Several years ago I made a common freelancing mistake that cost me a really big client. Here’s the story and what I learned from it.
One of my clients, the Strottman agency, hired me to illustrate a children’s activity page with a Valentine’s Day theme for the home improvement chain Lowe’s. The male and female character had already been designed by another artist but otherwise this was built entirely from scratch. My understanding is that these were printed and distributed to kids who came in to the store with their parents for family activities and workshops during February.
Brooklyn Center is a Minneapolis suburb with a stretch of road containing several car dealerships that are all owned by Luther Auto. Last summer I was hired by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune to do a full-color illustration for Luther depicting a simplified version of that stretch of road. The artwork was used as an ad in the newspaper and online.
I posted a couple of more cartoons this month:
My entire archive of cartoons is at sketchbooksilliness.com. If you support my comics on Patreon you can get BONUS cartoon gag sketches and other goodies. These are usually gags I’m on the fence about so quality will vary, but as of now only my Patreon backers get to see them! Here’s a sneak peak at the past few bonus gags:Support Me On Patreon
I’m trying to post one new Sketchbook Silliness cartoon every week or so and at least a couple of bonus gags per month. Hope they give you a chuckle!
2016 was another jam-packed year for my illustration studio. I’m deeply grateful to have such a fun job where I get to work on so many exciting projects with so many amazing people. Here’s a few highlights from our most recent trip around the sun. (I’ll warn you there are a lot of projects I can’t reveal yet but I’ve linked to as many as I could):
- I created a couple of more spot illustrations for Highlights magazine. You can view them here and here.
- I was hired by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune to help them pitch advertising ideas to several businesses and brands, including a national pizza chain, a local Renaissance-themed event, and a couple more projects I can’t reveal yet.
- Speaking of art I can’t show, I also illustrated an activity puzzle for a major home improvement retail chain. I should be able to post the art sometime in February.
- Goldfish Swim Schools hired me to illustrate a fun photo standee featuring their mascot (which I also designed). I’m also in the middle of a very large project for them that I hope to be able to show in a few months.
- I helped out the Svedvick Collective with some ad concepts for a major cereal brand (again, I’m not allowed to show the work yet. Kind of a theme here.)
- I illustrated another Gospel tract/comic for the ministry of Living Waters. This one dealt with the subject of Atheism.
- I continued to help with toy design and concept art for multiple Hasbro projects (most of which I’ll never be able to show for legal/confidentiality reasons).
- I was hired by the Strottman agency to help them pitch several toy ideas to Chick-Fil-A. Once again I’m limited in what I can show but here’s a sample.
- I helped out the Smiley company on a large toy concept pitch for a well-known novelty toy brand, which I hope to be able to review soon. In the mean time, this year I was finally able to reveal l small sampling of another batch of concepts I did for them back in 2015.
- I was hired by Mountainside Farms, an east coast dairy company, to design a cow mascot for their packaging.
- My goofy cartoon sketches evolved into a webcomic I’m calling Sketchbook Silliness. People seem to like it and a couple of the cartoons went mildly viral. I’ve put together a list of my ten most popular cartoons from 2016, and I recently launched a Patreon campaign for the project which you can support here.
- I stepped up my involvement in the National Cartoonists Society. I’m now the social media guy for our chapter which means I run our Twitter feed and Facebook group. I also organized a draw-with-kids event at the Minneapolis St. Jude Walk/Run for childhood cancer, and travelled to Sioux Falls for our fall cartooning conference.
- I once again exhibited at both MSP Comic-Con’s.
- I re-posted a free download of sketchbook ideas for Inktober.
- Although most of my work is very cartoony, I also do courtroom sketching from time to time. This year I worked at trials related to Prince, ISIS, a police shooting, and the man who killed Jacob Wetterling. You can see some samples on my other website, courtroomsketches.com.
Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it all. I feel very blessed. Thanks to all of you who have supported me and shown interest in my work over the years. I wish all of you a happy and healthy 2017!
The current issue of Highlights Magazine (January 2017) includes another piece of artwork by yours truly. This time I illustrated a “Check and Double Check” puzzle. Can you find at least 18 differences in these two images?