Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste

Prologue

Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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This One Sold #5

September 1, 2013
I would never classify this as one of my best illustrations but I’m posting it in response to comments I’ve received. Several of you have asked which of my illustrations has sold the most. That distinction is held by this picture; it’s sold over fifty times. I’m able to constantly resell it because I’ve retained the original painting along with the copyright. Clients only purchase one-time usage and are well aware of the fact that this image has been used before.

    

Originally, I painted a businessman holding clippers and cutting his way towards the dollar sign, but a panel of art directors at Parrish Financial didn’t want to exclude women and asked me to come up with a more gender neutral approach. I suggested eliminating the figure altogether. They loved the idea. But I really liked the man holding the clippers so before removing him I had my illustration professionally photographed. (This was before computers and scanners.)  The original image (showing the man) is my second most purchased illustration.

    

I’ve painted many illustrations I prefer to Money Maze, but this cash cow will always hold a special place in my heart.

 

 



Comments

25 Comments
it is really neat. :)
By: TexWisGirl on September 1, 2013
If I had known there was a big 'ol wad of cash at the end I might have learned to enjoy yard work a little more. Love the illustration, and in fact I think I've seen it before. You were smart to keep the copyright. Do you still make money from illustration "residuals"?
By: Scott Park on September 1, 2013
I'm probably wrong, but it also looks like one of your easier to paint, or is the painting always easy and the concept difficult? Love the concept!
By: Cranky on September 1, 2013
I love it!! Will we get to see the version with the businessman?
By: fishducky on September 1, 2013
It's a perfect illustration for a financial services company! What other type of companies have bought this picture?
By: Pixel Peeper on September 1, 2013
I don't know that I am good to evaluate if this isn't up to the same standard as some of the other's you've shown us. I think they ALL look amazing. For those of us that draw a straight line, I think all of your illustrations are wonderful.
By: Cheryl P. on September 1, 2013
so I guess you could say that you were holding the clippers?
By: suz on September 1, 2013
Very good concept, and i like the color pattern, at least on my computer screen, it seems to shade from more yellow to greener toward the middle.
By: mimi on September 1, 2013
So your flexibility cleared the path to a big payoff?
By: tom sightings on September 1, 2013
I really like it. I can understand why it's sold so well. I'd like to see the version with the man too.
By: LL Cool Joe on September 1, 2013
It's terrific looking! It must have taken a lot of hours to paint all the itty-bitty leaves - but the quality shows. Isn't it funny that the illustration about making money is the one that makes you the most money! lol
By: Lexa Cain on September 1, 2013
Art has so many uses and in business a strong visual metaphor can be priceless. Good for you, Stephen! Now I'd like to see an image for Cash Cow. :)
By: Daniel LaFrance on September 1, 2013
Okay. I spent more than a few seconds looking for the man. In journalism, there is the "evergreen" article that is always relevant. I suppose the continued success of your Money Maze makes it an evergreen.
By: Val on September 1, 2013
So interesting - thank you for posting it! I can see that it would be ideal for any kind of financial, economic, business, etc. purpose. I kept wondering what the #1 bestseller was going to look like.
By: jenny_o on September 1, 2013
So I guess a transvestite was out of the question? Cool pic, BTW.
By: Al Penwasser on September 1, 2013
You are such a talented man and your illustrations are exquisite.
By: Catalyst/Bruce on September 1, 2013
I can see why this painting would pay dividends. Now it would be nice to see the painting with the man in it.
By: Red on September 1, 2013
I have to agree with Red. Do you have the digital copy of the one with the man?
By: Hilary on September 1, 2013
Very nice shapes, colors, the whole composition. I see why it's your most popular. Thanks for sharing it with us, Stephen. xoRobyn
By: Robyn Engel on September 1, 2013
I can see why it has sold so many. Well done~
By: Shelly on September 2, 2013
What talent! It IS an exceptional illustration.
By: Mitchell is Moving on September 2, 2013
You gotta love an illustration you can sell over and over. I love re-selling a story. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on September 2, 2013
Very cool picture. As others have said, to one such as I with NO artistic abilities it is really fun to enjoy your talents.
By: Nancy Felt on September 2, 2013
I love the colors - & the story it tells is compelling too.
By: The Bug on September 3, 2013
What a talented man you are!
By: John on September 6, 2013

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