- Making of Humming-Birds
- October 1, 2023
Hummingbirds are the closest living descendants of dinosaurs like the T. rex—one of many fascinating facts I learned while working on the digital edition of A Monograph of the Trochilidæ, or Family of Humming-Birds. Gaining unexpected knowledge has to be one of the best parts about working on a project.
- Metra ticket gallery updates
- August 27, 2023
Fifteen years have passed since the last official update on my Metra Ticket Gallery. An update is long overdue considering the number of tickets has grown dramatically to nearly 1,400. It’s about time I gave a new one about the latest additions and improvements.
- Making of The Color Printer
- March 13, 2023
Unlike previous projects, I designed the poster based on Earhart’s 1892 treatise, The Color Printer before giving much thought to the design of the website. In fact, I wasn’t going to make a full digital edition but completing the poster made it so much more approachable and enjoyable.
- Making of The Four Books of Architecture
- January 8, 2023
Architecture has grabbed my attention repeatedly since I was young—from studying it in high school and making buildings in video games to designing websites for firms winning architectural awards. It’s fitting that my interest is piqued once again for a digital edition of one of the oldest and most well known architectural publications: Palladio’s treatise, The Four Books of Architecture.
- Making of Mathematical Instruments
- September 18, 2022
I work best with existing material—whether that be images, ideas, spreadsheets, documentation, books, etc. That existing material defines the boundaries I need to create something more. When I stumble across a nice chunk of material that has those boundaries (like an old unique book), excitement really sets in. This is what I felt when I found Nicolas Bion’s treatise on mathematical instruments from 1709.
- Making of 17th Century Watercolors
- June 18, 2022
Way back in 2014, a Dutch manuscript from about mixing watercolors from 1692 made a splash in the blogosphere, because while it was centuries old, few had given it much attention and it was such a beautifully preserved thorough account of how watercolors were mixed back then. Ever since then, I thought it had potential as a fun project but avoided creating one due to language barriers and other reasons that turned out to be unfounded.
- Making of Iconographic Encylopædia
- February 6, 2022
The digital edition of Iconographic Encyclopædia from 1851 was by far, the largest and longest project I’ve undertaken. Comprising 500 plates, more than 13,000 illustrations, 1.6 million words, and spanning 13 months, it was a wonderful exercise in creativity and patience.
- Making of A Brief Visual Exploration of A Dictionary of Typography
- December 16, 2020
Not many people read a dictionary cover to cover, let alone analyze every word, but I did and found it fascinating. During research phases for my past restoration projects, I often came across a surprising number of antique dictionaries and always overlooked them. For this project, I actively sought out an interesting one to explore and ended up finding two to create A Brief Visual Exploration of A Dictionary of Typography.
- Announcing jigsaw puzzles
- October 29, 2020
I’m excited to announce that 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles are now available for three of my projects with more to come. Puzzles are available for British & Exotic Mineralogy, Illustrations of the Natural Orders of Plants, and Byrne’s Euclid. The idea to offer puzzles was sparked by some recent comments that the mineralogy poster could be a good fit but they started me down an intriguing path of researching what it would take to get these puzzles manufactured.
- Making of British & Exotic Mineralogy
- July 25, 2020
Have you ever had an idea that sticks with you? One popped into my head when I stumbled across James Sowerby’s massive collection of mineral illustrations from the nineteenth century. I naively wondered how they would look arranged by color in a big collage and spent the next three and a half months making it happen with British & Exotic Mineralogy…and learning new levels of patience along the way.
- Making of ATF Typesetter Model B
- February 12, 2020
If you’ve ever found a tiny piece of obscure history and had it strike something in you that made you obsess over it for weeks, that’s how I felt when I found the brochure for the ATF Typesetter Model B. This small 16-page brochure from 1963 for an obsolete piece of typographical machinery piqued my interest so much that I wound up converting it into a one-page website as an exercise in design and technology. Plus, it was just plain fun.
- Making of Goethe’s Colours
- January 12, 2020
Figuring out how to put a new face on something old is never easy and devising a new way to look at Goethe’s Theory of Colours was no exception. What started as a relatively simple idea turned out to be more complex that I expected but the process was a good learning experience. The final result is fun too.
- Making of Picturesque Views of Seats of Great Britain and Ireland
- October 13, 2019
Castles and mansions and manors, oh my! The minute I saw Alexander Lydon’s illustrations in A Series of Picturesque Views of Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, I wanted to create something based on them. Picturesque Views of Seats of Great Britain and Ireland (or simply “Seats” for short) is the result.
- Making of the Illustrations of the Natural Orders of Plants
- July 9, 2019
If someone told me when I was young that I would spend three months of my time tracing nineteenth century botanical illustrations and enjoy it, I would have scoffed, but that’s what I did to reproduce Elizabeth Twining’s Illustrations of the Natural Orders of Plants and I loved every minute.
- Making of Byrne’s Euclid
- December 16, 2018
Creating a faithful online reproduction of a book considered one of the most beautiful and unusual publications ever published is a daunting task. Byrne’s Euclid is my tribute to Oliver Byrne’s most celebrated publication from 1847 that illustrated the geometric principles established in Euclid’s original Elements from 300 BC.
- Making of Lunar Conversations
- March 18, 2018
Finding a new set of data to play with is exciting. Figuring out what to do with it is a roller coaster ride of emotions ranging from amazement and intrigue to frustration and head-scratching. The transcript from the Apollo 11 mission was all of these and more for me.
- Making of Æsop Blooms
- February 21, 2018
Inspiration for Æsop Blooms was sparked by an offhand remark about someone learning Æsop’s fables in school. As with most projects, little did I know about the rabbit hole I was about to go down learning about them.
- Making of Between Stations
- September 24, 2017
I love transit data. After creating projects based on transit colors, stations, and lines, I figured it was time to create one based on the parts between the stations. The result was time-consuming but very interesting.
- Remaking of Off the Staff
- June 20, 2017
I still can’t read music but I can parse it a lot more efficiently now. Thanks to the help of the good folks at MuseScore, creating new editions of Off the Staff is now much more streamlined. Since my first attempts at visualizing music, I learned of new methods for making the images and even how to animate them.
- Making of Color Palettes of The New Yorker
- March 26, 2017
Generating color palettes of more than 4,600 covers of The New Yorker was a challenging task but when I get an idea stuck in my head I stubbornly like to see it through. What follows is a breakdown of how I made my Color Palettes of The New Yorker project including early ideas, methodologies, and technical details.