20 December 2000

Cartoon Spots

The surrounding color cartoon spots were all for a college lifestyle client of mine in the month of December. These were semi-regular assignments (during the school year) on a variety of subject to go with little mini-articles throughout the magazine. I've completely forgotten doing most of these, and when I came across the 'salsa dancing' one I cracked myself up, and I also particularly liked the 'hula dancer' below. There were usually two different sizes of spots for this magazine, and I don't remember the significance of each size, but the 'square format' ones I've place above, and the more 'rectangular ones' I've placed below. (I think the ones above had something to do with specific activities/achievements of certain schools, and the ones below were more 'general topics' pertaining to campus life)

I also had a trio of tiny 'head' spots for a different section of the magazine that I don't quite remember what they were for.

In addition to the 'college' spots, I also had a series of small cartoon spots for my east coast newspaper client this month. These all had to do with the new 'domain names' that were being introduced, with explanations of each.

18 December 2000

A Cartoony Kind of Month

This was one of those unusual months, where I actually had more cartoon assignments than scratchboards (not to be repeated again for the next 7-8 years or more). It sure looks as if I'm having fun this month, there's a lot of sly humor creeping into a lot of the illustrations (also see the accompanying 'cartoon spots' entry this month), and I seem really at ease with the style, the linework and the colors.

The above illustration and the one to the left were two additional larger spots that I did for my 'college lifestyle' magazine client. Usually I just provided small spots for this client, so it was fun to stretch out a little and do something a little bigger and more involved.

Another 'larger' cartoon is pictured below, this one for a local christian parenting magazine, a full page assignment on 'busing'.

I also had an unusual assigment from my agent for a michigan regional parenting publication (pictured above). Usually, I only provide black and white illustrations for this client, so it was fun to try something in color. This was about the over saturation of marketing towards kids, and I tried to fit just about any kind of toy I could think of into the layout. Some of my usual subversive humor hidden away here and there (and an annoying toy my son got for christmas the previous year I notice down in the lower left corner).

The illustration to the left was for a major children's magazine publisher, and had something to do with 'family sing-a-long software' available for your home pc.

Another small cartoon for a different local parenting magazine is pictured to the right. I don't quite remember the angle of this particular story (play time with your children, perhaps?)

Pictured below is an assignment this month for my east coast newspaper client. This one dealt with teen workers in the fast food industry.

Another assignment for the same client is below that, a piece on holiday weight loss.

10 December 2000

Unusual Fare

The piece above was for a local christian parenting magazine, and had something to do with teachers at private religious schools. For a change of pace, I finished this one in a pastel style. This was a style that I relied on heavily in the early years, until the problems with shipping the artwork, keeping it smudge free and breathing tons of pastel dust caused me to curtail work in this medium. Once I went digital, I ocassionally drag it out of mothballs for the odd assignment, but it never seems to quite catch on as a regular style.

To the left was a small spot for a children's magazine client this month. This was a diagram showing the comparative sizes to the Panema Canal with various objects. I did this one in a combination of watercolors and colored pencils.

I also had another 'puzzle page' assignment for the same client this month, this one a maze involving a miniature futuristic submarine travelling around a circuit board (if I remember correctly).

And continuing to experiment in a 'painterly' style (using oil pastels), I had another in a series of 'food illustrations' for a recipe feature for my east coast newspaper client (this one with a holiday theme).

25 October 2000

Another Workbook Project

I had another large book project for my local children's book publishing client this month. This one consisted of about 140 illustrations, all in black and white, in various sizes and shapes (like most of these projects were). I've included a sampling of illustrations from this project here. This one had a number of 'activity pages' which weren't quite so fun to draw, including maps, flags of the world, clocks with different times indicated, and all were rather time consuming and involved a lot more 'grunt work' than actual creativity.

But there were plenty of chances to have fun throughout, including a section on musical animals (aardvark on an alto sax, gorilla on a guitar, cat/clarinet, dog/drums, etc etc), and there was a section on the moon and solar system in which I stretched a bit as far as 'black and white technique', using some spatter airbrush tools to get some interesting 'moon effects'.

Even though the company was going through some major corporate shake-ups, layoffs, restructuring, mergers etc, I was still able at this time to work with my favorite designer down at this company, who was always very supportive of my work, and gave me a big boost each time I brought sketches and finals in for approval, by laughing a great deal at my cartoons. My son was about 11 at this time, and would frequently accompany me down to meetings with this client in the summer months, and got to be good friends with the designer.

18 October 2000

A Rarity

I've been lucky in the past 20 years to have had very rare bad experiences with clients. Most have been courteous, professional, reliable and aboveboard in every way imaginable. The only time I've had trouble with a client has been this particular project for a small southern book publisher in October of 2000. I was contracted to do three separate projects for this client, one of them a trio of 'fat jewish lady' cartoons for a cookbook (which I haven't bothered to include here). A series of 'seafood cartoons' (of which I've included many of them here in this posting) for another cookbook, and finally a color cover illustration for a florida guidebook.

Well, the 'jewish fat lady' illustrations came first, they were fairly easy, and went swiftly from sketch to finish without a hitch, and were billed out to the client's approval. The 'seafood cartoons' project was next, and the client seemed to love them all, and they went smoothly through the sketch and finish phase, with only minor corrections on a few of them, and these were approved and billed out. So far so good. I was really pleased with how they turned out, and had a lot of fun with the project, and even now, looking back at them from 7 years on, I still get a kick out of them.

Then came the color 'guidebook cover' illustration. I was worried about this one, because the client was particularly vague about what they wanted, so I very carefully went through several sketch phases, including color mockups and approvals on each separate element before putting the finish together. The hand lettering on the 'florida' was particularly time consuming, and didn't want there to be any mix-ups about what I was doing. Well, the sketches were all approved and I was told to 'go to finish', but when the final illustration was presented, the client suddenly 'didn't like it all' and wanted to go back to the drawing board and start over with a completely new concept. I explained that since the sketches were all approved, that going 'back to square one' would incur additional charges.

There was a disagreement with the client at this point, and the client refused to pay me for ANY of the work, including the two projects that were already in her hands, and presumably on their way to the printer. I did not wish to get involved in small claims court over this, especially over state lines, so I took advantage of my only perk with regards to being self employed, I took a loss on the project and walked away.

I've been extremely fortunate that this sort of client has been a true rarity in my experience (even with working for several clients on the far side of the globe), and on the plus side, I still have the drawings. Perhaps I can sell the reprints and have the final laugh in this sorry episode.

10 October 2000

A is for Apple

I had a series of 'apple' illustrations for one of my children's magazine publishers this month. This was one of their 'younger kids' magazines, and this story probably had something to do with 'division'.

For the same client, but different publication, I had another 'puzzle page' illustration, this one with an 'outer space' theme where I could have some fun with my 'space effects'.

The cartoon to the left was for my agent, for a michigan regional parenting publication. The illustration below was another cartoon for my east coast newspaper client, on the 'subway series' taking place this October. I remember doing this illustration during the playoffs, and it wasn't quite certain that the Mets and Yankees were both going to make it, so the newspaper was hedging its bets by not putting any specific logos on anything. Once again, my dog Dinky makes an appearance.