15 December 1996

More Bible Studies

This example was one of several 'bible stories' illustrations that I did as part of an ongoing project for the Christian Reformed Church. I'm not exactly sure when I did this particular piece, but I'm guessing from the style that it was probably sometime near the end of my 'traditional medium' usage. The piece below is another for the same client from probably around the same time.

These two spots were also from around the same time, and for the same client (very well could have been the same project). I'll probably have a few more from the same project to post here later as I dig deeper in the archives.

15 November 1996

Football Season

It is amazing how few illustrations have survived from 1996. Not only do I not recognize a lot of the job descriptions in the invoices I've looked over for this year, but I also find it hard to remember some of the clients (and in some cases, clients that I did multiple jobs for). Whole book projects with numerous illustrations I've completely forgotten even doing. It's hell getting old. Wish I'd kept better records in that first ten years, but to tell the truth, I'd probably have been horrified to see the quality of my work in those years, especially considering the ones that I saved as the 'best' and 'worth hanging on to'. In a lot of cases, though, I also probably just didn't get my artwork returned from the clients, which probably contributes to my not remembering the projects.

Anyway, this illustration above was for Newsday, and had something to do with Columbia Football (according to the invoice).

12 November 1996

B&W Brochure

The records for my promotional brochures is quite spotty, so I have to rely on visual clues to tell when some of them were probably sent out. Judging from the artwork used on this one, and the fact that it boasts a 'web site', I'd have to guess that this one was probably sent out sometime in late '96. (I wonder what I was posting on my 'website' at this time? perhaps I was scanning artwork and posting a few samples along with my phone number and address...). This one was a two sided folded brochure, and we used a bulk mailing number to pay for postage (this was a brief flirtation with 'bulk mail', which ended up being more trouble than it was worth).

01 October 1996

Life Drawing Class Audit

Since I kept no records of when I audited various life drawing courses at our local community college, I can only guess when many of these drawings were done. I'm thinking these were from a class I took sometime in the mid 90s.

18 September 1996

Life Drawings

I seem to remember taking another life drawing course at our local community college sometime in the mid-nineties, but the dates escape me. I'm not even completely sure about which drawings to assign to this time period, but I'm pretty sure about these three. This was a more advanced classroom situation than some of them have been, and there was a bit more experimentation with mediums, and longer time spent on single poses, rather than the quick gestures that take up much of a beginner's class (although it is usually common to start out each and every class with a certain amount of gesture drawing as a way of loosening up). The above drawing was a rare attempt at oil pastels. I'm only slightly less intimidated by this medium than I am by oil paints. I frequently overwork the colors until they become mud. This one wasn't too bad.

15 September 1996

Newspaper Work

Both of these pieces were probably for Newsday during the mid to late 90s. I can't find the exact date in my records, but judging from the style, I'd say it was probably '95 or '96. (perhaps the one above was sometime around the fall of '96 when the republicans gained control of the house and senate).

Also, around this time, I got my first assignment for a west coast magazine, Critical Care Nurse (Innovision). This client would use me a few times prior to the digital switchover in '97, but would really start giving me monthly work a few years later.

12 September 1996

Java Snob Review #1

Around the summer of '96, I was starting to get a little restless and bored, and me and my sister came upon the idea of self publishing a 'poetry anthology'. She would be editor and I would be the art director, although we both had a hand in reading and selecting content to be included. We put an ad in a few poetry journals seeking submissions of 'poetry, prose, artwork and photography', and we were frankly astounded at the amount of work we received (a lot heavier on the prose and poetry, with submissions of art and photos were pretty rare).
We printed up a couple thousand copies and self distributed (very haphazardly and poorly organized), and the design of our first issue was with a cream colored cover, with self applied 'coffee rings' on each copy (using a coffee mug and some Dr. Martin's Yellow Ochre dye).

This would last two more quarterly issues before we eventually pulled the plug in '97.

15 August 1996

Color Postcard

This postcard was probably sent out sometime in '95 or '96. This was a recycle of some artwork I had done for a local design client. A bit larger than most of the postcards I send out, this one was about 6x8, and the printing came out pretty nice on it (the scan isn't quite so nice). I don't remember what ever became of the original art, so this scan was of one of the postcard samples I had in my files.

17 July 1996

Book Project

In the summer of '96 I had a couple additional book projects for St Mary's Press in Minnesota. I had done a few books for this client in previous years, and both times previously they had flown me out to their offices for consultations, something I didn't have to do for these two projects (they must've gotten comfortable working with me long distance). This first one was a book on grief and dying, and was the larger of the two projects, consisting of 45 color illustrations and a smattering of black and white line art pieces. I did these in a line art plus watercolor style to keep things lighter and not quite so intense. The other book is mentioned in a separate posting this month.

The book is still available used on Amazon (link here)

15 July 1996

Transportation spots and Knock Knock jokes

These three spots were for Legal Times. I don't recall what they were for exactly, but they were a good example of black and white spot scratchboard work from the period, which is probably why I saved them.

The illustration below was for a sister publication to Cricket, Spider magazine (one of their titles for the 'younger children') and was a page of knock knock jokes. The colors didn't come out very well in the scan, the original is much nicer looking. This is a pretty good example of my cartoon style at the time.

13 July 1996

Book Project

This was the second of two book projects that I worked on this month for St Mary's Press. This one was about spirituality at work and required 6 black and white chapter opener illustrations. The book appears to still be available used at Amazon (link here)

12 June 1996

Painting Fever

Sometime in the late 90s, I got the urge to paint some extracurricular works. Had no set ideas in mind, just a pile of old canvas gathering dust, and lots of jumbo tubes of Acrylic paint that I somehow acquired over the past few years for various projects. I worked purely in a stream of consciousness mode, painting a bit on this canvas, then switching to another, adjusting, reworking, adding, subtracting. I ended up with about 5 or 6 paintings of various sizes, all pretty similar to the one above. This is the only one that I saved. I never did figure out which side was 'up', or whether this would be vertical or horizontal.

