It recently occurred to me that I had a path toward Baby Blues even before Baby Blues existed—before I even knew I had a path.
In the few years before Jerry and I became syndicated, and before we ever had the idea for the strip, I found myself gravitating toward freelance work that involved drawing kids and parents. Or maybe it was the other way around. Maybe clients sensed something in how I drew that led them to seek me out for that kind of assignment. You can never really know, but things like that become more obvious when you look back on them. Among those magazine clients, where I was a regular, were Woman’s World, Redbook, Parents magazine and Sesame Street Parents Guide.
So, from Ye Olde Freelance Files, I give you a few of the freelance jobs just prior to the creation and syndication of Baby Blues. You can see a lot of the MacPherson clan showing up in the drawings.
All of the above drawings appeared in Redbook on their back page.
Detail of the hyena family.
(Above and below) Sesame Street Magazine Parents Guide
Click to biggify.
Sesame Street always liked big illustrations that covered the whole page so they could run the headline and the beginning of the story over the illustration. I learned a lot from the work of Elwood Smith, master of the watercolor wash. In the late 70s, I’d attended a demonstration by him showing how he prepared his watercolors and applied washes to his cartoon illustrations. I
stole borrowed his little background flecks and added some squiggles of my own.