Thursday, July 23, 2009

July 23, 2009
Meghan Saar and I had a conference call with Mark Boardman this morning to go over ideas for 2010. Mark came up with an added value concept to add to Classic Gunfights. I can't tell you how many people have contacted me to ask how they can get into Cottonwood Springs or Mattie Earp's gravesite, or Mickey Free's home (both of them). Mark wondered if we might give all that info when we run the gunfight. You want to see where Curly Bill Brocius bought the farm? No problem. Here's who you call, here's his website, here's where to stay, here's where to eat and here's where you can buy the best books on the subject. Pretty cool. Thanks Mark!

And speaking of Classic Gunfights, we certainly do our due diligence when we create these. For example, we finished the Lt. George Patton gunfight in Mexico yesterday afternoon. But not before we tracked down a questionable photo. Here's how it happened. Robert Ray and I were looking online for some added images and we found a website that had a photo of a burning building, labeled as a scene of Columbus, New Mexico during the Pancho Villa raid of 1916. I commented that I had never seen that photo and it was certainly dramatic. We earmarked it and moved on. After we noticed the same burning building photo on three different websites I thought we were probably safe to run the image on Gus Walker's map, kind of small, but a nice, dramatic addition.

Meghan came in and said, "No way, am I going to okay a photo just because it's on three websites. They all could be wrong." So she goes into her office and does her Google magic and within five minutes she comes into my office with a report that the photo was not taken in Columbus, but was taken in Juarez, south of El Paso, and it's of Ketelsen and Degetau, a bank-turned-weapons facility that was periphally involved in the events that led up to the Columbus Raid:

Also, one of the sites altered the photo, taking out the Spanish store signs:

Evidently, whoever altered the photo thought it would look more like Columbus, New Mexico, even though Columbus, as a border town would have Spanish signs as well.

So, we used the photo but we gave the correct information. As Trish Brink put it when she heard about this: "Nobody does this much verifying."

Case in point: Mark Boardman just sent a letter to American Cowboy who wrote a piece in the current issue on gunfights in the Old West. Mark found fifty mistakes. Part of it was written by someone named Ken Amorosano.

Oh, wait! Ken is one of our partners. What the hell is he doing over there?

Went home for lunch today and whipped out six more bad drawings:

I collect old journals like Punch and American Illustrator and from time to time I peruse them looking for studies to, well, study. At lunch today I picked up The Quarterly Illustrator, October, November and December, 1894 and there was a review of Louis Mueller's art complete with his sketches. All of the middle images are poached from these studies, although I have modified them for my purposes (the trial of The Apache Kid). Meanwhile, the top sketch is for a vignette feature I'm developing for Old Vaquero Sayings, utilizing Posada's skeleton woodcuts as a starting point. And the bottom dust storm is inspired by a photo in today's Arizona Republic.

9, 518 sketches down, and 482 to go. I have sacrificed many an idle hour to get here. Gee, I wonder what the Old Vaqueros have to say about this?

"Judge your success by what you had to give up to get it."
—Old Vaquero Saying

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