On the Drawing Board

November 6th, 2007 | Posted in On the Drawing Board

Right now I have several jobs on the board including another MAD job, an ad project, another poster illustration and two other ongoing projects. Last month was incredibly busy and so this month I will be able to begin sharing some of the jobs I did as they start to see print.

This one is printed and shipping, and is a good example of how a job can evolve during it’s process. The job was for Scholastic, and originally was a 1/2 page spot illustration to accompany a story about the presidential primary race. It was a different kind of job for me as it did not deal at all with people but with cartoon animals. I love drawing cartoon animals… I find imbibing them with life and expression while still trying to capture the specifics of the animal itself a fun exercise. The idea here was to show a race between ‘candidates’ from the two major parties using their respective mascots. Here is the pencil rough for the 1/2 page (horizontal) spot:

Click for a closer look

The client really liked the look and feel of the sketch, so they decided they now wanted me to do the cover of the magazine, as well as two smaller 1/4 page spots for the interior. That necessitated a new round of pencils, but I was able to salvage some of the original sketch and incorporate it into a full page layout by changing the angle of the viewpoint a bit:


Then I did the two spots in the same general flavor:



These were quickly approved. I wanted to do something a little different with the finishes, avoiding the hard black line and going with a colored line and paint technique that makes for a softer look. I cleared this with the client first, but as I have done a lot of work for them over the last few years that was just an exercise in courtesy… they know what they are getting with me. Here are the final results:

Click for a closer look

Click for a closer look


Click for a closer look


  1. I love the expressions on the donkeys’ faces in the donkeys-only picture.
    If any of the other parties had animal mascots… well, they’d be too far behind to be pictured anyway.

  2. pleasantsarg says:

    I love seeing the progress and the final result. The color makes a huge difference in defining the space the characters occupy.

    I also like the line style- all of the animals have such life.

  3. quikdraw4 says:

    I agree. The expressions are priceless!
    Nice color. I like how animation studios incorporate their celebrities likeness in the animal,object etc. the celebrity’s voicing over.
    I kept looking at the above illustration to see if Tom tried incorporating any of the candidates likenesses into the animals.
    Great job again Tom.

  4. Tom says:

    Thanks, guys… no candidate’s features in the mascot’s faces… they wanted it totally generic.


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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