A coloring page. For grown-ups.

The latest stroke of genius from the folks at the Virginian-Pilot: A coloring page.

For grown-ups.

Click for a larger look:


The instructions say:

The Daily Break encourages you to spend a lazy weekend coloring this page drawn by our own Sam Hundley. You may use crayons or colored pencils. Send your finished work to us. The most creative interpretation will be published in The Daily Break. Also, the top two vote-getters will receive a Crayola coloring kit like nothing you ever had as a preschooler.

Send the page, which also can be downloaded on HamptonRoads.com, to The Virginian-Pilot, attention Daily Break coloring contest, 150 W. Brambleton Ave., Norfolk VA 23510. Include your name, city, age, occupation and contact information. Deadline is Aug. 3. Oh, the most important rule: Relax while you color your heart out.

Sam tells us:

The concept was by features editor, Jamesetta Walker. I did the line drawing in a shift — couldn’t come up with anything better than butterfly people and flowers!

Drew it in pieces on pulpy paper towels to get that bleed effect – to conceal my lack of control and skill! Blew the drawings up 150 percent and kinda built the page.

First all black-and-white page in forever. We’ll see how many entries we get.

My favorite touch is actually below the coloring feature: Sam also drew Jamesetta’s mug shot for her column stripped across the bottom of the page:


Average daily circulation for the Virginian-Pilot is 142,476.

Born and raised in Phoenix, Sam started his newspaper career as a staff artist for the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson and moved to the Virginian-Pilot in 1981.


In 1990, Sam moved to the San Jose Mercury News where he was named design director of features, but then returned to the Pilot in 1994.

He’s also the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.

Find Sam’s web site here. Find his Twitter feed here.

Previous posts about Sam and his work at the Pilot:

  • July 6, 2015: You may not have seen Saturday’s most interesting Independence Day front page
  • Sept. 11, 2014: The three best 9/11 anniversary front pages ever
  • May 26, 2014: The day’s best Memorial Day front page
  • July 4, 2013: The one Fourth of July page you really need to see
  • June 11, 2013: An important historical anniversary observed, Sam Hundley style
  • Jan. 29, 2013: The magical properties of a clever illustration
  • Jan. 8, 2013: When illustrating a controversial topic, it helps to have a real, live visual journalism superhero on staff
  • Sept. 26, 2012: A look at the illustrations for the Virginian-Pilot’s NASA history series
  • Sept. 24, 2011: Newsstand alert: Check out the new National Geographic
  • Sept. 21, 2011: Behind those watercolor illustrations in the Virginian-Pilot this week
  • Dec. 18, 2010: A wacky pre-Christmas illustration in the Virginian-Pilot


A graphic novel approach to recount a disaster from 100 years ago

100 years ago last Friday, the passenger ship SS Eastland rolled over while tied to a dock in the Chicago River.


The Eastland was to take Western Electric employees and their families to a company picnic across Lake Michigan. Already a topheavy vessel, the ship was loaded with 2,500 passengers shifting around on deck. The ship rolled over, drowning passengers mere feet away from the dock.

844 people were killed, including 22 entire families.

Rick Tuma and Ryan Marx of the Chicago Tribune teamed up to present the story in graphic novel style, done digitally with parallax scrolling — inaccurately but admittedly better known as Snowfall-style web design.


While the page itself scrolls downward with the story, Rick’s drawings themselves are static. And beautifully rendered.


Rick writes in the presentation’s credits page:

Many of the details of the Eastland disaster have been lost to time. Accounts and news reports in the immediate aftermath of the event — many by this newspaper — were conflicting and, at times, not accurate.

From storyboarding to the final illustrations, I have made every effort to be as faithful as possible to what has been verified or reasonably believed to be true. The scale of everything I’ve drawn is estimated, and the visual depictions of most characters are not based on real people on the boat.


The illustrations are pencil on smooth Strathmore 2-ply bristol. Pencils ranged from 3B through 6B, but the 4B did most of the work. I love using pencil because it drops extra steps from the process — a very good thing when you have tight news deadlines — and makes it easier to retain the energy of initial sketches. Carefully boosting the contrast in Phototshop gives the drawings a brush and ink appearance.


Rick writes that he chose to keep the color palette for the project low key. He took a cue from the Chicago River itself, using only two blue-greens, two yellow-greens and one grey brown.

He writes:

Choosing a limited palette gave me the freedom to maintain areas of clean white, something of which I am fond. Not every face needed color; buildings could be white and the sky light green.


Midway through the coloring stage, I started to believe the panels needed one more color to tie the illustrations together. Recalling initial brainstorming sessions where one proposal was to create a soft water-stained background, I knew what to do: ‘age’ the edges of the panels with yellow. Risking a somewhat cliche solution, we are very pleased with the results.


In addition, Rick was kind enough to answer a few questions for us:

Q. How long ago did you and Ryan begin working on this project?

A. Ryan and I began looking for a second narrative to develop soon after we published the Harsh Treatment graphic essay.

There were three major graphic components to the Tribune‘s enormous Harsh Treatment project:

1. In Her Words


2. …Unsafe Haven, and…


3. …Fight and Flight.


Click on any of the links to see the pieces.

Rick continues:

Harsh Treatment was a visual companion to hard hitting investigative reporting. With Eastland Disaster we were considering a enterprise project that might stand on its own.

Harsh Treatment wrapped up late November and Eastland Disaster was born early December 2014.

Q. How much time do you suppose you put into it?

A. Start to finish, seven months.

Anyone in news will realize that there’s no way we had the entire seven months to work exclusively on this new project! In fact, progress was so stop and start that Graphics editors Jonathon Berlin and Ryan Marx made the determination to dedicate June and July to exclusively working on Eastland.

Q. Did you write it first and then do the artwork (screenplay style)? Or did you develop the visuals and then write around them (Marvel comics style)?

A. Having learned a few things with the first narrative I broke the project into stages.

First stage was a no-brainer: research. As I gained greater knowledge of the event I began to move into the second stage: note-taking and doodling in a spiral bound 9″ x 12″ sketch book.

Stage three was my storyboard. Some false starts in the beginning, but I soon had a story.

Eastland graphic essay story boards

I’m pretty sure that the story formed during my story board penciling. I can’t find a serious outline in my sketch book. Each panel led into the next until everything was said.

Q. Was this assigned to you, or did you pitch the idea? (And if you pitched it — was it hard to sell?)

A. I guess I’ve mostly answered this in number one.

Gathering a consensus to move forward required a good hard look at value for the time required. We discovered that the disaster was approaching its first centennial and found out that Metro and photo were planning coverage, so that helped.

Regardless, the project was a risk. Even after we began the enterprise, there was still concern over its value.

Q. What advice can you give a young artist who wants to try this at their own newspaper?

A. These require intense amounts of work! I would encourage the artist to be absolutely certain that she or he has chosen a topic that their skills can handle.

In my case, for example, I love to draw people. My excitement cools a bit when I have to draw machines and buildings. Someone else might struggle to make their people drawings look confident but totally score a win drawing machines and/or buildings. Choose a topic that plays to your strengths.

If you are going to make thirty, forty, or one hundreds illustrated panels you’d better attempt something you love.

Determine what this is going to look like. This can be choices like realistic drawings vs. loose styles. Black and white panels or color-added? How will it be published? Print or only online?

Ours began as online only, but we were asked to make a version for print. That required a ‘Reader’s Digest’ style, condensed version, removing half the panels.


In addition to retelling the basic story of what happened that day, Rick also spent some of his time focusing in on one family: The Aanstads. Here, mom has a premonition that something bad could happen onboard the ship.


As disaster strikes and the ship rolls over, Mom, Dad and their two little girls cling for life to a railing.


And there they stay until help comes.


Rick and Ryan also mention the oldest living survivor of the wreck…


…and go into detail about how, over the course of days, bodies were recovered from the Eastland and taken to a makeshift morgue.


Yes, that really happened. What’s more: The site of that morgue is now Harpo Studios: Oprah Winfrey’s TV production facility.


Rick wrote on the credits page:

I could not have anticipated how deeply this story has affected me. Sadness and sorrow frequently ambushed me during research and even as I was drawing. I rarely walk past the corner of Wacker Drive and Clark Street without being haunted by the tragedy and courage of the Eastland passengers.

Find the Tribune‘s retelling of the Eastland disaster here.

A graduate of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Rick Tuma has worked for the Tribune since 1983.


