I was first introduced to H. H. Holmes a couple of years ago when I read Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City, a fascinating account of the serial killer's unbelievable career. Then a few months ago, one of my favorite podcasts, The Last Podcast on the Left, created a great 3-episode series covering the H. H. Holmes killings. It was while listening to these episodes that the thought of drawing the Murder Castle occurred to me.
For those unfamiliar, H. H. Holmes was a charismatic young lady killer who constructed a hotel, timed perfectly for the Chicago Worlds Fair, which operated as a massive murder machine. He used it to systematically trap and kill young women, then clean and articulate their skeletons to be sold to universities. The hotel was riddled with trap doors and hidden rooms, where guests would be trapped and tortured before ultimately thrown down the chute to the basement. To fully understand the drawing without reading the book, I encourage you to watch this short documentary which covers the basics quite well.
One thing I do wish to make clear is that I in no way intend to glorify what H. H. Holmes did by drawing the Murder Castle. In fact, I will go on record now as being profoundly anti-murder. However, one cannot deny the sheer brilliance it took to pull this off. I can only imagine what this man would have been capable of had he used his powers for good rather than evil. This illustration is intended to supplement books and podcasts on the topic and to help people visualize how the hotel that Holmes built might have looked and how it was used.
Here is a blog post documenting the process of drawing the Murder Castle. It is the most complicated and enjoyable drawing project I've done to date, and hopefully the first of many like it.
Here are some mockups of the rewards available for supporting this Kickstarter project. If you have any questions about any of the items, please don't hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Risks and challenges
The illustration is finished, so all I need now is a guarantee that prints and puzzles will sell before I order them. This Kickstarter is more of a preorder than anything, as well as decent gauge of how many I should make. Please share this project with folks you think might be interested. This Kickstarter just so happens to run through my birthday (Feb 8th) and all I want for my 31st is a fully funded project! If it gets funded, I'll do my best to have everything produced and shipped by the end of April.
An enormous "thank you" to anyone who has read this far and is considering backing the project!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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