After working on these illustrations over the last part of 2014, they are now printed and available for purchase. Let’s start with the Logan Square map…
Creating a Logan Square map was a slight departure from my previous prints. It was the first neighborhood I tackled where I had very little first hand knowledge. I’m sure at some point I drove down Milwaukee Avenue or Logan Boulevard. However, I certainly do not remember spending any quality time in Logan Square. Without any personal knowledge, the fear for me was that I would get something wrong or miss something that is near and dear to the community. To avoid that pitfall, I followed the steps I had taken with my previous maps. I researched the area first and looked for any relevant images online. Then, I spent a couple hours walking the neighborhood taking pictures and just observing. Finally, I put it all together and double-checking I didn’t miss anything. What struck me the most visually was the dominant boulevard that winds its way through the community. The tree-lined and home-lined streets of Logan, Kedzie, Palmer Square and Humboldt have such a presence. I was also drawn to the large graffiti pieces dotted throughout the neighborhood. Along with the historic buildings in the area, those were the two aspects that influenced this map the most.
The Chicago Music Map was another departure for me. Up to this point, all of my prints were finished on Adobe Illustrator. For this map, I wanted to try making it completely hand drawn. While I did borrow fonts from album covers and other sources, I drew this entire illustration with pencil before finishing it with Micron pens. Since I did not have the luxury of moving things around on the computer, I started by mapping the music venues first. I wanted them to be placed generally by their location. The musicians and groups were organized by genre. For example, the famous blues musicians are grouped in the top left corner. Lyrics to famous Chicago songs are placed throughout the map. I decided on using “Sweet Home Chicago” as the title of this print. Personally, it is not a favorite of mine. However, it is arguably the most famous Chicago song.
One final note…musician choice was a challenge. Early on, it was apparent I would miss somebody or include someone who was not that important. Many of these artists were new to me and no longer contemporary. Determining the most important artists ended up being a shot in the dark in certain situations. For example, the jazz musicians from the early part of last century were complete unknowns to me so I had to depend on what little online information I could find. I figured as long as I had a good selection of artists it would be sufficient. I expect most people will be looking for the most well-known artists anyway.
Finally, I wanted to a few smaller maps. Since I had been doing so many larger maps, I wanted a little variety. Through suggestions from people this past summer, I settled on Old Town, River North and West Loop. Check them out below: