Chicago Lakefront Maps: The Kickstarter!

I'm happy to announce a Kickstarter to create print editions of two new illustrated map editions.

These maps are two distinct, illustrated bird's eye views / panoramas that celebrate Chicago's beautiful lakefront. One is a view eastward, focusing on the details and sites along the lakeshore, and one is the view westward, a color edition of the (recently sold-out) "Lakefront Currents."

Just click here or the image preview below to visit the Kickstarter page and pledge your support. I greatly appreciate it! 

123 Sesame Street

Illustration of 123 Sesame Street at dusk. THE house of Sesame Street. There's a lot I'm learning. Bert and Ernie live in the garden unit. Elmo lives alone on the ground floor, the human family (who also own the place) on the second, Big Bird in the courtyard next door, and Oscar of course in the can out front. Bert kept a pigeon coop on the roof. I also never appreciated the house itself. Italianate, mid-1800s brownstone, based on those fantastic New York City row homes. 

Will create a limited edition giclée print of this. Contact me and let me know if you are interested.

Sesame Street house


Private video: Time lapse test

"Chicago to Chicagoans." My Tribute to Saul Steinberg's Famous New Yorker cover

chicago to chicagoans map
The Iconic Chicago Hot Dog Stand

The Iconic Chicago Hot Dog Stand

I made this little illustration of one of the little wonders of the city: The iconic Chicago hot dog stand. Love these spots. Here's my piece. And below the drawing, all the must-haves for any truly authentic Chicago hot dog joint.

Chicago hot dog stand

  1. Painted in super-bright colors. By that I mean red and yellow. Picnic table & an umbrella that matches the building.

  2. Called Sammy’s, Marty’s, Charlie's. A name that sounds like someone your grandpa would have a coffee with.

  3. Proudly World Famous, Original, Founded circa 1954 or some combination in a fifties-era font.

  4. Some relics of the good old days that actually date back to the good old days. For a few examples: a newspaper dispenser, pinball, gumball machine.

  5. Some hints of their old logo or old name, maybe on a second sign or inside.

  6. On the front of the building, everything on their menu painted in big letters.

  7. Inside, a menu with replaceable letters and very bare-bones descriptions, like "Hot Dog -  $3."
  8. Vienna Beef logos. Bonus: The Vienna Beef poster with the gigantic hot dog on Navy Pier.

  9. Two line cooks with their heads down, working like crazy, radio turned up.

  10. Amazing meats and fries, unbelievable cheap, incredibly fast.

Art in "The Big Sick"

If you've got an eagle eye you might have seen my work in a few places on screen.

One that I was happy about was getting an art appearance "The Big Sick." Great movie, a surprise box office success. I've always been a fan of the Director, Michael Showalter, and I'd loved Kumail in Silicon Valley and his podcast appearances with Pete Holmes.

I have three pieces on the screen in The Big Sick. Two are "Memento Mori" pen and ink drawings (which I've posted on my Instagram account), and the third is the ink drawing of the Chicago two-flats.

The most visible and the one people have seemed to recognize most is "Siblings: The Chicago Two-Flats," which was actually the drawing I did to kick off this whole illustration venture. Here's that one in this scene with Ray Romano, Holly Hunter, and Kumail. What's been amazing to me is the number of people who have seen the movie and noticed my work in it, then got in reached out to me. I never realized people checked out the set art, and wasn't sure I did that--but cool to see that people do!



The link to view and purchase that print: click on the image above or here

You can also find my work in the Netflix series "Easy" (See image below. That's the "Taxonomy of Local Homes") and the movie "The Pact," which will come out next year. If you see my work anywhere else, let me know. I'd love to know where Cape Horn Illustration is in the world.

Process: From brick and mortar to pen and ink

This is a bungalow in Mayfair, a neighborhood bordering Albany Park and rich in bungalows. I thought this home was cool because of its Spanish tile roof and dormers. I also thought it was interesting in that the home has its entrance on its broad side. Generally, Chicago bungalows have their front doors on their narrow side--which is part of what makes the Midwestern bungalows unique and distinct from the much broader California bungalows, for one. Enjoy. 

This was made by talented videographer, Jack Brandtman, who has a series of fantastic Chicago-themed videos on his Youtube channel . This is part of his series on Chicago makers. Go support him by watching and subscribing!

New Relief Prints: Memento Mori series

Here are a few relief prints--made via linocut--that I want to share. This is based on the "Memento Mori" concept that dates to the Roman Empire. Memento Mori means "Remember death," or "Remember that you will die" and is supposed to encourage one to be humble in life and appreciate life. It was a saying that in particular was directed at the victors and leaders in Roman, the conquering heroes. It was supposed to be an antidote to hubris. 

The theme was woven through medieval and Renaissance art, as well, through the work in particular of northern European woodcutters and painters like Hans Holbein and Heironymous Bosch.

I wanted to take the theme to a few modern settings, and this is the result.

Closeup: The Subway Ride.

Closeup: The Selfie.

Tribute to Shel Silverstein

I've always loved Shel Silverstein's work. When I learned he grew up and lived in Chicago, I started reading more about him and thought it would be fun to put together a brief illustrated tour of his life and make a nod to his poetic and artistic style. An attempt, anyway.

What I realize, trying to imitate his work, is that his drawings look simple but there is a lot going on. There is power and looseness in the line work, there's very deliberate choices about white space--i.e., what NOT to draw. His illustration complements his poetry, which is also, on the surface, simple and to the point. Usually there is some twist or turn at the end that makes you think. Just like his famous song "A Boy Named Sue." 

His work is a great lesson in minimalism. Shel can make simple black and white text and pen strokes turn into some of the most beloved, thought-provoking, and colorful pieces of work for all ages. 

Going to Printer's Row this year? It's on June 10-11 by Printer's Row Park in the South Loop. Come find me and say hello.

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Homes of Famous Chicagoans