I was honored to create a print commemorating the 10th Anniversary Shows for the legendary improv group and long-time Chicago fixture, Cook County Social Club. Here are the steps behind the creation:
1. Concept. Greg Hess, CCSC and former classmate of mine at Stuarts Draft Middle School in VA, suggested doing something WPA inspired. That led me to a bunch of great WPA artwork around Chicago, including a very cool mural at the local Old Town School of Folk Music.
2. Here it is more fleshed out. I wanted it to look a little more like a homecoming, since that's what these shows were, CCSC returning to Chicago. And of course, like in WPA art, I needed to show the implements of work. There's also a combination of a few other common Depression-era themes: A fascination with train travel, highrises, and good old farming of the land.
3. Then, since I wanted to make this a screenprint, I used 5 colors: Yellow, dark blue, light blue, green, and brown. It was refreshing to be limited this way.
4. Then I turned to Emily Fundis to put my vision into a workable, screenprintable design. She does great work of her own and has the screenprinting experience to know what would work. This is how it turned out:
And this is the actual CCSC improv team:
One fact about this illustration is that I included two of my friends who were responsible for even getting me interested in trying Map Room, Jim and Tom (pictured walking out front). Jim was a co-worker who was very excited to hear that I lived down the street from Map Room, on Western and Armitage. I think we probably went there within a few weeks of knowing each other or something, and I distinctly remembering him encouraging me to try a Delerium Tremens as a way of getting out of my usual beer standbys and into the new.