During the years 1997-2001 my friend Dan Simon was in charge of much of the design for mechandise and promotions for the Los Angeles Dodgers. We worked on a number of projects together and I enjoyed every minute of every one. I grew up in Los Angeles, and have been a Dodger fan my whole life, even when they fielded horrible teams. Dan is a great art director who knows the value of good illustration and it was great to see these projects appear at Dodger Stadium.
One of the ideas Dan had was to print up old-fashioned scorecards like they used to sell in the past. Just a simple four-page scorecard with a cover design and an ad on the back.
I have a collection of the scorecards Otis Shepard did for the Chicago Cubs in the 40's and 50s, and Dan didn't have to ask me twice if I thought I could do some new designs in that style. These two covers are shameless imitations of Shepard's wonderful work. (He also created hundreds of ads for Wrigley's Gum.) The second one is an even more shameless imitation of the legendary Joseph Binder, the poster artist that Shepard leaned heavily on for his own work.
This was a short-lived idea however. These scorecards didn't sell well, maybe because no one knows how to keep score themselves anymore.
Otis Shepard scorecards
Outfield Wall Dodger Stadium
One year the Dodgers decided to line the outfield wall with portraits of Dodger greats from the past. Dan thought it would be a good idea to treat each player's portrait as a vintage advertisement. There were about 12-15 billboards that remained up all season. I enjoyed watching every game that year.
Dodger Heroes Patches
For the 1998 season each Dodger player selected a great Dodger player from the past, and we made sleeve patches to be worn on their uniforms. There were about 30 different ones.
Dodgers Marketing Trailer
The Dodgers had this Marketing Trailer that they dragged around to schools and community events that was full of memoralbia and information on the history of the team. I designed this mural to decorate the sides of the trailer.
Jackie Robinson 50th Anniversary Poster
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's breaking of the color barrier, the Dodgers produced this poster, It also pays tribute to the fact that a Dodger player had won the Rookie of the Year Award for the past five straight years.
Sadly, this level of design only lasted at Dodger Stadium for as long as Dan was there. He very selfishly decided to move to Louisville KY for the benefit of his family. He actually put the lives of his children before thoughts of my illustration career and my access to great tickets.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Vice President Dick Cheney was asked what effect the grim milestone of at least 4,000 deaths in the five-year Iraq war might have on the nation.
Noting the burden placed on military families, the vice president said the biggest burden is carried by President George W. Bush, who made the decision to commit US troops to war, and reminded the public that U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan volunteered for duty.
Last year I get a call from Random House in London for two Ernest Hemingway paperback covers for the Vintage series. They have a basic cover format using Gill Sans and Bodoni and they want me to create simple images that look like they fit the period of each book. Death in the Afternoon and The Old Man and The Sea. What could go wrong? I send two pencil sketches each, they pick the ones they like, I finish them up and send them off. Everybody's happy, I get paid and look forward to seeing the printed books.
Finished cover I sent for The Old Man and The Sea
A few months pass, and I think, "I wonder if those books are in the stores yet?" I'll check the UK Amazon site and take a look. They're listed...but something looks odd.
Finished covers issued by Random House
It seems like the art director or someone at RH thought the covers needed that little something extra to make them look "Vintage." I need a drink.
The Los Angels Times is running an article this Sunday on the closing of Dutton's Books in Brentwood and they've interviewed a few writers about their favorite independent bookstores in town. Paul Gonzalez, the greatest art director on earth, calls and asks me to do some drawings of the stores to accompany the article. So, I make the rounds, do the drawings and send him these. He likes them so much he ups the budget!
The fee now just about covers what I spent on books in the stores this weekend.