Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Smelly Side of 1875 St. Louis

There's gonna be a livestream from the Missouri History Museum tonight (Thursday, January 28th) covering some of my favorite parts of A Walk in 1875 St. Louis, the SMELLY parts!
I imagine they'll look at the 3-story outhouses, the limestone sinkholes overflowing with filthy rainwater, the cell-culture ice cubes...

The questionable plumbing, the home remedies, the delicious recipes...

The super markets, "fresh" meats and vegetables, etc.!

Check out the Missouri History Museum on Periscope tonight at 7 CST for all the grizzy details. Smell ya later!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Smoke Signal / Fire in the Hole

I've got a new 4-page comic strip in the new issue of Smoke Signal, #23

It's about the great Silver Dollar City dark roller coaster FIRE IN THE HOLE ...
...and the Baldknobber lore it's based on.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A (wet) Walk through 1875 St. Louis

It's been raining all week here so here's a gray and drizzly process post. As seen in a A Walk in 1875 St. Louis, this is the panel showing how water moved from thundercloud to cloudy drinking glass (and bathtub). It prominently features the Grand Avenue Water Tower, aka the Old White Tower, as seen here on plate 77 of Compton & Dry's Pictorial St. Louis.
I found the most vivid (and hopefully true-to-life) description of the tower's first design in the book A Tour of St. Louis; or, The Inside Life of a Great City. Published in 1878, this braggadocious touristy directory provided lots of background info for the exhibit at large.
Along with my buddy Leon Beyond I had investigated the lubricated inner-workings of St. Louis' old standpipe towers before:
But for this project I kept things a little bit more "by-the-book":
Final "thumbnail sketch":
Even at 13 feet tall, my illustrations of the Water Tower as it appears on the wall of the exhibit represents only 1:12 scale of the real water tower. Digital Layout:
Blue pencil drawing:
Finished ink + graphite drawing:
Final Vector Art:
The full 13'7" image:
We've also made a smaller version (along with all my other graphics showing The Inside Life of a Great City) to fit into a book we're calling the 1875 Illustrated Almanac:
Along with the Missouri History Museum's public historian Andrew Wanko, I'm gonna be doing a slideshow & signing for the Almanac this Saturday November 21st. It's at my favorite tavern in St. Louis, The Royale, from 4 to 6 pm. I can guarantee the drinks will taste better than the drinking water of 1875.

Friday, October 09, 2015

A Century of Suck

(Here was the original post back when Will and I made this in 2008)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Walk in 1875 St. Louis Colors!

Here's some more behind-the-scenes process stuff from my work on A Walk in 1875 St. Louis, still showing at the Missouri History Museum. Compton and Dry's incredible 1875 map, Pictorial St. Louis, wasn't printed in color (although Cameron over at Distilled History is apparently working on that), so I wanted to slather color all over my complementary drawings. I needed to add additional layers of sensory information, especially SMELL. 1875 St. Louis really stunk.

Schaeffer’s Soap and Candle Works, near Lucas Place at Washington and 20th streets, one of the smelliest places in town. 
Inspiration for my color palette was this 1875 lithograph advertising a short-lived Boston area brewery. I liked how the bright red brick and sudsy gold typography (beer and brick sure to important motifs in my drawings also) sat atop dusty brown streets and miasmatic skies. I eyedropper-ed accordingly:

I also tested how the colors would work with the variety of textured paper backgrounds I wanted to use:

Roughed them into my thumbnail sketches for each image:

And started to apply them to my black 'n white ink drawings.

Note that there was no green (or purple) in my palette, which would've normally been the go-to stink color.

I was forced to push yellow and gray to their aromatic extremes.

Big shout-outs to Novachrome, the printer we used for printing the large-format illustrations. Here were some of the swatches we looked at for matching colors:

Here's how they looked on strips of the final wallcoverings during installation, which turned out beautiful.

And here's the full-sized 15' foot wall.

Stay tuned for more walks through A Walk in 1875 St. Louis!