It’s November—time to start thinking about Thanksgiving and pilgrims! Here’s another scene from Two Bad Pilgrims. This one shows the pilgrims beginning construction of Plymouth Plantation. The first thing they built was the common house/fort. This is my thumbnail sketch, 2 inches tall.
One of the great things about being an illustrator is that you’re always learning something. F’rinstance, to draw this scene of 17th century building construction, I had to find out how those buildings were framed; how a block and tackle works; how an ox yoke is harnessed. I made several trips to the library and spent some time on the internet.
I show the pilgrims hauling cannon to the upper storey of the fort.
Art director Jim Hoover and editor Kendra Levin had a team of crack historians fact-checking my sketches. Turns out the pilgrims didn’t bring any oxen with them on the Mayflower, so I replaced the ox with a group of men when I inked in the drawing. Too bad; I kind of liked the ox. The timbers are shaped to form mortise and tenon joints. That’s an adz lying in the foreground.
—and colorized final art.
Colorization by Mr Vince Dorse.
Hi John! I love the illustrations for two Bad Pilgrims! This blog is great to see the work in progress~wonderful teaching tool~thanks! We are scheduling our authors/illustrators for our spring assembly, and I wanted to know if you might be interested. The dates are March 29 and 30th. Might you be available one of those days to visit Mars? Hope to hear from you soon!