Cartoon for a Home Repair Business

I’ve done several cartoons for my friend Mary Lennon, who does home repair & maintenance for many customers in my area through her business Lennon’s Small Jobs. Mary uses my cartoons as New Year’s postcard greetings to thank her clients and remind them that she’s available for further work.  Every year we use a one-panel gag, with a penguin arriving to do one of the jobs Mary is most commonly called for.  This year’s card:

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and a brief plug – I now have my St. Patrick’s Day cards on my Etsy page, if you click right HERE . They have my illustration of a quaint Irish cottage in the spring – so please take a look if you have a special person to send a lovely Irish wish to on St. Patrick’s Day.

Illumination for the Lord’s Prayer

I was asked by the rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, a lovely gem of a church in Doylestown, to create an ‘illumination’ around the Lord’s Prayer, which a friend had scripted in calligraphy for him. (I was happy not to have to letter it, that’s not my forte!) The illuminated piece was to be given as a gift to a retiring churchwarden.

illuminated_manuscriptTraditional illumination uses symbols and design elements to decoratively frame a piece of writing, like this one from the 1400s. Many illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages onward were created by monks copying the Bible, and so contain many examples of religious imagery, as well as animals and plants from nature. Since the printing press was not in general use then, hand-copying was the only method of reproducing the Bible.

To design my illumination I placed a print out of the calligraphy on 11″x 14″ paper, which was the size requested, and since there was a good bit of room near the bottom of the page, I drew a decorative border of lilies on the sides, leading to an illustration at the bottom of the page. I reread Matthew:6 and thought a Sermon on the Mount illustration would fit well, so I penciled in a drawing of Jesus speaking to a gathering crowd on a mountainside.

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This design was approved with minor changes by the priest and others in the parish he consulted.  I filled in a quick color version using colored pencils –

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I had my local printer, Cortineo Creative, print the calligraphy file on 4 different types of paper, to see which would best take the color washes I planned to use. Once I decided on a linen-weave paper, they printed the prayer centered on the 11 x 14″ sheet, and I transferred my drawing using a lightbox, and drew and painted the finished art.

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The framed art made a beautiful and meaningful gift for the churchwarden, and I am thrilled to use my God-given talent to memorialize this beautiful prayer.

Lobby Carpet Test Lab

My latest art for an article in Lodging magazine is another scene of controlled chaos, somewhat like my Rube Goldberg drawing and the human gameboard art I drew a while back.  This article detailed how hotel managers must carefully examine all new furnishings when shopping for upgrades, to determine which new purchases will wear well and provide the best return on investment for them.

My editor said this illustration could be kind of humorous, and she suggested something like a lab where scientists ‘test’ carpets with outrageous means, like using a jackhammer on them.  I loved that idea and so sketched that and a few other ideas in pencil.  I added some researchers looking at a sample carpet under a microscope, another examining damaged carpets, and one trying to wear down the carpet on a treadmill. At first I put her character in stilettos, but they didn’t read well in a small size, so I switched them to heavy boots for the final.lodging_lookinggood_sk1

The editor approved, so I did put quick color on a copy of the sketch, in colored pencil. I had to research drawing several items I don’t draw often, like the jackhammer, microscope, acetylene torch and fire extinguisher –

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then I transferred the drawing to illustration board, outlined in prisma pencil and painted it in with acrylic paint washes.  The finished art:

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Bobsledding and Copyrights

I learned some interesting things about copyrights when I illustrated a New Year’s card recently for one of my clients, Kohlhepp Investment Advisors LLC.

Kohlhepp is a family business and I’ve been drawing the staff for years doing funny things to ring in the New Year – riding a roller coaster economy, holding up a crumbling debt ceiling,  almost falling off a fiscal cliff. This year, with the economy looking up in so many ways, they wanted to play on the upcoming Olympic games and have an upbeat drawing of the family members eagerly piling into a bobsled for a race.

I drew a pencil sketch with the younger members of the staff taking off, with Ed Sr., the patriarch of the family, coaching them from the crowd; then went on to a color-pencil rough color sketch.

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I agreed with the staff that Ed sank too much into the crowd in this composition, so I moved him out of the crowd, coaching them from the left with a stopwatch in his hand.  At this point daughter Mary Beth asked if I was sure it was ok to draw the Olympic rings on the wall – could that be a copyright infringement? I had to check into it, and she was right, the Olympic rings, or anything even looking like the well-known five interlocking rings, is copyrighted by the International Olympic Committee.

We came up with an alternative: how about putting ‘Pyeongchang 2018’ along the wall?  Looked it up – no, that too, as well as Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016, is copyrighted by the IOC. Upon further reading, I learned that the IOC is particularly aggressive in suing entities that appropriate their brand – in fact, they even filed suit against the first Special Olympics for using the word ‘Olympics’, until public backlash forced them to withdraw it. However, I can understand now why the IOC can be so particular – the companies that do become ‘Olympic sponsors’ pay an awful lot of money to be officially affiliated with the brand; and if organizations who are not an official sponsor start using Olympic branding to suggest that they are, that dilutes the value of the sponsorship of the officially designated companies.

We did not want to run afoul of this entity, obviously, so we came up with the idea of putting international flags – which are not copyrighted – along the wall. I drew the final art and I think the result still implies a famous sports event without treading on any legal  infringement.

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Pressed Flower Wedding Keepsake

pressedflowers_juliebouquet_detailMy daughter was married one year ago at New Year’s Eve and carried a beautiful bouquet of roses and greens designed by the artisans at Doylestown Flowers.  I’ve always loved pictures of pressed flowers, and thought it would be a lovely keepsake to save the flowers from her bouquet. While the happy couple were on their honeymoon I dried petals, greens and stems from her bouquet between pages of large books. Recently I chose some ivory parchment paper as a background and designed a simple picture from the dried items. A mat and silver frame completed the gift for their first anniversary.

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Corporate Holiday Card: Executives and Slot Cars

For the last five or so years I have illustrated fun holiday greeting cards for the crowd at Safe-Guard Products, an international company specializing in vehicle insurance. I am usually asked to draw the eight company directors in some holiday activity, and this year brought the surprising request that they be racing slot cars, a hobby that many of them enjoy.  I have photos of all of them from previous years, so I started with a rough pencil sketch –

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They asked for a few changes, and gave me very specific car models to match to their drivers – I had to google them all because I’m not really a sportscar buff! I tightened up the sketch –

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and painted it in for the finish.

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