Like most illustrators, I watch with interest the development of AI art. I think it’s fascinating, but I also think the idea that it will wipe out illustration is a bit unwarranted for a number of reasons (see Lauren Panepinto’s recent excellent article) – one of which is that a lot of illustration  work is made to solve very specific problems. Here are a bunch of old preliminary drawings, done to solve random compositional/drawing illustration  problems, all were made to show a client before executing finished art. Working from a problem, or what one might call a prompt. The work I do nowadays is usually more conceptual than most of these sketches, but my point is this: illustration is about ideas, not images, or style. It’s really not about whether something is cool, it’s about whether it serves the idea.

Materials used are all the same: 18x 24 strathmore bond paper, graphite (6b and Hb) pencils.

Ive included the assignment written in the  form of a prompt.

Portrait of julius caesar showing military and political leadership in mid- carrer phase. Must have continuity with other covers in series.

Rosa Parks being accosted by racist bus driver in 1955. leave room for type


Russian Jewish immigrant American Girl character with her cousins at a women’s suffrage protest being broken up by police


1915 American Girl Russian Jewish immigrant charachter (must have continuity across all illustrations- 7 books) reaching out to rescue friend on ferris wheel at Coney Island



in 1875, nine-year-old girl, daughter of the the leader cattle-raising clan, with her beloved gray mare.

income inequality: people forced to choose between food and heat










Flinx charachter (must have series continuity) , sci-fi girl, and flying mini-dragon in space, leave room for type. Must have conceptual and stylistic continuity across several covers.







civil war skirmish durning seige of Vicksburg.


serial killer’s apprentice metaphor




1970’s american girl charachter Julie watches San Francisco Chinese New Years parade from fire escape with her friend.




African American family saga during westward expansion, shape must be horizontal band.


Roman gold coins in Roman context, coins must not overwhelm the composition



reconstructive surgery for women




head and shoulders portrait of charasmatic charachter making transition from vaudeville to silent film






a chained dragon that lives under the sea


depiction of main charachter from Upton Snclair novel “the jungle” plus suggest meat industry horror but not literally




a medieval fantasy city built into a huge wall


Light passing through flowers creates shadow patterns suggesting mortality





suggest that someday humankind must make a choice between two civilizations


mysterious shadow patterns reveal woman’s figure

Narcissistic personality disorder among 1980s business executives

a man tells 10 stories about ten different planets in ten different galaxies




four sshool girls running away, one turns back for one last look at what’s left behind


a 10 year medieval serf boy with a pet falcon