20 October 2005

Newspaper work

As I dig deeper into the archives, I keep running across earlier examples of what I thought was a fairly recent development in my technique with regards to portraying a 'globe'. Each time I think I've found the earliest example of when I started using this technique, and then I find another one even earlier. (using a photoshop 'spherize' filter on parallel scratchboard rake lines to get the 'rounded look', and then using multiple overlapping layers for different colors and shading). Maybe this is the earliest example of it (until I find an even earlier one). All the pieces in this post were for the Wall Street Journal. The above one was no doubt to do with the global market. The piece to the left was another for the same client, having to do with local homecoming football celebrations.

I had a couple of 'health care' column spots during the month of October for the same client. These come about every two weeks, and are usually about dubious health care fads. I usually provide a trio of ideas for each column, and sometimes the client chooses one of the more outre ideas, and other times one of the more conservative ideas. The one to the left is a good example of one of the more goofy concepts, being about a new method of 'egg pasteurization'.
The spot to the left is a good example of one of my 'middle of the road' concepts. Not quite totally conservative, but with just a touch of humor. This was a tricky one involving a gizmo worn on the wrist that monitors different body signals and lets off an alarm when the female is most apt to conceive.

The black and white illustration above was for the same client, and accompanied an article concerning 5 'stock buying tips'.

Sometimes this client merely gives me the article and lets me come up with concepts on my own, and at other times I am given a pretty cut and dry idea of what the editors are looking for. I don't remember for sure, but I'm pretty positive that these last two illustrations were based on ideas from the editors. I don't normally like to include 'explanatory text' in the illustrations, preferring instead to let the images do the talking, but sometimes it is at a specific request of the editors.

Another example of the 'text heavy' illustrations that sometimes are unavoidable is below. A piece on war protesters for Newsday. Not only lots of text, on signs and tee shirts, but also the classic cliche 'see no evil' monkey pose.

15 October 2005

Russian Railroads

Probably the one aspect of my job that keeps the work fresh after all this time, is the frequent opportunities I am given to draw something completely out of my own personal sphere of influence. For Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, I was handed a fiction story concerning a travelling women's basketball team, and a murder taking place while travelling across Russia and Mongolia. So in the interest of some semblance of accuracy, this one took a bit of research into railway cars and depots of the region, but as usual, my focal point and interest nearly always centers on the character, and I probably had a lot more fun rendering the female protagonist of the story, than in the rather dry passenger cars and scenery.

Even a somewhat fanciful picture as the one above took a bit of research into different church styles (although I took some liberties with their design). This was for America magazine (although I forget what the topic was concerning).

The piece to the left and the black and white piece below, were both for the Chronicle of Higher Education during the month of October. The topics that each of these concerned, are lost to memory, I'm afraid. I remember having fun with the trees, though. Always interesting trying to find some new way of portraying trees in scratchboard. I don't think I've quite found the best solution yet, so I keep trying new techniques.

This piece about 'University Presidents' was a rare black and white illustration for this client (at least for this time period). I notice that I used a slightly different background technique on this one, perhaps trying to give the look of 'weathered stone' to the background. Once again, I'm not entirely happy with the inclusion of 'text' in the illustration, but it is not always my final decision.

05 October 2005

Most Reprinted

The illustration above, originally for Barrons, who I had just started working for within the past few months, has the distinction of being the one illustration I have done that has gotten the most reprint requests, and has been the most lucrative for me. I don't even remember what the original story was about, but this one seems to be quite popular as a way of portraying any number of concepts. Also appeared on the cover of a german financial magazine WirtschaftsWoche, and in a couple other US magazines who's names have slipped my mind.

A couple more illustrations for the same client around this time, include the one above (which was actually quite a bit more horizontal in the original, stretching across the top of the page), and the one below, with the demented looking alarm clock.

I had a couple of new clients contact me around this time. One of them was for Yankee Magazine. An illustration to accompany a recipe for baked beans. I don't normally think of myself as primarily a 'color illustration specialist', even though I do the majority of my illustrations in color. I'm most comfortable working in black and white, and think of color as an 'add on' after the fact in most cases. This piece, though, I have to say seems to be one of the rare ones that I actually enjoyed the color aspect of it. The scratchboard is rather simple and for once, not too dark and overpowering, and the colors actually seem to enhance rather than spoil the effect.

Another newer client, Westchester Magazine, for which I did the above full color illustration regarding the health care industry. The illustration below was for another new client, The Scientist Magazine, and concerned grants and funding for scientific research. While both of these gave me a much bigger area to exploit, and I tried to use color in a bright and splashy way, neither of them has the impact of the small 'baked bean' spot. I don't know if it is the size, or what, but I just can't quite seem to get the same magic with a full page assignment.

And finally, I had a cartoon-ish assignment for a Highlights magazine this month, which also included a number of tiny 'rebus' illustrations to sprinkle around the page (which I haven't included). This was a bit more realistic than most of my cartoon work, probably because the publication's editors were so concerned with portraying the asian boy as accurately as possible. (note how the cat is much more cartoony than the boy) A lot of the items in the boy's room are based on furniture and toys that could be found in my own son's room 10 years earlier (he's nearly 16 around this time, and way past the age where I'm able to use him as 'chilren's reference').