Among my current endeavours is providing the illustrations for a graphic novel project written by Mike Keller (author of “Charles Darwin’s on the Origin of the Species: A Graphic Adaptation,” nominated for two Eisner awards). “The Hat Maker and the Heron Master” is an epic tale set in New York City and the wilds of Florida from the 1850s to the 1890s. Here is a brief presentation of the story from Mike:
“The Hat Makers and the Heron Master” is a story about Karl Schulze, a simple man who suffers through his family’s murder at the outset of Florida’s last Seminole War and recedes from society into the embrace of the deadly marshlands. Searching to feel again, his heart connects with the wetlands’ wading birds. He appoints himself their protector against the onslaught of commercial hunters and development flooding the state during that period.
The Koch sisters, part of a millinery family who move from New York City to the brand-new village of Palm Beach, inhabit a Gilded-Age world wholly alien to the hermit. But their lives become tied together by the unquenchable global desire for feathers in women’s fashion. Schulze and the Koch sisters join Colonel Francis Styron, a former soldier repenting for past sins, and his ornithologist son Travis. Styron’s history is more deeply interwoven with Schulze’s than the hermit can possibly imagine. Together, the group works to acquire land to protect the birds from the swinging axe of development wielded by orange and railroad robber baron Samuel Chapman.
But Chapman’s desire and resources are too powerful a force for the allies to withstand. Schulze and Styron meet an inglorious end at the hands of Chapman’s henchmen and, soon after, Travis and the Koch sisters are shocked by a secret the two men harbored.”
What follows are the three sample scenes we have completed so far:
Sample Scene 1: