Friday, April 4, 2014

Rediscovering Raritan Landing

Around this time two years ago, I was hired for a job by the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission to do a children's book. The book was to be paired with an exhibit they were putting together at the East Jersey Old Town Village in New Brunswick. The exhibit, which should be opening soon, was to be about Raritan Landing, an archaeological project that spanned decades and uncovered the remains of what once was a prosperous Colonial port on the Raritan River.

For months, I did research on the project. My main source was Rebecca Yamin's Book Rediscovering Raritan Landing: An Adventure in New Jersey Archaeology. You can view it here. I read it a few times, and really studied it for important details I would need for my illustrations later. With both the book and the [above linked] website, I was able to piece together the layout of the town and how it would have functioned. This map in the book was also a great help:
This is the image that greets you in Yamin's book in the Prologue

Later, I would also use the internet to search for smaller details (like what the uniform of a British soldier would look like if he was in the 35th Regiment of Foot).

About a year ago, once all the details about the project were approved, I began drawing. I won't release all the art until the exhibit is out, but I'll leave you with a few "thumbnail-to-sketch-to-finish" examples until then.
These are the thumbnails for the Tavern scene. I needed to get a lot of information in one illustration, and I wanted to make sure that it was accurate. I did a LOT of research to get this scene right.
This is the sketch we ended up going with. 
And the final! Ta-dahhhh!

More to come on this project!

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