Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Future City!

Many forevers ago, I posted this, referring to something about a book I was illustrating that had something to do with robots.

Fast forward a year and a half, and I'm very excited to say that the book is a reality. "Stephen Swank's Adventures in Future City" is story about a boy, his robot best friend, and his father chilling out, maxing, and relaxing all cool in a city where the buildings are living, breathing robots and adventure is always just a bolt away! Or something like that.

It took so long because I had to illustrate it twice! Here's the tragic tale: So, I had finished it. We're talking, freshly made PDF sitting on desktop, feeling good, high-fives all around. Then, something happened. I think my laptop battery, charger, and hard drive all died at the exact same time. And basically, I hadn't backed up a single thing.

A year passed. I kept telling myself I'd go to the Apple store and try to restore my files and finally be able to print the book. But as it turns out, I would rather just re-illustrate the entire thing than helplessly step foot inside an Apple store.

So that's what I did, doing the bulk of it in about four days last month. And somehow, my illustration skills have improved pretty significantly. I guess it's a good thing I lost those files to the void of time and space.

While the Illustrator files are no longer, I had saved and emailed a few JPGs of the pages early on, so I still had those. For your viewing pleasure, here are the (sometimes embarrassing) before and after pages of some of the first couple pages of the book:

future city: compare!
This is the first page of the book. The original page is on the left, the final one is on the right. I think that more than anything, our hero Stephen Swank looks a lot more human and a lot less like his parents were hoping for a girl. I also made his background more reflective of the kind of kid I knew him to be.

future city: compare!
This is the Cityscape of Future City!

future city: compare!
This is Stephen's dad, who is the engineer behind Future City. I'm pretty pleased with his re-design, because while the old and new share some similar aspects, ultimately I think we can all agree that he looks a little more scientist dad-like and less serial killer writing his manifesto-like in the final version. Maybe I'm wrong.
Question about the top picture… Where do those doors attached to the glass go?!

future city: compare!
Okay, this one is especially bad. I don't even want to talk about it. Oh, Stephen. What a little thing like ears can do for you.

I'll be posting some more illustrations and photos of Future City here and there in the coming days, but if you were interested in learning more or buying a copy, hardback versions and paperback versions are available for sale on Lulu. You're supporting a good cause: Giving me money to buy the materials necessary to make grilled cheeses. Plus, the book really is pretty good.


  1. I can't even tell you how much I love the cityscape. ...and the mechanical doodads comprising dad's desk.

    It's all too much.

    1. Thank you so much. I don't want to blow your mind but... you're in there somewhere!

    2. Kevin bought the hardcover. We looked through it at work today.
      I'm honored.