Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Personal Work: HAMILTON

Hamilton is one of the best things that has happened in my adult life, but none of my friends and family appreciate it. Sometimes I fangirl about it on Twitter but no one ever responds. My squealing echoes into the endless voids of the internet and is returned only with the chirping of e-crickets.

OR SO I THOUGHT. A while ago Arielle Jovellanos emailed me, asking if I'd like to participate in a fanmade Hamilton zine. "I am not throwing away my shot," I said to myself.

Somehow Arielle had scored not only a ticket to the show, but a backstage pass as well! Being the Queen of Productivity and Project Management that she is, Arielle wasn't just content to meet the cast of Hamilton and die a happy woman. Nooooooooo. She wanted to bring them a fully-illustrated anthology, with 46 artists illustrating the 46 songs from the show.

Each artist was assigned a song, and I got Farmer Refuted, which despite its short length is one of my favorite songs from the show. In this song, Samuel Seabury is reading a speech about why America should NOT go to war with England. Hamilton flips out and humiliates Seabury with his superior wordpower.

Tragically, I've never seen the show, but in this scene I imagined Hamilton taking Seabury's speech and ripping it to shreds - literally and figuratively. It turns out that many of the other artists used fluttering papers as a motif in their illustrations, so this worked out well.

I asked my husband to rip up some paper like the future of his country depended on it, and he did a great job.

I had no idea he was so patriotic!

I posed for Samuel Seabury myself.

Then I used photos of the actors who play Hamilton and Seabury to replace me and my husband's faces with theirs.

From here I started sketching out the drawing on top of the thumbnail.

At first I tried using a normal color scheme.

I decided that was boring and didn't capture the stylized look and feel of the show. So I played around with some textures and adjustment layers until something cool appeared. I was in the middle of a busy, busy month of commissions and didn't have a lot of time to second-guess myself. This piece was just gonna do what it was gonna do. Crazy orange and purple color scheme? Okay!

I kept the rendering simple, partly for the sake of time and partly so as not to lose the energy in the piece.

I have to admit I really like Seabury's expression back there.

Arielle put together the books...

...and gave copies to all the Hamilton cast members.

Be still my heart!

The Hamilton Pamphlet will not be printed or sold, however you can view it in it's entirety here. The illustrations are fantastic. Each piece really poignantly communicates the emotion of the songs. I am humbled to be among them, especially to share a spread with one of my idols, Claire Hummel.

Thank you Arielle for putting this whole project together. You are seriously one exceptional lady.


  1. I guess I'll have to download the soundtrack now!


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