Monday, November 24, 2008

My new BLACKBOOK illustration directory ad page...

To see all my illustration portfolio samples, visit 

Every year, starting from about 1991, I have advertised my illustration work to art directors through national illustration directories which are published once a year and sent to about 18,000 art directors. I must submit the final art file for my ad page(s) about 8 months before the directory is printed and distributed... Usually I place ads in several different directories each year, which gives me the flexibility of presenting several different images reflecting the range of my graphic work... from more stylish, stylized images to more humorous images. 

This year I have promotional ads in Workbook, Picture Book (aimed specifically for the children's book marketplace), and Black Book. These print directory ads are only a part of how I promote each year. In addition to my own web site, I also have "web portfolios" on the web sites of all the illustration directories I advertise in, including additional web portfolios with,,, and I also use snail mail to send postcards and other direct mail promotional items to art directors. With this economic downturn, I will probably cut back to being in just one directory, and maintain presence in all the various on-line illustration web sites... 

Posted here is my current ad page image in the Blackbook illustration directory being distributed to art directors now. (see the sketch for this ad image in an earlier post.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Who Doesn't Love Shoes? (sneak peek at book project)

To see all my illustration portfolio samples, visit
Currently I am working on a teen guide book for Harper Collins, Matt Adamec art director, consisting of all black & white line drawings...
The images posted here are simple black line drawings of women's high heeled shoes, and a dance scene (both created digitally in Adobe Illustrator using a stylus & Wacom Tablet). Sometimes really simple drawings devoid of any embellishment are the most elegant and strong. A sneak peek of the book project... though the drawings when they appear in the book will be strictly black & white.

BUBBA, 'BAMA... and Beyond

To see all my illustration portfolio samples, visit
I enjoy doing caricatures of politicians and celebrities... but since I never promote this capability to industry art directors (none of my illustration advertising, promotions or web site portfolios contain any caricature samples), I receive very few calls from art directors requesting a caricature.
Over the years I remember having created illustrations (for various magazines) of Mr. Rogers, Bette Midler, President Clinton, President Reagan, President Bush (the first one), Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Julia Childs, Pamela Anderson, and others...
Posted here is a past illustration I did of our previous prez, Bill (Bubba) Clinton, and a new caricature I recently created of our prez-elect, Barrack Obama, who I refer to as “Baroque Obama.” (see earlier post)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Excessive Sweating? Twitchy Legs? (sure signs of a recession)

To see all my illustration portfolio samples, visit
Posted above are two projects I was involved with at the test stage... neither of which proceeded to a “final”. In other words, in both cases the client decided on a different direction than with what I was hired to create for the preliminary test (comp) stage.
At the top is a photo of my mock test label I created for Unilever Degree antiperspirant, done through red orchestra/branding in Chicago, under the direction of Bernard Mongiardini/Creative Director. Also shown is the full set of four “attitude/scent” test labels I created... Bernie asked me to update the Degree “check mark” logo and include various orbiting icons representing the essence of each attitude/scent. Unfortunately my approach was rejected, and the client chose to go in a different direction for the project...
Next is the grasshopper character I created for UCB Pharma ...the German pharmaceutical's drug advertisement/packaging aimed at restless leg syndrome (RLS) sufferers. It was done through Mc/K Healthcare Advertising in Boston, Breda Kenyon and Erin Murphy/art directors. The advertising agency had already decided on the grasshopper as a character, and needed me to insert my stylish spin. These ad comps were presented to the client... but apparently using a grasshopper concept to represent the drug was scrapped compeletly.
So, if the current troubling national/global economic downward spin is causing you excessive sweating during the day and jumpy legs at night, you will just have to find products without my artwork on the packaging to relieve your symptoms!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Endpapers from my next three picture books...

