I’ve made a living my entire life being an artist. I’ve worked in a frame shop, laid out college newspaper ads and Pennysavers, drawn for major book and magazine publishers, and illustrated and done web design for large corporations. In the latter part of my career I created litigation graphics for many high-profile IP (intellectual property, i.e., patents etc.) lawsuits, some you probably read or heard about in the news.
I spent most of my life and career in New York, and early on I aspired to draw for Marvel Comics. I attended the annual New York Comicon (affectionately known as “Seulingcon”, after its founder, Brooklyn school teacher Phil Seuling) from 1968 through about ’75, and in 1969, the year I graduated high school, I won first place in the Amateur Art Contest there. Within a couple of years I did get to do my first and last pro comic book job, and was completely surprised to find that I didn’t aspire to draw comic books the way I thought I did.
I found it much more satisfying to make my own way as a freelance illustrator, and within a few years I had managed to establish myself as a regular contributor to such magazines as Forbes, Parents, Consumer Reports’ kids magazine Zillions, The New Republic, Golf Digest, Prevention, and many others.
It’s important for a freelance artist to compile a contact list of art directors and to do promotional mailings to generate more work and new customers. It was in the early 80s that I had the inspiration to first come up with The Gravity Poster, an image of an apple falling on a man’s head, overlaid with a mathematical diagram and symbols.
Later I published a full-color glossy version that has become a classic. But that initial two-color mailing got me one of my favorite assignments: to do a regular full-page humor feature for ISAAC ASIMOV’S SCIENCE FICTION MAGAZINE in the same screwball vein as the Gravity Poster. Titled “Mooney’s Module”, for three years they let me get away with some pretty silly stuff, for which I will always be grateful.
My illustration work continued, but for the last fifteen years of my working career I found myself working in the field of litigation graphics. Sounds boring, right? Well, we did do a lot of “document” screens like you see on TV, with pages of some deposition or subpoena fanned out, with a big callout of the important text all highlighted. There were a LOT of those. However I also got to do some really interesting interactive exhibits and cg animation as well as some other things such as screen capture of video games, or explaining VR technology, flash drives or molecular processes with animation.
Of course my background is as an illustrator, pure and simple, which in essence is drawing pictures of people involved in a story. At one time I did watercolors of two scenes from “A Tale of Two Cities” and while I enjoyed the exercise, they were too dissimilar in style and not done with any format in mind, so I put it aside. I always loved “Bleak House”, though!
The dissimilarity of the two “Tale of Two Cities” pieces always bugged me. If I was going to take on a big, multi-piece project, I wanted to work in a medium that would require some visual continuity. I had always liked linoleum cutting, a medium I’d learned in high school, and the technical demands and aggressively hand-made look to it gave it extra appeal. It also seemed well-suited to illustrating Dickens.
I began this project in Spring 2019 and I feel especially lucky to have been able to continue practicing my art in spite of the pandemic which has hampered the activities and livelihood of so many of our acting and performing friends. In the spirit of Dickens’ legendary stage performances and readings of his work, I dedicate this project to all our performer and musician friends.
As for publishing an actual book as an end result, I continue to pursue every avenue to make that happen. Even as you read this, I guarantee that there are new avenues to publishing being created, so options are constantly multiplying.
In the meantime, please enjoy this work! You can contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.