I need to make a fun illustration about how Kansas City is a town of arts and big ideas. Should I focus on the visual arts? performing arts? First Fridays? architecture? the loved/loathed shuttlecocks and sky stations? Yes.
So this one is a bit busy, but I like to think its fun and vibrant too. That's what I tell myself anyways.
Here's how the Jazz illustration turned out. Overall I like it but there are a few things that bug me. I'll look at it again after completing a few more illustrations and see if said things still bug me.
So this illustration plays off the idea of Kansas City being a Paris of the Plains. I always thought Paris of the Plains referred to KC in its youth being a cultural hub and bustling city on the plains. Then I read it referred to the fact that KC is second only to Paris in miles of boulevards and parkways. Next I read it referred to the decadent prohibition era of Boss Tom Pendergast, when KC was a city that never slept. Well I've come to realize its all those things so it doesn't really matter. Also with all the recent Cuba hubub I heard Havana being referred to as the Paris of the Western Hemisphere it became clear that its just one of those phrases people like to throw around to classy something up. It must be good to be Paris!
So anyways for this illustration we opted to go with a bustling downtown scene from the turn of the last century. The centerpiece is a cable car running down 9th street. I knew Kansas City had a huge network of street cars but until recently I had no idea about the cable cars! What's the difference you ask? Well, cable cars get their locomotion by gripping an always-moving cable located in a slot centered between the rails (think San Francisco trolleys). Street Cars are powered by electric motors which get their electricity from a grid of wires suspended above the road. The cable lines had a short, but extensive run here in town. In fact, at one time KC had the 3rd biggest network of cable cars in the country. Its like we were the San Francisco of the Midwest! See, I don't know about that kind of phrasing. Its like saying "Hey! You're like that other guy who does that thing better!"
Here's a comparison of the rough sketch for the Westport illustration next to the final, painted version.
Here's a couple more illustrations for this Kansas City project. If there's one thing KC has in spades, its passion for our teams. I shouldn't phrase it like that. There's certainly more than one thing we have. Did I ever mention we have Tacos In A Tub? Tacos. In a tub. That's right. SO let me start over.
PROMINENT in the long list of awesome things about Kansas City (including tubs full of tacos) is our passion for our sports teams. We have some of the best fans in the country - be it football, baseball, soccer, or college basketball - people here can't get enough. And they're good fans too. Go to a Chiefs game wearing a Raiders jersey and you'll still get offered brats, beer and ribs in the parking lot. Then again if you're a Raiders fan you might want to keep an eye on that Brat during its journey from the grill to your hand. Just saying I can't speak for everyone.
The point of this sketch was to put the emphasis on the excitement and experience of the crowd more so then the teams. I love our major teams, but I swear you could go to a chess tournament or a curling match in this town and still find people tailgating in the parking lot and lovingly yelling expletives inside. Its an awesome place to be a fan and we're always ready to root for the home team.
So what is the best fountain to capture the spirit of this "City of Fountains?" Is it the epic, classical JC Nichols fountain so often seen in file footage used by the local news? Or is it a more modest and personable fountain? Perhaps something you pass on your walk to work where you can stop and eat a sandwich? Maybe it's that fountain the kids can play in without getting yelled at?....while you eat a sandwich. I guess in the end I just wanted to sketch a place for some lady to eat a sandwich.