In 1996 I moved to Denver and did a short stint at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. Although I never put much value on my art school education (for plenty of reasons), one very cool thing that came out of that was the ability to easily connect with potential clients. Back then, nearly all of the networking I did was done through word of mouth but being part of an art school gave me access to a lot of commissions. Unfortunately, I attended the school for only one semester but that didn’t stop me from sneaking back in periodically to pull copious amounts of work off their job board. Some of my first published work, like The Official Baby-License Exam was in part due to my complete disregard for rules.

One particular commission was for a local Denver publisher called Flannery, White & Stone. When I originally sat with them for a portfolio review, they were in the process of trying to develop a series of books to compete with Scholastic’s Goosebumps. I was brought in to create a few covers when things fell through and the series was canceled. They kept me on as a contractor and eventually I got an opportunity to do some more work. The next assignment was for a book called “The Weird History of Sports” where I created the book cover you see below.

The image was drawn and inked on a large sheet of gouache paper which I later scanned and had multiple copies made. This was my preferred way of working at the time because I could keep the original ink work intact and still be able to create additional copies if the publisher required any miscellaneous edits. Those days are far gone from today’s magic of Photoshop, but it worked. I took the liberty of adding the name of the book digitally to the image purely for context but the image itself was colored with Prismacolor design markers.