Here is a comic strip done for the late lamented "Special Report" ~ one of a series of oversized, glossy magazines created and published by Whittle Communications (the remarkable and generous cash cow for many an illustrator back in the 1990s). Whittle was known for (among other things) their magazines that were created especially to be placed in doctors' waiting rooms. Don't laugh - it was a great idea!
Anyway, for this assignment, I was given excerpts of the book and asked to create a light-hearted comic strip, which I attempted to do. It was published as a double-page spread.
I parted long ago with the original art, so these scans are from the actual printed pages. I'm not crazy about the reproduction -- the main problem, in that pre-digital, era was that the reds and yellows I used often came out way too harsh - heavy and dark - and this is the case here. But, it's okay, I guess, not a disaster or anything as some of my earlier printed illustrations were...
Anyway, in my family we always had dogs when I was growing up and I always loved drawing them - so it was a fun job.
Spot illustrations are small drawings - often so-called "silhouettes" (that is, drawings without borders or backgrounds) that are created to be placed at the top of or within the text of an article. Their purpose is often to liven up what may otherwise be just a block of text.
Over the years, particularly during the "golden era" of whimsical illustrations in magazines in newspapers - from approximately 1980 to 2000 - I did hundreds of spot illustrations for magazines and newspapers. Although they are not as showy or respectable as a cover or full-page illustration, they can still often be challenging and fun.
In addition to (under a deadline) creating compositions and images that are pleasing to the eye, one had to also come up with easy-to-grasp conceptual "hooks" for the article. Often my attempts to do this ended up being somewhat corny and cheerfully upbeat. In the beginning, coming up with these kinds of ideas went against my lifelong grouchy and pessimistic nature - and some of the "cuter" sentiments were certainly forced. But I like to think I eventually found my way -- and my genuine pleasure and enjoyment of the work, I think, could trump the silliness of some of the concepts. I was always relieved at the moment when a sketch or idea was approved by the art director and I could finally just be like a kid and have fun making a picture.
I hope some of my readers may enjoy this (possibly too generous) selection of some of my spot illustrations, scanned from the original art. If you are a collector or art lover, you might like to know that most of the illustrations pictured are available for purchase over at the Comic Art Collective.
Because of the small size of most of the art (generally around 5" to 7" on 9" x 12" watercolor paper) as well as the esoteric subject matter, I'm pricing them in a low range, most between $40. to $75. Nevertheless, despite the lower prices, I'm quite proud of some of these pieces and honestly feel they are among some of the more successful examples of my work. I've also provided a bit more details and description of many of these pieces there as well, if you are curious (and possibly wondering what the heck is going on in some of them! - Though, to be honest, I've completely forgotten some of the articles myself).
Richard Sala grew up with a fascination for musty old museums, dusty old libraries, cluttered antique shops, narrow alleyways, hidden truths, double meanings, sinister secrets and spooky old houses. He has written and drawn a number of unusual graphic novels and has provided illustrations for a variety of clients all over the world.
His books include THE HIDDEN, DELPHINE, CAT BURGLAR BLACK, PECULIA, MAD NIGHT, THE CHUCKLING WHATSIT, THE GRAVEROBBER'S DAUGHTER, VIOLENZIA and several more.
If you have questions of any kind feel free to send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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