A couple of years ago, Rick walked us through how he created wonderful business-page portraits on deadline.

Rick also runs a free-lance studio on the side. Find his web site here and his Twitter feed here.


A 2002 graduate of Lawrence University, Ryan Marx spent two-and-a-half years as presentation editor of the News-Enterprise of Elizabethtown, Ky., and then five-and-a-half years at the Times of Northwest Indiana in Munster — first as display editor and then as graphics editor.

He moved to the Tribune in 2010 as business graphics coordinator and was named assistant graphics editor in 2013.

Average daily circulation of the Chicago Tribune is 414,590.

For your consideration…

You may have seen the amazing front cover of the next issue of New York magazine. This was retweeted nearly 8,000 times Sunday night and — as far as I can tell — completely crashed the magazines servers.

Shown are 35 women who say they were sexually assaulted by comedian/actor Bill Cosby.


The cover story was six months in the making, New York magazine tweeted Sunday night. Reportedly, New York was able to get 46 women to go on the record about their assaults by Cosby. Thirty-five of them were willing to pose for these cover shots.

The group, at present, ranges in age from early 20s to 80 and includes supermodels Beverly Johnson and Janice Dickinson alongside waitresses and Playboy bunnies and journalists and a host of women who formerly worked in show business. Many of the women say they know of others still out there who’ve chosen to remain silent.

The result is one of the most powerful magazine covers I’ve seen in a long, long time.

Not sure when New York will get its sever issues under control. When it does, you should be able to read more here.

Those air show poster fronts from Oshkosh? Here’s the complete set.

Last week, I showed you a number of poster pages from the Oshkosh Northwestern celebrating the annual Airventure air show: “America’s largest annual gathering of aviation enthusiasts.”

To recap…

Sunday, July 19:


Monday, July 20:


Tuesday, July 21:


Wednesday, July 22:


Thursday, July 23:


Designer Evan Backstrom of the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines was kind enough to send along the rest of the week’s front pages.

The theme at the airshow Friday was a look back at the near-disaster of Apollo 13, which took place 45 years ago this past April. Evan used a number of vintage NASA images:


For Saturday’s front page, Evan went sideways again with a photo of the newest fighter in the U.S. arsenal, the Lockheed F-35 Lightning II.


The picture was by staffer William Glasheen.

And the final poster front of the week ran Sunday. Even went sideways for the third time in seven days with this picture by staffer Jeannette Merten of the newest, “next generation” Goodyear blimp, Wingfoot One.


Click on any of those pages for a much larger look.

Average daily circulation for the Oshkosh Northwestern is 14,113.

A 2012 graduate of Ball State University, Evan Backstrom served as chief page designer for the student paper there, the Ball State Daily News


…and interned at Stamprint Printing and the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. Evan tells us:

I was recruited by the Des Moines Design Studio out of college. In the studio I started on the Metro section of the Des Moines Register. I have since moved to the Wisconsin team where I am the lead designer for the Oshkosh Northwestern.

I wrote about him last month. A few samples of Evan’s work:


1506EvanBackstromSamples03 1506EvanBackstromSamples02 1506EvanBackstromSamples01

Find his web site here, his NewsPageDesigner portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.

Birthdays for Monday, July 27

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to nine excellent visual journalists…


Marietta Nelson-Bittle is a former reporter for the Kitsap Sun in Bremerton, Wash. A graduate of Iowa State University, she now teaches in Glenwood, Iowa. Marietta turns 45 today.


Ashley Cappellazzi is designer and web master for the Briad Restaurant Group in Scottsdale, Ariz. and marketing coordinator for Delta Dental of Arizona. A 2012 graduate of Ohio University, Ashley served as a residence hall assistant and a designer for the school’s alumni association, the department of housing and the campus involvement center. She spent two-and-a-half years as a designer for the Gannett Design Studio in Phoenix. Find Ashley’s Twitter feed here.


Rudi Louw is a senior graphic designer for the Media24 chain of newspapers and based in Johannesburg, South Africa. A 1989 graduate of Selborne College in East London, South Africa, Rudi spent 19 years as a print and multimedia artist for the Daily Dispatch of East London. He started work with Graphics24 in 2010. Find his online portfolio here and his Twitter feed here. Rudi turns 44 today.


