My Illustration Career

A Legacy of Commercial Art

For 17 years I traded hours for dollars as an Illustrator, doing virtually any sort of art that would put food on the table for my family and me.

The assignments I took were as varied in technique as the clients the art supported. In my first years, I drew pen and ink renderings of plumbing parts for a local San Diego chain. I painted a 1980 Monte Carlo for a billboard. I painted a picture of a PSA Airlines passenger plane for an ad, and I was too "green" to know better when the art directors (Clem and Bonnie Schwartz in San Diego) made me sign a release of all rights to the work after I turned it in and before I got paid. PSA used it as their logo for the next 10 years or so, until their eventual bankruptcy. I got $800 for it.

I did architectural interiors from floor plans and elevations. I did artist's renderings of planned building sites. I painted people having fun in Las Vegas, with pictures of all the things they could buy with their winnings. I painted book covers for the Christy Miller Series for female young adults. I painted covers for The Homeschool Detectives, by John Bibee, not coincidentally a distant relative on my mother's side.

I painted illustrations supporting family building tools for Focus on the Family Magazine, and Romance Novel covers for Harlequin. I painted movie posters, comps, and standees for movies ranging from Return of the Killer Tomatoes to Back to the Future III; from Doc Hollywood to Havana, from War Boy to '68 (yeah, no one else has ever heard of those, either).

Illustration was good to me. It was a difficult road at times. All-nighters were all-too common, but the "overtime pay" was pretty good. Commercial Art supported a family of five, put us in comfortable homes, and put good food on our table, clothes on our backs, gifts under the Christmas Tree, a couple of vacations in Hawaii, and a few gray hairs on my head.

I listened to arguments about how Illustration was not real art.


But I like real food. Call me a prostitute, but I had a family to feed. My dedication to them was greater than a snobby need to be a purist. Besides, I've seen too many 'purists' living in warehouses with no heaters.

Oops! How'd that soap-box get under my feet?

Anyway, come on in and sit a while. Pick up my virtual coffee-table book of illustrations and thumb through, if you'd like. Grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and enjoy.

Don't know how to get there? Allow me to Illustrate.