Illustrations for a murder mysteryWhile rummaging through some old papers I found some yellowed tearsheets from my brief inglorious career as an illustrator.  Well, it was more like a sideline than a career.

In the mid-1970’s I wrote to the editor of Susquehanna magazine, a Sunday insert in the now defunct Binghamton Evening Press newspaper, with a rather cheeky offer to provide better illustrations for their stories.  I included a cartoon drawing of an artist flinging pigment at a primitive painting.  To Darrel Burkhardt’s credit, he overlooked my youthful arrogance and offered to give me a shot.  I worked with him and a couple of his writers on various stories for several issues.  Sometimes they would provide me the story ahead of time and sometimes it would be a discussion about what they were going for.  I would provide pen-and-ink drawings that would reproduce well on newsprint.  I had some fun, made a few extra bucks, and they got some illustrations that were at least marginally better than the stuff they had been using.

It was fun while it lasted.  I don’t recall exactly how our working relationship ended but I recall it was kind of a fade-out.  They were going for more conventional stock illustration and I was realizing that this was too much like work with deadlines and specifications.  It’s a bit humbling to look at this stuff now.  Clearly I was not following in the footsteps of N. C. Wyeth or Norman Rockwell.