20 February 2000

Maps and Misc

Another map assignment from my children's magazine publisher this month. This one ended up being one of the more time consuming maps I'd yet done for this client, but also ended up being one of my favorites. Another map for the same client is below, but not quite as interesting.

The above illustration was another for the same client, another in a long line of 'puzzle page' illustrations for one of their science publications.

Below is a rare full page color assignment for my local regional publication client, I don't quite remember the topic.

I had another series of illustrations this month for my west coast magazine client. These were usually a single large color illustration for the cover, with accompanying 3 or 4 smaller black and white illustrations on a similar theme. Flowers with 'apology cards' this time.

19 February 2000

Textbook Project

This month I had the first of two textbook assignments from a new publishing client (the second would follow in March). This consisted of a series of black and white scratchboard illustrations of various sizes and shapes for a book, in which I gathered that I would be one of several artists contributing, in order to expedite the project. Most of the illustrations in this first batch are pictured here and had to do with shipwrecks, most notably the Titanic and the Lusitania. I've not included several spot illustrations of 'icebergs' as they were not quite as interesting, although drawn nicely. I got a lot of good practice learning new techniques in black and white scratchboard with this project, especially in the use of the 'scratchboard rake' tool, for use in large areas of 'grey'. A lot of the techniques learned on this project would end up being adopted across the board in the months and years ahead.

This 'Lusitania' sequence was actually originally one long horizontal (above and below), but I've broken it into two parts so that I could show it in better detail here.

17 February 2000

Cartoon Assignment

I had a rather large assignment this month for a national parenting magazine. This involved rather rambunctious children and how to deal with them. The article opened with the large spread above, and then smaller spots of a similar nature were sprinkled throughout the rest of the piece. I originally had intended to put in my usual 'pets' (my cat Ripley and my dog Dinky), but after the first round of sketches, the art director requested a different type dog.

The spot below was originally much more horizontal, with the 'speed cloud' zooming across the bottom of a two page spread, but I've cut it down in size to better show the pertinent details.

Looking through the clutter scattered around the living room in the opening spread, and around the tired mother below that, I notice a lot of my son's toys got included in the mix. Eventually the article goes beyond describing the 'trouble with rambunctious kids' and starts offering suggestions for ways to channel all that extra energy in positive ways. (rollerblading and dancing, as seen here - and note all the safety gear on the rollerblading kid and adult, all very specifically and painstakingly itemized for my drawing purposes) -- I was probably really dating myself with this record player - I wonder how many of the readers were puzzled by this illustration (below). I know I should have used some sort of cd player, but I just liked the esthetics of the record player better.

12 February 2000

Color scratchings

The color scratchboards this month were a mixed bag. The simpler ones continue to be quite nice, but the more space I am given and the more detail I clutter them with, the less effective they seem to be. The illustration above was for an educational publication. I imagine it had something to do with library research, but other than that I don't quite remember.

I have a number of illustrations this month for my east coast legal newspaper, but half of them were actually for the month of March, and I overlooked them on the first go-round. The 'revolving door' illustration to the left was one of these, as well as the 'art gallery/blueprint' illustration pictured below right, neither of which I remember the story behind, but both good examples of how a 'simpler' illustration seems to be much more effective in this style, while the 'book archaologists' above seems a bit cluttered and overworked.

The 'genie computer' illustration below and to the left was another for the same client, either in February or March of this year. Funny how quickly these 'computer' illustrations are already looking pretty dated with only 8 years gone by.

The illustration below was another color piece for my east coast newspaper client. This one probably had something to do with family finances, or something of the sort. My memory seems to be failing me on a lot of these illustrations the further back in the archives I go.

This illustration to the left was another for the same client, and another good example of how much better I was at this time with handling small spots, as opposed to larger illustrations (like above), especially around this time (I seem to have gotten a little better at handling them these days, but they still intimidate).

The above illustration was for a midwest evangelical magazine, and concerned an abusive parent or coach and a young fellow trying to be a fair referee at a high school football game.

The previous summer, I had a series of illustrations for a corporate client, in which I was asked to draw some children playing on musical staves as if they were playground equipment. I was approached this spring to combine a number of these illustrations into a single stave (pictured below).

Additional Cartoon Spots

One of the rare 'food/recipe' illustrations I did for my east coast newspaper client in the cartoon style (most of the rest were done in oil pastels). One of my favorite cartoons of the year.

I also had a rare cartoon assignment from my educational publication. Usually I work in scratchboard for this client. I don't quite remember what these stories were about, but they sure look interesting. (two illustrations below)

I also had a series of small spot illustrations for my college lifestyle magazine client. The larger one above was for an article about 'getting attention' with regards to school elections, and the other three smaller spots to the left and below were on various topics for their 'factoid' department.

I also had a few larger spots (but reproduced smaller here), for my agent, for a michigan regional parenting magazine. These were both separated out for two color, something I rarely ever have to do anymore with improvements in printing technology.

02 February 2000


I was approached this month with an interesting assignment from my long time children's magazine client. This was a mystery assignment for their 'teen poetry/prose' digest and was a story written by an author I was quite familiar with, and I was tickled to be able to illustrate one of his short stories.

Like many of the stories by this author, this one was once again set in the British horse racing community. I decided to take advantage of greyscale in order to add a little depth to the normally static black and white scratchboard style (I now recognize this as a shortcoming in my technique that I needed to go this route). I had a lot of fun with this one, and got a lot of valuable practice at drawing horses (something my repetoire was a bit lacking in).

Mystery fiction was a rarity around this publication, so it was also a nice chance to do something that showed another side of my talents to this long time client. The story (if I remember correctly) had to do with a horse doping, and an attempt on a jockey's life.

In addition to the above 'mystery' story, I also had another one for my long time 'mystery digest' client this month. This was the first assignment I had gotten from them in a couple of years, having worked for many years for this magazine back in the early to mid-nineties. I had since changed over from traditional materials to totally digital, and this was the first 'digital assignment' for this client.

I continued to get regular black and white assignments from my new national newspaper client, which was nice because the work was fairly steady, and challenging and fun, and generally paid much better than most of the work I had been doing up to this point. The quick turn around time was a small price to pay for a more steady income.

The 'identity thief' to the left was one of the small spots this month for this client, as well as the 'treasury bond' illustration pictured below.

One thing I would get much better at portraying, thanks to this client, were men in business suits. These early ones look like I'm still stumbling around with how to portray them effectively.

It is also interesting to see a little 'idea crossover' going on between a couple of clients this month. The above 'treasury bond' concept seems eerily familiar with the illustration below for a jesuit publication.

For the most part, though, the assignments for the new national newspaper client were still confined to small black and white spot illustrations like those pictured to the right, and below to the left. It would take another year before larger format illustrations and color assignments would start coming from this corner of my client base.