To see all my illustration portfolio samples, visit
When I create the illustrations for a children's picture book, I always complete all the inside illustrations first, then do the cover, title page(s) and endpaper art last. I purposely keep the endpaper image graphic, simple, and use the computer to help generate the pattern effect... which generally means it is an image I can finish in about a day. (compared to how time intensive most of the inside images are.) I find that creating the endpaper art is usually the most “satisfying” and fun, because it feels kind of like finally snapping the lid shut on the entire book project.
Posted here are detail views from the endpapers of my next three picture books coming out: The top image is from PANTALOON, due out by Random in 2010 (see earlier post about this book), in the middle is from HARRY HUNGRY!, due out in 2009 by Harcourt (see earlier post about this book), and at the bottom is from STAMPEDE! The Wild Side of School, due out in 2009 by Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Baroque Obama... man of words, man of action?

To see all my illustration portfolio samples, visit
The Baroque period in art, roughly from 1600 to 1750, generally speaking, was a dynamic era... spacious, colorful, an age of expansion and of new science called the "Enlightenment." It signified that the old, dark, mythical way of reading the world had been given up and the light of knowledge had brought a new day.
The word “Baroque” may be of Portuguese origin from “barroco” meaning an irregularly shaped pearl. Maybe Barack Obama is the symbolic "pearl" signifying the dark days of the Bush administration are over and our country (and the world) are at the dawn of a truly new and enlightened period. Maybe 2009 will be the beginning of unprecedented changes in society, so that 50 years from now these ongoing advances in technology and shifts in spirituality will result in a world without pollution, without war and far less poverty.
Posted above is a quick caricature I did this weekend of President-elect Obama as “Baroque Obama.” Hopefully we will all discover very soon he'll begin backing up the powerful and inspiring words of his campaign speeches with powerful action...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

All the Art That's Fit to Print (And Some That Wasn't)

To see all my illustration portfolio samples, visit 

This week I was invited to the book publication/author signing party here in Manhattan of the new book, “All the Art That's Fit to Print (And Some That Wasn't) -Inside The New York Times Op-Ed Page” published by the Columbia University Press. It is written by Jerelle Kraus, the NY Times Op-Ed Page art director (and image contributor) from 1979 through 1992... I received my invitation to the event due to having been a regular contributor of social & political drawings to the NY Times Op-Ed Page from 1980 through 1985, and then only sporadically after that. 

Back in 1979, when I graduated from Parsons School of Design, one of my instructors was J.C. Suares, the well-known art director, designer, illustrator, and film maker... and who was then the art director of New York magazine, and also had been the art director of the NY Times Op-Ed Page before Jerelle Kraus. Upon my graduation he immediately began commissioning me to create illustrations for New York magazine, and one day at New York magazine he pulled me aside and told me to visit Jerelle Kraus at The New York Times, to show her my portfolio, as she was the new art director of the famed Op-Ed Page. 

Jerelle saw something she liked in the dark, organic, line drawings I was doing at the time, and subsequently she began hiring me to create drawings for the Op-Ed page, as well as for the Letters to the Editor page. I was only 21 years old when I had my first Op-Ed Page drawing appear in The New York Times! When I reflect back, it seems like a lifetime ago... and a fuzzy dream that I had been so lucky to have participated in creating images for that world stage at such a young age. (I think myself, and fellow image-makers Martin Kozlowski (aka KOZ), and Mark Podwal all share the distinction of having been the youngest contributors to The New York Times Op-Ed Page at age 21.) 

At the book signing event, I met with Jerelle, the first time I had seen her in about 23 years, and she graciously signed a copy of the book with a warm inscription to me. I expressed what an honor it is to have been a part of the Op-Ed Page's graphic history. Thus far I have only read parts of the book, but it is a fascinating account of her interactions with the artists and her head-butting with the editors. I remember back in the early 80's when I would deliver my drawings to her office at the Times (remember, this was before the fax, personal computer and internet!), on the wall I always saw a photo of her in the Oval Office with President Richard Nixon... and now, in this book, I finally learned the story behind the photo. 

Posted above is the cover of Jerelle's wonderful new book, and also one of my drawings (from about 1982) included in the book... an image about the Soviet's bloated military budget relative to their meager social program expenditures.