22 February 2004

Workbook Project

The illustrations in this posting are further samples (of about 40 total) from the 'Teamwork Test Prep Grade 4' book that I illustrated for Carson Dellosa in February of '04. There were 3 of these 'teacher guides' (grades 3,4,5) in the spring of '04 and I had several 'student editions' that I did in the fall of '04 (grades 3,4,5,6,7,8). The book is still available on Amazon (link here) As usual with these projects, there were a wide variety of topics and sizes, and these projects gave me a wonderful 'cartoon workout' which really helped develop my black and white line work.

20 February 2004

Off the map

Around this time I started using a computerized 'day planner', recording all my sketch and finish deadlines, and personal appointments. I've been using this archive of my schedule up to this point in the ongoing 'work history' portion of this blog, working my way backwards. Prior to this time I'll have to start using my invoices to help me remember jobs that I was working on during a certain time period. The digital art archive reaches back to around late 1997, and once we get to that point, things will get really interesting, as much of my work got thrown out in a major purging of my flat files back in '02.

Anyhow, back to February of 04; The above illustration was for the Wall Street Journal. I don't remember the subject, but I seem to remember that this was an idea supplied to me by one of the designers. Oddly enough, the 'twister' concept was pitched to me just last weekend again (in '07), by another designer at the same paper, and at the time I didn't remember having done it before.
The 'monster' black and white image was for the same client, and probably had something to do with 'urban sprawl'. Judging from the size, I'd guess this was for one of the weekend editions as a chart accompaniment piece.
The piece below, for the same client, was a fairly simple idea, but I liked that about it, it seems clean and straightforward with little extra clutter. I have both a color and a black and white version of each of the two larger color pieces here in my files, it being a standard procedure around this time to do two different versions just in case they wanted to use a color 'teaser' on the contents page, or if it might get a chance to be published in color, depending on where it fell in the paper. (these days I just do most of them in color, and they use a greyscale if it ends up being in black and white)

For the same client, above are my monthly quota of 'health care' spots for a weekly column. All black and white this month. The topics were 'fruits and weight loss', 'air cleaners', 'green tea' and something to do with a microscope (I don't remember the topic, whether it was some sort of research, or if the microscope was the focus).

Also this month, for Newsday, I had a same day illustration showing the two democratic hopefuls. This was my first attempt at either of these people. I remember Edwards being quite tricky, and Kerry being ridiculously easy. Something about the layout of this one though, seems a bit awkward to me. It is interesting to look further back like this at my earlier work, and see what things I've improved on, and what things I still need work on.

18 February 2004

Educational Supplement

I don't remember if these were all for the same issue or not, but all the illustrations on this page were for the Chronicle of Higher Education this month. There were a series of 'nest egg' themed spots, probably aimed towards parents saving for their kid's college educations.

There were also a series of black and white illustrations, which mostly seemed geared towards students and faculty, all dealing with finances or savings or retirement.

I liked the concept and design of the 'nest egg' spots, they were simple and direct and I could play around with the elements to keep each one unique even though they all had a common look. This 'nest egg' concept would, in the following year become a marketing campaign for AG Edwards, so I would get plenty of practice in the future drawing 'nest eggs' of one kind or another.

The black and white spots don't quite have the same pizzazz, I think because I was trying too hard to fill the available space, and as a result, most of them end up looking a little 'overworked'. It is interesting to see how I approached the 'dollar bill' in the parachute illustration. These days I'd more than likely take an image off the internet and manipulate it to look like scratchboard instead of trying to draw the thing from scratch. Not really less work, but looks better in the end result. The 'curved surface' of the bill would be a bit tricky, but I think I could pull it off with a photoshop filter technique.

The 'money ball manacle' illustration was an interesting idea, but I'm not crazy about the way I treated the linework on the 'ball', it seems a little confused and random, where something a bit more controlled would have worked better. (I'd get better at 'round scratchboard objects' in the coming years).

In addition to the 'themed' spots, I also had a few other 'oddball' spots that I think went along with the same supplement, as they are similar in size and shape. The 'trojan horse' illustration and the 'soapbox' illustrations pictured below were possibly for this same assignment.

Of the black and white spots, I think the best one of the bunch was the 'retirement' piece, with the professor out to pasture contemplating the sunset. Seems the cleanest and least cluttered.

And in addition to all the 'series' illustrations this month, I also had another one for the same client, that doesn't seem to fit with the rest, and I can only assume that it was a separate assignment. I don't quite remember the slant on this one, something to do with books pickpocketing the readers(??). Interesting layout and treatment though.

15 February 2004

Naked Man Walking

Every once in a while I get the urge to play with the animation tools in my Painter software. I'm a long way from becoming an animator, but it is fun to experiment. These are a few character loops that I came up with in between jobs back in February of 2004. (I've included both the early sketch and the more finished version of my 'naked man walking' loop)

Music: Intro to 'On the Wings of Happenstance' copyright 2007 Tim Foley

10 February 2004

Breaking out of the mold

I had a job for Christian Home & School magazine in February, a full page illustration about 'family travel on a budget'. I went with a cartoon style, and kept things rather simple and fun, which made for a fun illustration. I played around with some different color treatments in the background, keeping the trees rather sketchy and stylized, and this one seemed to work nicely. While in some respects it was quite the normal 'cartoon' style that I'm used to working in, I still managed to find something new different and challenging in the treatment, which kept it from being dull and mechanical.

For US Catholic magazine, another long time client of mine, I was given a pair of portraits/caricatures of two authors who would act as bookends for a pair of reviews of their latest books. I don't know who these people were, but both made fairly nice portrait subjects, and I worked in a slightly different style than I usually do, which made the project more fun than it could have been.

Then, for Newsday, I had this full page cover illustration for a travel section about 'online tours' of cruise ship staterooms. They wanted a somewhat reminiscent scene of a 'travel poster', and I chose to do it in 'faux oils' (at this time I was using 'oil pastels' as I was still a bit intimidated by the 'oil brushes' tools in my software program). I'm glad I chose the yellow for the sky instead of the usual blue, it definitely opened up a whole mess of possibilities for the color treatments. I need to remember this in future projects, it seems to me I lean on 'blue sky' way too often.

The additional black and white spots sprinkled around this posting are a sampling from a workbook project that I did this month for Carson Dellosa, 'Teamwork Test Prep Grade 4' a teacher guide in this ongoing series of books that I would do much more for over the course of '04. More samples from this book can be found in a separate posting (link here).

05 February 2004

A Couple Lackluster Efforts

In February I had an assignment from Cricket magazine. This was a story about a childhood friend of Abe Lincoln's son and a visit to the white house during the dark days of the Civil War. Something about this project just didn't inspire or motivate me, and I'm afraid the project came out a bit static and dull. Perhaps I chose the wrong style to work in, the scratchboard seems a little overly convoluted and dark and doesn't suit the children's faces well. The colors seem sort of muddy and dull, and the compositions are lacking in pizazz.

Another project around this time that I felt didn't quite work out as well due to my being unenthused about the subject matter was this piece below for National Auctioneer magazine. This was a full page illustration (don't remember if it was a cover or not) about 'family auctions' (where the auction is run by a family of auctioneers), and was another busy crowd scene of the kind I've done before for this client (and would do again), and I pretty much went through the motions. Not bad looking exactly, but certainly nothing particularly inspiring about it.