Monica Moses is editor in chief of American Craft magazine in Minneapolis. A graduate of St. Olaf College in Minnesota, Monica worked at the Anchorage (Alaska) Times, the Arkansas Gazette of Little Rock and Gannett Suburban Newspapers in Rochester, N.Y. before becoming assistant managing editor of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle in 1992. She became design director of the Charlotte Observer in 1995 and joined the faculty of the Poynter Institute in 1998. In 2002, she became deputy managing editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and was eventually promoted to executive director for product development. In 2007, she opened her own leadership, change and communication coaching firm. She took over at American Craft in 2010. Find Monica’s Twitter feed here.


London Nelson is a nursing student in Minneapolis, Minn. A 1989 graduate of the University of Nebraska, London worked as a copy editor for the Argus Leader of Sioux Falls, S.D., before becoming a news designer for the News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C. in 1993. She moved to the Pioneer Press of St. Paul, Minn., in 2000 but then left newspapers to design catalogs for Target. She became assistant design director for the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s suburban weeklies in 2004 and moved to features in 2007, where she art directed the Taste, Variety and Home and Garden sections. London left newspapers again in January to attend nursing school. She hopes to graduate in 2017. In her spare time, London designs and shoots photos for craft books and creates and sells her own hand-spun and hand-dyed yarns. Find her blog here, her Etsy store here and her Twitter feed here.


Chris Rukan is lead sports designer for the Washington Post. A 1998 graduate of Southern Connecticut State University, Chris spent nearly four years as a designer and copy editor for the Connecticut Post in Bridgeport before moving to the Orlando Sentinel in 1999. He became sports design director of the Palm Beach Post in 2004 and then moved to D.C. in 2006. He turns 41 today. Find Chris’ portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.


Amy Savona is senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Blue Crab Bay Co. of Melfa, on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. A 1995 graduate of Mary Washington University in Fredericksburg, Va., Amy worked as a marketing director for Architecture, Inc., in Reston, Va. before becoming a copy editor and web editor for the Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky. She moved to the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va., in 2004, where she ran the copy desk. She left newspapers in 2006, sold real estate for a while and then served as vice president for the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce. She joined Blue Crab Bay in 2010. Occasionally, her job puts her in contact with interesting people.


Find the Blue Crab Bay web site here and its Twitter feed here.


Stephanie Swearngin is lead designer for the Gazette of Colorado Springs, Colo. A 2000 graduate of Colorado State-Pueblo, Stephanie interned at Vladimir Jones and KTSC-TV before catching on as an advertising services rep at the Gazette. She moved into the newsroom and spent three years there before moving to the Tampa (Fla.) Tribune in 2004 as lead news designer. She moved to the St. Petersburg Times in 2006 and also began working as a personal trainer. She moved back to Colorado in 2012. In addition, Stephanie writes a fitness column for the Gazette. Find her web site here, her portfolio here and her Twitter feed here.


Marco Vergotti is graphics editor of Globo in São Paulo, Brazil. A 2002 graduate of United Metropolitan Universities of São Paulo, Marco has worked for Revista Época, Triver Estúdio Gráfico, Editora Abril and Editora Sinapse for Grupo Domo. He joined Globo in 2005 as a graphic artist and was promoted to his current position a year later. Find his portfolio here. Marco turns 45 today.

Stephanie, Ashley, Chris, Rudi, Marietta, Marco, Amy, London and Monica share a birthday with actors Julian Dana William McMahan, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Betty Thomas Nienhauser, Jerry Van Dyke, Maya Khabira Rudolph, Carol Leifer, Greg Pead (better known as Yahoo Serious) and Francis Xavier Aloysius James Jeremiah Keenan Wynn; musicians Maureen Therese McGovern and Roberta Lee Streeter (better known as Bobbie Gentry); TV producer Norman Milton Lear; sports greats Peggy Gail Fleming (figure skating), Leo Ernest Durocher and Alexander Emmanuel “Alex” Rodriguez; Hugh Donell Green and Jacoby Ford (both football); mathematician Johann Bernoulli and Dungeons and Dragons creator Ernest Gary Gygax.

In addition, today is National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, Take Your Houseplant for a Walk Day, Walk on Stilts Day and Barbie-in-a-Blender Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, all! Have a wonderful birthday!