Back at the beginning of 2021, I posted about completing the illustrations for pages 21-21 of Sorin Starts a School. It’s still one of the most complex illustrations I’ve ever done, and one of my favorites. When I first started working on Sorin Starts a School in the winter of 2019, I imagined I’d get to draw on campus a bit. I love painting on location, seeing the relationship between different landmarks, and capturing the feel of the place in person.
As spring arrived in 2020, a trip to Notre Dame was not in the cards, and so I struggled to figure out how to create some of the more architecturally detailed illustrations. Even the very first page stumped me– if you’re looking at the Sorin statue, what angle to do you see the dome and the Basilica? Can you see Walsh Hall? Which trees are around you? I couldn’t find enough photos to help me piece it together, but I finally discovered that you can walk around campus on Google street view! (This is actually a fun thing to do with kids, even if you’re not trying to paint it.) I was able to walk to the building I wanted to see, get the right angle, count the windows on a particular side, etc. There are also a few amateur drone videos of campus on youtube that were super helpful, too. And it doesn’t hurt to have a few years of experience walking around campus in person!
It took weeks to finish (punctuated by e-learning, baking bread, zoom book club, and all the other 2020 diversions…) but it was so worth it– once it started to come together, I’ll never forget how excited and proud I felt! I’ve been wanting to hang it on my wall, and so I was thrilled for this to become the first ever limited edition print available from Corde Press! I’ve got it hanging in my office now, above my desk, and I can absolutely get lost in this illustration. It’s a little like walking across campus, or even going for a run around the lakes (see the tiny running figures??)…
The paper is a thick, archival, 100% cotton watercolor paper, which works great with watercolor paintings (looks a ton like an original…). They’re all hand-signed and numbered, and there are only 500! You can check it out and snag your copy here.