historic Preservation magazine, for which I did several illustrations over the next few years.

15 September 1992

More cartoon spots

These were all spot illustrations that were done for the Worldwide Church of God, although I don't have a clear picture of when exactly they were done. I worked for this client anywhere from 1990 to 1994. If I had to guess, the 'dog scratching at the door' illustration above was probably nearer the end of the period, and the two spots to the left and below were both from sometime in the middle (around '92).

You can usually 'date' the cartoon illustrations by how big the noses are on the characters, and how skinny the legs and arms are. The line tended to be more purposefully 'wiggly' near the beginning, as I was probably emulating the style of some other artists whose art I was attracted to, and when I started getting more self confident, I began to find my own linework style.

Anatomy, Foot Fungus and a Rash of New Clients

This 'mechanical anatomy' illustration was another for Strang Publications in Florida. I used this one many years later in a calendar brochure, and inspired another client to do a variation on this illustration for their own publication. (see February '98)

A couple of new clients popped up in June and July of '92, however I have very little memory of the projects involved. One of them was for Times Mirror Magazines (some illustrations about skiing?), and another was a fossil illustration for the Lapidary Journal. In August I had another assignment for Governing which I do remember quite vividly. It was a full page cartoon assignment about 'innovation' where I had a series of cavemen trying to design alternatives to 'the wheel'. I remember it being quite cute, and I'm sorry to say that the artwork hasn't survived.

In September I got my first assignments from a company called North American Publishing, who would keep me fairly busy over the next couple years. I don't remember much about the jobs, however, and I'm not sure if the artwork was ever returned.

Another new client this month was the Metropolitan Opera Guild in New York who gave me a smattering of illustration assignments during the coming months before disappearing again. (I don't remember much about these either). Also heard from Institutional Investor magazine for the first time in September, another client who would give me repeat business for a short while before dropping out of sight. Corporate Detroit and Michigan Living also called for the first time around this period. Could be that the postcards I was sending out a couple months earlier were getting a few bites.

Also this month, I had a series of small spots on 'athlete's foot' for The Worldwide Church of God. (I love the book titles in the 'library' spot - 'Toe Tales' and 'Fungus and You' -- I don't remember, did I come up with those, or were they handed to me by the client?)

12 July 1992

Magnet Redux

In the first or second year of business, I printed up a limited amount of business card size promotional magnets in full color, thinking that clients could stick them to metal filing cabinets, or refrigerators, anyplace other than stuck in a file folder where it would get lost. These seemed to be popular items, so I went whole hog the next time, printing up larger sized magnets. The printing cost was more expensive, so I did this one in two color. The magnet was designed to fit in a normal sized envelope and would come with a folded card stock brochure (from which the self portrait caricature below was taken).

Well, this was just about the time when computers were starting to be used more frequently in pre-press and design, and I got an angry phone call from one magazine who received my promo package complaining that it sat on his desk in a pile of mail and was in danger of erasing his floppy discs (he didn't say whether or not it actually had caused any loss of data, just that it was thoughtless of me).

Well, it shook me up, and needless to say, I abandoned the 'magnet' promotion from then on out, preferring to err on the side of safety, and not to piss any more potential clients off. It probably should have occurred to me to at least not send them to any 'mac' or 'pc' themed magazines (which is where the angry phone call came from), as they would be the ones most likely to be using computers in their design work at this time. (only three years earlier and I was still doing pasteups the old fashioned way)

At this point, I was still drawing with physical art materials, and shipping finished artwork out via federal express. We had a computer (an early mac, with limited memory and software), but it was mainly used for bookkeeping and word processing duties (I might have started keeping track of my mailing list on the computer around this time). The idea that I would someday do ALL my work in front of a computer wasn't even within the realm of possibility.

15 June 1992


This was the first illustration I did for the Chronicle of Higher Education. This client would go on to be one of my favorites, keeping me busy with interesting and challenging assignments throughout my career to the present day, and for being some of the most pleasant people to work for that I've run across. The artwork for this assignment would certainly have been lost to my infrequent flat file purges, if not for the fact that it lay dormant in the Chronicle's offices for over fifteen years before being returned to me in the summer of '07. It was interesting to see some of these early scratchboard efforts again after such a long time, and was probably the impetus behind me starting this blog, and taking a good long look at my old work, as painful as it might be.

Also this month, marked the first assignment from another source, who would prove to be one of my biggest clients during the 90s. The Christian Reformed Church here in Grand Rapids gave me a cover assignment for their magazine The Banner this month, due to a recommendation by the art director at Eerdmans.

10 May 1992


The above illustration was for the Worldwide Church of God's other publication The Plain Truth, and was one of a series of dinosaur illustrations for an article about love and sex (I forget what the dinosaurs had to do with anything). The two cartoon illustrations were for this client's teen magazine 'Youth 92' , also from May of this year.

15 April 1992


This illustration was for the American Medical Association, about treating alcoholism. The original artwork has since been misplaced, but I found this copy in one of the mailers that I sent out the following year.

I also had a few other new clients this month of a 'mouthpiece' nature. I did a piece on baseball superstitions for the Lions Club magazine (I don't remember this one AT ALL), and I got a spot assignment for the ABA Banking Journal.

13 April 1992

Book Projects

In April of '92 I had my third book assignment from Eerdmans Publishing. This was an 'earth friendly' kids book from a christian perspective (cherishing god's creation etc), paperback, with a color cover and back cover illustration and a whole bunch of inside spots, all done in a loose cartoon style (that was still rather primitive looking at this early stage in my career. The book is still available used on Amazon for mere pennies (link here)

The book was laid out in a faux 'newspaper style' with articles and headlines and little factoids sprinkled around. Most of the illustrations inside were black and white line drawings with spot color added. I remember going in to see the designer, and her having a fondness for my 'rats' (which I used as a continuing motif throughout the book), and her having little cut out snippets of them sprinkled all over her desk (this was back in the days of 'paste up' before computer aided design).

Also this month, I had a couple book cover assignments for Baker Book House. One was a caricature grouping for the cover of a book entitled 6000 Sermon illustrations (still available used on Amazon link here), and another was for the cover of a trade catalog. I found an image of the book cover online (pictured left), and I may or may not still have the original art for the trade catalog cover which I may post at a later date. I also had a pastel cover assignment from David C. Cook Publishing out of Colorado, but my records are spotty on this one, and don't know the name of the book.

01 April 1992

Postcard Series

Sometime in '92 I sent out a series of postcards on a monthly basis, with similar design, as a way of beating clients over the head with my presence. Of the four, I think I was most pleased (then and now) with the image above, for reasons of style and concept. I'm getting to the point in my 'self promotion history', where I loook back at these promotional pieces and wonder how I managed to attract any clients at all.

15 March 1992

Can Drive and a Rash of New Clients

This was a greyscale image that I did for Marriage Partnership Magazine (Christianity Today). This was one of those rare occasions that I used my more traditional 'cartoon style' for this client, otherwise sticking to a modified 'caricature style' in pen and ink. This one was regarding a 'can drive' put on by a library.

Also this month I gained a few more new clients. These would prove to be some nice repeat customers for me over the coming years. One of them was Zillions magazine, a children's version of Consumer Reports who gave me a nice big job consisting of 15 spot illustrations (which don't survive, unfortunately). The other magazine client was Home Office Computing. The job description in my records doesn't ring a bell, and the artwork is long since gone.

05 March 1992


These three illustrations were done for the Worldwide Church of God's teen magazine 'Youth 92' in March of '92. It is interesting to see what I imagined a 'laptop computer' to look like at this early date (pictured below).

15 February 1992

Portrait Assignment

In February of '92 I started a long work association with a local representative (she covered mostly the Western Michigan, Detroit and Chicago markets). I don't have very good records for the jobs that I did for her, so most of the samples that I post will be pure guesswork. This pastel portrait was possibly an agent commision sometime in the early 90s (or it could very well have been for one of my 'religious clients' as it was found among other samples of that sort).

Fallback Position

This illustration was for Legal Times. While I had been doing mostly scratchboard illustration for this client, every once in a while I would fall back on my old 'crosshatching' style that I used to do a lot of back in the 80s whenever the rare illustration assignment would crop up at my 'quick printer' job. Sometimes it was due to expediency issues, or perhaps I was 'out' of scratchboard paper and needed to make a trip to the art store, or in some cases, I was working at a remote location and didn't have my usual art materials handy. But every once in a while, I just thought the style might fit the image better.

I also found this job for the Worldwide Church of God that I did in February of 92, for which I still have the original artwork. Not a very good scan, the colors in the chalkboard were much more interesting in the original.

Also in February, I had a spot assignment from Atlantic City Magazine. My records indicate it was some sort of 'outer space' cartoon, probably as a result of the magnet promotion I sent out the previous fall.