Here's a comparison of the rough sketch for the Westport illustration next to the final, painted version.
Here are some sketched ideas for the first illustration of a new mystery project. OooOOo a mystery! I will say this - its about Kansas City! I'm having a blast with it and learning a lot about the area. And when I say I'm learning a lot its not code for "I reluctantly did boatloads of mind numbing research". Honestly I'm having a hard time putting down the books and keeping myself from taking too many "research" road trips around town.
One thing I've begun to unravel is the relationship Westport had with Kansas City. I just figured settlers got off their horses two centuries ago and said "Here we shall make thy bar district! Jebediah! Thou quaffs ale like a Puritan!" Not so! Turns out it was a small town where people would set off on the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails. It was a Port to the West. Which makes sense because it always baffled me why a town five miles from the river would have "port" in the name.
Well. It kind of turned out to be a river port too. There was a nice rock landing on the Missouri 5 miles north of Westport. It was nicer and less prone to becoming a muddy nightmare then the popular landing in Independence, and since it was further west it would shave off overland time for settlers making the wagon journey across the country. So a road was cleared from Westport to the rock landing. (That road pretty much ran the path of modern day Broadway.) Well, that landing got to be pretty popular and a town company was formed to purchase and develop the area around it. Hence the Town of Kansas was formed, having narrowly escaped being called Rabbitville, Possom Trot, or Fondas something or another. It grew up quickly and Voila! BBQ and Jazz! Okay there was a lot in between but its late and I need sleep.