I'm happy to announce the first two books of the Notable Missourian series by Truman State University Press have been printed and they look fantastic! The books are SAM NIGHTINGALE by Mary Barile and GREAT WALKER by Greg Olson. Original illustrations by yours truly, including the cover image for Sam Nightingale. These books look fantastic. The printing, binding and overall quality are superb. Yes superb...and I don't bust out that word normally. Moreover, these stories are very well written and truly bring to life these interesting characters and the time periods in which they lived. Great stuff!
Here's another illustration from the Notable Missourian book on Sam Nightingale (Truman State University Press). This one shows him in his later years mixing traditional herbal remedies.
This illustration for the Notable Missourian book on Sam Nightingale (Truman State University Press) shows Sam using his hoodoo conjuring to remove a hex from a woman. There were a lot of great spooky options for this chapter.
I really enjoyed making this one. It makes me look forward to the Joseph Kinney finals where there will be a lot of river scenes.
The first three books of the Notable Missourian series by Truman State University Press are at the printer now. Two of them may even be complete. I cannot wait to see how the actual books turn out!
So far all of the Notable MIssourians I've illustrated have been very interesting, but there's something about Sam Nightingale (Guinea Sam) that really drew me in. Sam's complex story begins with bondage and ends with him helping to heal others. Okay so he may have occasionally hexed people too, but people should know better than to cross a hoodoo conjuror. Anyways, here's a guy that is long dead and gone and there is no photo of him and not a lot of first hand written record yet the stories of him persist. The man to this day oozes a spooky charisma. We should all be so lucky to ooze such things.
This illustration shows Sam as a boy having been captured by slave traders and marched to a slaver ship in his native country of Guinea.
(All Notable Missourian illustrations are for Truman State University Press.)
Here are some examples of the Guinea Sam comp sketches. Researching materials for the illustration of this book has lead me down some fascinating rabbit holes. (fascinating rabbit holes?) I've really enjoyed making these and I look forward to the final art.
(These sketches are for the Notable Missourian book series to be published by Truman State University Press)
AKA Sam Nightingale. Sam was an herb doctor, conjure man and story teller from Boonville Missouri. He is another fascinating subject of a book in the Notable Missourian series (Truman State University Press).
The challenge here was that there was no known photo or engraving of Sam to work with. That meant I had to come up with character sketches based on the description of his appearance and personality. To get in the mood, I listened to some hoodoo podcasts while reading up on the Gullah culture and conjuring. It worked maybe too well...I think this image might have some juju going on. My son asked me to print out a copy so he could hang it in his room and some fold deep in my lizard brain told me that was a bad idea.
Along the same lines, it seems superstition has been a theme of mine lately. The other day I had a black cat cross my path while running and the first thought that came blasting through my head was "Well great, now I'm effed." To build further on the crazy I got home and my own pet black cat came out to greet me and I thought "Oh good! I own a black cat so that nullifies any black cat crossings, right?"
Seriously, thats a thing right?
Back to reality. So Guinea Sam is a fascinating story and I can't wait to start on the final art for it, but right now I'm working on the final art for Helen Stephens so he will just have to wait...cause her story is amazing too!