25 December 1998

Cartoon Cavalcade

The above illustration was for Gemini Publications (Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Parent), and accompanied a humor article about travel. The illustration to the left and below were probably related in some way (due to the scrolls), but other than that, I forget which client they were for or what they were even about.
Oxendine Publishing (Student Leader) had a batch of small 'factoid' cartoons for me this month on the usual smorgasborg of topics. At this point, I've switched over from a more 'experimental style' with these that I had toyed with earlier in the year to a more reasonable 'cartoon style', but I see that I'm still jam packing them full of detail and shading that I would eventually discard due to time and budget restraints.

I also had the usual gamut of 'lifestyle/relationship' type illustrations in this style over the course of December for different clients. Above, a piece on 'busy moms' for Newsday, and to the right an illustration on 'money and relationships' for Gemini. Below is another one for the same local client, this one on 'dating'. The illustration below that was for The Interpretor, although, for the life of me, I can't remember what it was about.

16 December 1998


The illustrations in this posting were another in a series of assignments I did for Innovision (Critical Care Nurse) during '98 and '99. These usually involved a larger color cover illustration, and a series of smaller black and white spots for the inside on a similar theme. This month the concept was 'shadows', and I was pretty pleased overall with how these turned out. Sometimes with this project I am happy with either the cover illustration or the inside spots, but rarely was I ever happy with how the entire package worked together, and this one was an exception in this regard. Overall, though, I wish I'd gone a bit further with the 'shadow' ideas on some of them. The 'acorn/tree' and the 'shadow/hug' being examples of the better concepts, while the others were much less inventive.

12 December 1998

Outside the Envelope

Most of the illustrations in this posting were departures from my usual 'style' as I played around with the different options available to me through this new digital medium. Not all were entirely successful, but I relished the chance to try something new every time the opportunity presented itself to me, and I'm sure I learned something with each triumph and failure. The piece above was another 'food' illustration for Newsday. I had been doing these throughout '98 and would continue to provide illustrations for this repeating column over the next few years.

In a similar style, but less successfully (I thought) was the 'football' illustration for the Chronicle of Higher Education (left).

Sometimes different digital mediums could be combined in new and interesting ways, like the above 'twister' illustration for one of Cobblestone Publishing's titles. An accompanying 'map' is pictured below for the same article on 'tornado alley'.

I also had more technical map assignments, which probably would have been much harder to do prior to 'going digital', and, while they weren't nearly as interesting from a 'concept' angle, they did give me a nice break from the routine and a chance to let my batteries recharge. The illustration to the left was one of several 'locator' type maps that I would frequently be asked to provide with each map assignment. I usually don't include them here in the blog, as they tend to look quite similar to each other, but this one was a nice overall example from this time period. The map below was an info map to show where 'Kurds' are concentrated in the Middle East.

The border illustration below was another for the same client and went with an article about 'campire songs'. This one was a combination of colored pencils and watercolor washes.

Similarly, the above two illustrations for an article on Jane Adams for the same client was a combination of watercolor, pen and ink and scratchboard techniques. This was a technique I wasn't overly happy with and didn't come back to it again much.

The above illustration marked my first assignment from America magazine, a Jesuit publication that I would have a long relationship with over the coming years. Previously, they had only purchased reprints from me, for illustrations that I had done for US Catholic, but they began to branch out and commission original work around this time. The budgets were initially quite low, but I compensated by keeping the illustrations simple and quick, until they were able to start offering better rates (which came later).

09 December 1998

Bulls, Bugs and Impeachments

The 'computer bug' illustration above was for the American Bar Association. I had a lot of fun with the bug, which turned out nice, but I wish I'd spent more time on the people in the picture, and perhaps the shadows could have been better handled.

Clinton's impeachment was in the news quite a bit this month, and I had two assignments on the topic from Legal Times. Neither was particularly imaginative in concept, but I thought I did a pretty good job with what I was handed.

On the west coast, I had an assignment for another legal magazine, The Recorder. This is one I wish I could have the chance to do again (and I might, just for fun on an upcoming promo postcard). They wanted a sort of 'pandoras box' type image, and if I were to do again, I would definitely go a bit darker, and worked a little homage of Bosch into the beasties and creatures pouring out of the box.

And, back on the east coast, for Newsday, I had one of my first 'bull market' illustrations (of which I would begin to have many many more of in the following years, once I started getting more work from the 'financial press').

05 December 1998


I had a number of plain black and white line cartoons this month. Most of them through my agent for Metro Parent out of Detroit. The illustration to the left a lone exception, being for Gemini Publications (Grand Rapids Parent).

Most of the illustrations below were a series of spots for the same article about 'parenting expenses'. Then there was a rather strange looking larger illustration for the same magazine on 'sibling rivalry' (pictured at bottom).

25 November 1998

November Cartoons

The 'swing dance' illustration to the left was for Gemini Publications (Grand Rapids Magazine). A bit more stylized and freeflowing than my usual dumpy cartoon characters. I was quite pleased with the simple design on this one.

Less successful was another experiment in combining the cartoon style with a 'collage' of credit card images lifted from the internet. The cards were too low in resolution to look good and sort of clashed with the style of the 'tree stand' below. This was another piece for the same client in November. (pictured right below)

I also had a trio of small black and white line cartoons for the same client this month, probably for the 'parenting' publication (since they tended to have a smaller operating budget and frequently put out issues in black and white, except for the cover). One was on 'holiday travel', another dealt with gifted children and another was on 'investigating employee benefits'.

Also this month I was contacted by a new local client. A christian music publisher wanted me to draw a caricature of one of their artists for a newsletter. This was one of those 'big head' caricatures that I always feel a bit awkward drawing (they never look right to me somehow), but this one turned out better than most.

22 November 1998


The above illustration was for The Recorder. I did a fairly steady stream of work for this client for about a year or so, but then a series of budget cuts forced them to curtail illustration usage. This one was an early alarmist piece about the upcoming Y2K fears. I'm struck by how quickly any of these illustrations can look so 'dated' when anything 'modern' is introduced into the picture (like the current computer model of the time), and how something much less concrete in subject matter can transend the era in which it was produced. (sometimes a 'style' can do that as well, which is obvious when you flip through some old illustration annuals). The illustrations on this page all seem very dated to me.

The illustration below was for the American Bar Association. They wanted something a little 50s 'horror movie', and wanted some hand lettering. Not my favorite thing to do, but I bit the bullet and gave it my best shot.

This series of spot illustrations was for National Business Employment Weekly. They just wanted a set of 'computer spots', anthromorphized and in several different poses. Probably about 'online job hunting'. Since I was less specific on the style of computer, these don't look quite so dated, although the boxy computer monitors do date them a bit. The color spots were for the cover and inside contents page, and the rest of the black and white spots were sprinkled throughout the issue.