One question I’m always asked is, “what’s your process of coming up with your stories and drawings?”
It’s a good question, and when it’s asked of me, I have to delve into my subconscious and come up with some kind of cohesive timeline and explanation. For an artist like myself, whose talents fortunately flow naturally and without much thought, this meandering path to the final piece is something I never think much of. It just happens. But that’s not a very interesting answer.
So, for my next ballplayer, I thought instead of just posting a finished story, illustration and actual booklet, why not take everyone through the whole megillah; from finding the seed of a story, through the research, how the drawing is developed, and on through the writing, finished card and printed booklet. This will be an in-depth look into my little baseball history world, so hopefully it won’t get too boring for you.
There’s no set way in which I choose my subjects. Sometimes, like last week’s Eddie Mathews story, it is a request from a reader or Booklet subscriber. In Eddie’s case, quite a few people requested him. Other times I’ll pick a player that I was always intrigued by, such as Jimmy Horio. Or I’ll fall back on a particular team I personally enjoy researching, such as the Negro League Baltimore Elite Giants, Semi-pro Brooklyn Bushwicks and International League Baltimore Orioles. Then there’s the artist in me that picks a player simply because he or she wore a really great looking uniform or cap that I wanted to draw. That’s how we got Cy Malis.
The ballplayer we’re going to look at now was discovered like a good many of the one’s I’ve covered – on my way to something else. In this particular case, I was researching another story in the July 31, 1927 edition of the Charlotte News and Evening Chronicle when this caught my eye:
I never heard of “Irish Jack” LeRoy before. Seems like he must have been something else if John McGraw of the New York Giants shelled out 10 grand for him in 1927. I took out my notebook and wrote the date and short description of the article that peaked my interest. Then I made a copy of the story and threw it in one of my many “Card Ideas” manila folders (“Card Ideas #12,” to be exact). The file was then tucked away in one of the filing cabinets in my studio.
This is my usual modus operandi for when I find the seed of what could be an interesting tale. Over the next few weeks, months and sometimes years, I’ll add to that manila folder every time I come across something relevant, until the material becomes numerous enough to merit its own folder. When that point comes, I move it to the file cabinet section that has all my “Near-Future Projects.” There it will sit until I get the inspiration to turn it into a full-blown story and card. With “Irish Jack,” that time is today.
This is when the serious work begins…
Tomorrow: Who the heck was “Irish Jack” LeRoy?
To see all the parts of this series CLICK HERE