here and here). I freelanced for them for years, going back to the late '80s, doing spots and caricatures and at least two covers. In the mid '90s I started drawing for them every week, illustrating a column in the front of the book called Washington Whispers that featured inside-baseball political-gossip reporting. I'd known and worked with the art director, Michele Chu, for some time and she asked if I'd be interested in a weekly gig with a horrifying deadline that paid decently. Washington Whispers had run in USNWR for some time and several caricaturists had illustrated it, including Taylor Jones, and they were looking for a new one, ideally a local guy. So I said yes.
The deal was they'd give me the subject or situation on Thursday around 4 and the final was due on Friday around 11 (which often stretched into the afternoon). I can't remember who the first subject I did was, but I do remember it was a crummy overworked lump of a painting and they asked if I'd please redo it in a looser style, and quickly please, so I did. This is when Thursday nights first turned into all-nighters for me, a habit I'm still trying to shake. Over the next few weeks I got into the job's rhythm; get a call from Michele, do a sketch and fax it over by 5 or 6, ink the sketch onto (Saunders Waterford 140 lb hot press) watercolor paper with a lightbox and stretch the paper and watercolor it, interspersed with periods of dawdling and fretting. Then call them on Friday and a courier would show up, usually Shawn, to pick the finished drawing up. I did this for 9 years, about 50 times a year, and I learned more about watercolor and the limits of human patience than i ever would've otherwise.
I regretfully moved on in 2004; I was getting burned out and I'd started Cul de Sac in the Post Magazine while still doing the Almanac and they always clumped up on Friday. Ideally, the way freelancing worked was you'd get a few standing gigs, illustrating this or that column or whatever weekly or monthly for various clients and then you'd get one-off type jobs, a cover or a page here or there, With the decline of print this type of illustration has declined too, and I moved into newspaper comic strips I just in time to watch that decline as well. DC is a huge center of publishing, with the government and all the various associations with magazines and newsletters and such. USN&WR, The Atlantic and National Geographic are the only big national publications around here though and it's sad to see USNWR move on too. But I wish them luck wherever they go.
Here's a Clinton I did for them in '98, when he was experiencing some financial embarrassment. First the sketch I faxed to Michele.
And here's the final. I like this one, especially the suit. I've got piles of these, some good, some so-so, and I'll post them from time to time. Only the good ones, to present a slanted view of my caricature prowess.