Addendum: I now remember where all the extra tubes of Acrylic paint came from. Around this same time, I volunteered to paint a mural for my son's Montessori school in their sixth grade classroom. This was a Natural History timeline depicting various lifeforms througout the different eras, trilobites, dinosaurs, etc. I think I had a lot more ambition than skill in taking on this project, and wasn't entirely happy with how it turned out, but the school seemed to appreciate it. (It was also kind of fun to paint in front of my son on a daily basis for a few months, as this took place in his classroom).

02 June 1996


This one was probably for the Chronicle of Higher Education (judging from the mortarboard on top of the pillar), probably sometime in the late 90s, but I can't find the exact date.

13 May 1996

Legal Art

These two illustrations were for Legal Times. 'Uncle Sam' was in May of '96 and I'm not sure about the date of the 'umbrella' illustration below, but I'm guessing it was probably nearer to the end of my 'traditional media' days, perhaps sometime in early '97.

Also in May of '96 I started hearing from a Jesuit publication, America magazine. They started out purchasing reprints of art that had appeared in US Catholic, but several years later they started purchasing original commissioned work.

10 May 1996

Mystery Assignments

Judging from the style of this one, I'm guessing that this piece was completed sometime around mid '96 or early '97. I can't find a match in my invoices with a description that sounds like anything similar. My memory tells me that I did this for Newsday, but I can't find any corraborating evidence for that notion.

15 April 1996

Jesus Part II

This was another illustration for the Christian Reformed Church, similar in style and layout to one I had done the month before.

Also, this month, I had a book project for Group Publishing in Colorado. Entitled "Creative Crowd Breakers and Group Identity Builders", this project consisted of 37 black and white illustrations, of which I have no memory whatsoever. I can't seem to find the book anywhere online to post a link to.

This month also brought in another new client, Mary Higgins Clark Mystery Magazine. This was a full color glossy fiction magazine put out by the people at Family Circle. I had a few color scratchboard pieces for this client prior to switching over to digital illustration, and did a regular series of 'character sketches' for them around '98 & '99 before they eventually closed up shop.

15 March 1996

Jesus Part 1

This was one of two similar pieces that I did in March and April for the Christian Reformed Church's ongoing curriculum project. Most of the artwork from this client (and other religious clients) have survived because occasional requests for 'rescanning' of artwork saved much of it from my frequent 'flat file purges'.

Also in March of '96 I began working with a stock art reprint company called Pen Tip Features in the marketing and sales of older black and white illustrations. For the next several years older drawings of mine were popping up in small to medium sized newspapers all over the country on a monthly basis. I didn't have to do much more than send photocopies of old art to the guy that ran the show, and he would send me a check once a month for the royalties. Sadly the owner died several years later, which brought an end to the business. The only drawback, I felt, was that I had little or no control how my work was being reproduced or utilized, and after a while, I began to get the feeling that I was competing for work with my own bargain basement priced drawings. A similar operation was started up by a friend of the deceased owner a few years later, but I was starting to sour on the whole idea of 'mass marketing reprints' by this time, and the relationship didn't last very long.

15 February 1996


This was a project that I had completely forgotten about, and when I ran across the listing in my invoices, I was convinced that I no longer had the artwork. I was looking for another piece of art that I thought I may have saved down in the basement flat files, when I ran across a folder with all the originals for this book. I've chosen a sampling of some of the better pieces from this project to post here.

This was a wiccan book for Llewellyn Worldwide. They wanted 15 or so black and white illustrations. I wanted to do them a little different than my usual scratchboard technique, and tried to emulate old woodcut illustrations from the middle ages. I liked the 'naked on a goat' picture well enough, that I reused it again for a self promo brochure later in the year.

The book can still be found here used on Amazon.

About a decade later, I would once again pick up this client and do several more books along these lines, including several color cover illustrations.

12 February 1996

Children's Book Sample

This was a sample piece of art that I worked up for a story that my brother was writing. This was set underwater in a fishing lake, and involved a worm's desperate attempts to avoid getting eaten (if I remember it correctly). This was one of my brother's better story ideas I thought, and I still think it deserves another chance. I don't know if the story was ever completed, or ever sent out to publishers, but I wouldn't mind giving this another shot. I think if I were doing it nowadays, I might avoid items like the general's helmet, and instead try to work a 'four star' pattern onto the fish's back by way of identification, and also, if I were to do this again, I think I'd do the fish a bit more realistically. I do like the worm character, and I had the idea of perhaps continuing the 'sign joke' as a running gag throughout the book, commenting on the action.

I don't remember exactly when I did this piece of art, I'm thinking it was somewhere around '96 or '97.

17 January 1996


This was one of the last assignments for Personal Selling Power magazine, a client that I'd been working for over the past few years, and is one of the only surviving originals from this client.

Children's Book Project

Had a book project this month for a fairly well known children's author. This was for a series of 'young reader vocabularly' paperbacks, and was technically a job through my agent (for Quarasan Publishing), although the job actually came about through some networking that my brother did in Chicago, through a restaurant he was working in at the time (where he met the author). None of the original art was returned at the end of the project, and the only original I have from the book was an early sample version that I had done that never got used (the 'bathroom scene' below). The rest of the samples posted here are scans made from a complimentary copy of the book I have from my collection.

Used copies of the book can still be found on Amazon for very reasonable rates (link here)