16 March 2007

A Brief Lull

Continuing to get a nice steady stream of work from Barrons, a publication that I started getting work from last summer. Interesting jobs, and designers that are easy going and personable, and best of all, keep me busy with work. I was doing so many around this time, that I have a hard time remembering what all the topics were about. The one to the left no doubt had something to do with globalization (finding gold in overseas markets perhaps?), and the one below and to the right, was about the british health care system. I was getting lots of practice with my new 'globe' technique that I have been gradually improving with each successive job.

Almost came to the point of 'overusing' this 'sphere technique' I notice with this trio of jobs, using it for the globe above, the 'ball and chain' to the right, and then again on the 'hot air balloon' for the spot illustration below, this one being about the financier Warren Buffett (the thrust of the story, however, is lost to my memory), and it was fun to have the opportunity to sneak in a caricature/likeness with this client (even though it probably wasn't necessary), to demonstrate that I have that skill in my 'toolbox'.

Besides the above trio of jobs for the same client, I also had a few small spots for the Wall Street Journal. Mostly small black and white chart accompaniments, the first one being about ethanol fuels (pictured below, right), and I ended up using a variation on this concept again later in the year, for a more expansive piece in color on a similar topic for the same client (I didn't realize it until just now as I was going through the archives).

The other spot (below, left), I don't quite remember what the topic was about, but I'm sure it had something to do with rainclouds on the horizon, perhaps a tie in with the housing market (thus the roof).

Come to think about it, I probably could have predicted the downturn in my own business had I only been paying attention to the slant that my financial illustrations were taking. A lot of doom and gloom on the horizon from as early as the year prior. I particularly liked how this small spot turned out. It is very simple, but nicely laid out and a good balance of black white and grey. I need to try and emulate illustrations like this a bit more. I have a tendency to 'overwork' a drawing and diffuse it of its power and impact. A few well placed blocks of black and good use of negative space goes a lot further than an overabundance of tightly rendered linework.
Another similar-in-size spot for the same client (right), this one undoubtably about electric utilities, but other than that, my memory fails me. Another nice simple layout, but the lower left corner of the illustration seems unfinished to me now.

And in addition to the three aforementioned spots, I also had another in the series of 'health care' spots that I regularly do for this same client every other monday. This one was on some sort of new heart vitamin, no doubt, and I remember enjoying doing the research to make the heart as realistic as possible (although it probably ended up being printed in black and white). I've lost track of how many years now I've been doing these spots, but they continue week after week to be challenging and fun, and sometimes the editors pick one of my more conservative ideas, and sometimes they surprise me by going for one of my more wacky concepts. (I usually try to provide a little of each, depending on the topic).

Then I also had an assignment for the Chronicle of Higher Education. This was a fun assignment, because I like when I get the chance to do a 'parody' of a more famous classical work, and the chance comes by much too infrequently. This one was a takeoff on Millet's 'The Sower', a favorite painting of mine from way back in Art History class in college. I did this one in scratchboard, but if I'd have had more time on the project, it might have been fun to try and emulate the style of the original a bit more. (not as comfortable working in 'oils', at least not as expediently as I am able to put a scratchboard piece together).

Coming off of a couple weeks of rather frantic activity in the early part of the month, the workload starts to slow down a bit in the middle of the month, and it was fortunate in one respect, because we had planned a trip to Arizona for the last week of March, to coincide with my son's exchange student trip to Germany around the same time (which ended up being a story in itself, but I won't bore you with the details, suffice to say it involved a misplaced passport just prior to the return trip).

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