Some samples of illustration work from my long period – post-graduation to mid-1990s – providing editorial content - often at a fast pace and to overnight deadlines - for the world of print.
NB - Click on any of these images to get a larger detailed version.
Clients included 'Weekend Guardian', 'Time Out', 'Sunday Times', 'Observer' and - no less challenging - more obscure titles like 'Doctor', 'Pulse', 'Personnel Today' and 'Microscope'.
And - it may look good, but did it taste of anything?
It was good to reflect the weightier themes of the closing century, and these publications that considered the testing aspects of technologies and other new societal tides offered rich pickings. It also suited my illustration style of bright colours often balanced by dark shadows.
With the 'Weekend Guardian' I often dealt with the rising fears and anxieties related to diet; the UK had not quite followed the US down the rabbit hole of an epidemic of obesity at this point, and Jamie Oliver must have still been eating school dinners himself.
Here, for the WG, additives were the hot potato:
Twenty years before the raw battlefields of the gender wars, divisions were being drawn between the sexes - whether you believed them or not - in terms of the '80s-spawned grail of 'lifestyle'.
Here, the comparative dietary leanings of male and female were spotlit.
The magazines like 'Microscope' that fed interest in the coming post-analogue universe of computing tested my thinking and drawing with sometimes impenetrably dry subjects. It was a pleasing irony that my pencil, ink and paper methods contributed so regularly to their pages.
The seemingly bland business and commerce-related themes of magazine such as 'Personnel Today' seem to have unleashed images that cast the suited women and men of the workplace into sometimes hellish, mythical scenarios; plunging, teetering, falling during their 9 to 5 existences, riding seas of paperwork or plagued by demons in the wires of their desktop tech.
In 'Doctor' magazine, the stresses endured by those within the profession allowed an even darker iteration of what I normally did. My love of detail is clear throughout all this, and I love the discrete spots of blood on his lapels here, essentially meaningless but suitably sinister - click on this image to get the benefit.
As with all the publications cited above, I built up long and fruitful working relationships with the commissioning art editors involved.
It was exciting work in many ways; the sheer unpredictability and unexpectedness of not just the next initial contact - often marked by the wink of the answerphone that indicated a new message – but also the fresh theme to grapple with. Alternative 'rough' ideas to follow, then finally the agreed artwork as collected by a motorbike despatch rider.
The illustrator's world; pre-mobile phone, pre-internet. Though all about connection; connecting your vision to the words of someone else (and so brisk was the work that sometimes the article was being written and illustrated at the same time and all I had were the bones of it from the editor), and so connecting the idea to the reader.
Connections made, job done.