All Jacked Up: Creating the Art for “Jack of Coins”

This winter I was asked by Irene Gallo of Tor Books to illustrate a gritty short story by Christopher Rowe called “Jack of Coins.”

When Irene described the story like this, I was hooked:

The story has a great atmosphere. (The writing is just odd enough to feel unfamiliar but not so much to be distracting or overly self conscious.) A urban dystopian setting. A group of young men without enough to do…And then an oddly dressed stranger comes in to give them some direction.

You can read the story here: “Jack of Coins.”

After reading the story I was obviously drawn to the stranger and his uniform. Part band uniform, part military with a bit of face card thrown in. Here are the sketches I narrowed it down to:

Creating the Art for Jack of Coins Red Nose Studio Christopher Rowe

Creating the Art for Jack of Coins Red Nose Studio Christopher Rowe

Creating the Art for Jack of Coins Red Nose Studio Christopher Rowe

Creating the Art for Jack of Coins Red Nose Studio Christopher Rowe

Creating the Art for Jack of Coins Red Nose Studio Christopher Rowe

Once Irene and I tossed the sketches around and talked about what we felt worked best, the building began.

Here are shots of how the buttons for his jacket were created:

 Creating the Art for Jack of Coins Red Nose Studio Christopher Rowe

Creating the Art for Jack of Coins Red Nose Studio Christopher Rowe

a collection of references for the uniform:

Creating the Art for Jack of Coins Red Nose Studio Christopher Rowe

Creating the Art for Jack of Coins Red Nose Studio Christopher Rowe

Creating the Art for Jack of Coins Red Nose Studio Christopher Rowe

 

Creating the Art for Jack of Coins Red Nose Studio Christopher Rowe

The ArtCraft Theater in Franklin, IN was my inspiration for the theater that needed to be constructed:

Creating the Art for Jack of Coins Red Nose Studio Christopher Rowe

Creating the Art for Jack of Coins Red Nose Studio Christopher Rowe

Creating the Art for Jack of Coins Red Nose Studio Christopher Rowe

Here is the group of “kids” that hang out under the marquee in the story: topping out at about 1″.

Creating the Art for Jack of Coins Red Nose Studio Christopher Rowe

The final:

Creating the Art for Jack of Coins Red Nose Studio Christopher Rowe

Thanks to Irene Gallo for thinking of my work for this project and to Christopher Rowe for the story.


Chris Sickels, the creative force behind award-winning Red Nose Studio, creates an eccentric world we’d all like to visit.

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