Friday, December 31, 2021

Happy New Year

It's nearing the end of the Holiday Season, and I don't know about you, but it seems like I've had little extra time - for a while. So, I have been absent here. But now that we have an entirely New Year to play with, our slates are clean! (Kidding.) New commitments and adventures await, for all of us. 

For the first time in years we did not send out a custom family Christmas card. I was swamped with client projects, my wife and daughter equally busy with work and school...and just as we were catching our breath, unfortunately, our family dog passed away. I drew a card, but didn't have the heart, or the time to print it and mail it.

Without further pontificating, I'll share a few recent things.

First, some photos from a family Christmas trip to visit my Mom in Illinois..



First, from the drawing board last month are two New Yorker cartoons.

This idea germinated after speaking with a client who is a Federal judge regarding the evolution of the legal system during the pandemic. (Find this cartoon here: )
Available at CartoonStock, London

The next project goes back to November. Most of my clients are out of state, and this was a rare local gig - a fun one at that. I was commissioned to write and draw five political cartoons to fight a well-funded initiative pushed by a group of real estate investment firms located outside Colorado.

Here are two of the five pieces...all were published in the Boulder Camera newspaper, and a in series of website pages, posters, mail pieces, etc.

From the Denver Post: "The proposed ordinance is so poorly written that it would unintentionally rezone all residential neighborhoods in Boulder. It destroys occupancy limits. It doesn't include a provision to ensure affordability, and it failed to include a clause to prevent rental housing investors from subdividing rooms or scraping houses and replacing them with de facto dorms. It happened in Austin and could happen here."

After starting off well behind in the polling, the opposition group who hired me pulled off an upset in the election, and defeated the well-funded real estate consortium, (They filed an appeal with the Colorado Supreme Court, and failed there as well.) Afterwards, I got a chance to talk with some city council members about their relief, and received some nice feedback from the Boulder mayor. It reminded me that the most rewarding and enjoyable work can sometimes be in your own back yard.


This was created for a retiring CEO at Heidrick and Struggles, the world's leading executive search and placement firm. I worked with some folks in their their Houston office in writing ad drawing scenes for the gentleman depicted .he final art was printed on 18" X 24" 55 lb stock, then matted and framed. It was presented to him at his retirement party.

(Clicken to embiggen)


I just wrapped up a similar project for an executive at Golin Public Relations. Golin is a Fortune 500 company with 50 offices around the globe, (and I was admittedly unfamiliar with them.) Their HQ is in Chicago, where they occupy the 26th floor of the John Hancock Tower, one of my favorite buildings in the world.

The illustrations are a gift, commissioned to honor a career milestone for Fred Cook, the Chair Emeritus of Golin. I discussed the five scenes with two of Golin's management, via Microsoft Teams. Then I created sketches, and after approval, finished pen and ink drawings with watercolor washes. Everything was matted and framed in a horizontal layout of five scenes.


The Hancock building was one of my favorite places to go as a kid while living 
near the windy city, (so I was pleased to get a chance to draw it for this project...



Next is a new project for long-time client, Google. I was asked to create a series of marketing cartoons comparing Google's cloud services to those of Amazon AWS and Microsoft AZURE. The format, dialogue and vantage point (presentations to a typical Chief Technology Officer) were the ideas of one of their marketing managers.  Below is a first draft sketch "proof". I'll be creating roughly a dozen follow up cartoons in color, based on this comparison, beginning in January.


I'm a car enthusiast and also a racing fan (Indy and CART series, not Nascar). The past two months worked out well, as I got a chance to draw several cars. 

The first was for a 12-time winning CART series racing team. The owner of the team approached me about possibilities for a cartoon illustration the for his team's advertising, apparel and posters. The look he wanted was to be reminiscent of the old CAR-Toons hot rod magazines of the 70's and 80's. (I was familiar with them, having leafed through a few at the local drug store when I was a teen.) 

This is a Sprint Racing series car, and to the casual observer, it looks odd with the plethora of wings & spoilers. Racing these is a blast, and many of the biggest names in Indy and Nacar (like Kyle Larson) also race these cars - simply because they are so much fun. 800 horsepower, light weight...magic.


Initial Sketch:

Next step, adding color. The owner asked me to create two versions, one with his driver, and one with an anthropomorphic driver- a rat - (as was the style in the "Car Toons" magazine.)


Lastly, an illustrated logo for a humorous podcast hosted by a gentleman in Connecticut. His sensibilities and humor were a cross between Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld. Working with him was a great deal of fun. I can't wait to listen to his podcast.

Next, an 18 x 24 illustration for a Boston judge, featuring him driving his (rather pedestrian Subaru Cross trek) on a race track in North Carolina. (This was personal commission given to him by an attorney with whom I work each month on the Boston Police Department magazine.)


Bedeep, bedeep, that's all, folks. Happy 2022!
Update 1/8 - Adding a couple of pics. - We received a foot of snow in the nearby mountains, so my daughter Julia and I went skiing Friday. The sunshine and plentiful soft powder made for a beautiful day. We took her to the airport Sunday, so she could she return to college. it's very quiet around here.