14 August 1999
Large Color Book Project
Through my agent this month, I had a rather large extensive color book project for a midwest book publisher. I got the impression that I was only one of several illustrators attached to this project, and the illustrations were quite varied in both size, scope and complexity. Some were full page color 'story' assignments like the ones pictured above and below this text block, while others were small spots of varying sizes. The project was spread over a month or so, and the illustrations would trickle in one or two at a time, which made working on this project a bit tedious at times, just in keeping up with the staggered deadlines and red tape that went with it (each illustration also had its own PO number and contract that needed to be filled out, plus I had to keep reporting everything to the agent so that she could keep track of the billing).
I don't quite remember what the stories were behind a lot of these illustrations (or even if I was let in on it all that much at the time). The above series of illustrations were something to do with a rollerblading adventure featuring a couple of kids and a runaway skate. There was also a series of 'bicycle' illustrations, only one of which was in color. (pictured below)
It was on larger projects like these that I really started questioning the whole 'agent' concept. I was doing alright on my own getting work, and in fact this particular client came to me through a contact my brother had made through his restaurant job in Chicago originally, and the client worked with me directly with little or no involvement except the billing through my agent (who got credit for this job because it was one of her 'contacts'). It wasn't so bad with a small job here and there. I didn't begrudge my agent her 30 percent, but it started to feel like a much bigger bite when projects like this came along. I never made a big deal about it, but continued to quietly grumble to myself and bite the bullet. I would continue to work for this agent for a few more years, mostly with a single client and a couple small jobs a month, but eventually the work dried up, and I wasn't too sorry to see it go.
So, anyway ... for the same 'project' but staggered throughout the month, I also had the above 'lunch bag' border illustration, plus the 'farmyard umbrella' illustration below that. A couple small spots involving a car being pushed, and a fire truck, plus a 'family picnic' scene below to the left (there was a large banner above the scene, but I've cut it off to better show the interesting half of the illustration without it having to be too small).
There was also another 'large' illustration involving a nature hike (pictured below) and an illustration featuring a pair of archaologists at a dig (pictured below), plus a few more small spots of various dubious origin (pictured below).