Thursday, August 25, 2016

Clip Art! The Hidden Shame of Illustration!

Who does those anonymous drawings you might see in the Penny Saver of Uncle Sam promoting the local used car lot, shoppers rushing toward a "Sale" sign for a clothing store or a bunch of happy kids for a "Back to School Savings" ad?
Envision me sheepishly raising my arm from the back of the classroom.
I think I must have seen a "We're looking for artists" type ad in the early '80's and submitted samples to Dynamic Graphics, or I just wrote them out of the blue (where the hell are my fact-check people?!). Anyway, they loved my illustrations (who doesn't?) and we started over 20 years (and 100's and 100's of illustrations) of working together, only ceasing when they kinda petered out of business (don't look at me!). Doing Clip Art was easy and enjoyable. "Easy" because they were all great folks who rarely asked me to redraw anything (the mark of any wise art director) and "Enjoyable" because my checks always arrived promptly 10 days after they got the finished art. For their subscribers, it was a less costly alternative to hiring illustrators. This way, when the big "Clipper" folios arrived, they could just cut out the appropriate images and use them for whatever needs they might have. For me, on top of that was the fun of seeing my art turn up A LOT and sometimes in the oddest places. From a car hop gal who must have been the mascot of at least 4 different restaurants (friends mailed the menus to me) to Santa being added to the cover of a Bondage catalog (Which was also sent to me. No, not because I ordered it, but because my art was recognized. Really! I'm not going to untie you until you agree!).
Think of this as an historical tour rather than me trying to show off my greatest work. The quality ranges from 'Pretty Good' to 'Not Pretty Good'.
The art is not in any order, but the earlier pieces from the late '80s are marked by a lot of little lines, then I evolved into a more graphic fashion art look which got even more stylized as I copied a lot of the flourishes of fellow clip artist, the great Frank Fruzyna (
The Frank influence faded away as the comic book graphic look came to the forefront. I became more of their 'Roy Lichtenstein' go-to guy. This lasted (with variations) until DG hung up the 'Gone Fishing' sign on the front door.
have no idea who owns the rights nowadays. Someone bought DG, then someone bought that company, and so on. But Hell, it's clip art baby, if you need an image of someone with a 90s mullet wearing a giant shoulder jacket, slap it on your next business flyer garage sale ad or major advertising campaign!
It's all fine by me!
...and keep checking back, I got a couple hundred left to add!