Illustration Adventure: Greenwich Village

Back in February, I was lucky enough to be flown to New York City to do on site illustration at the Merkley and Partners ad agency.

The agency is located in Manhattan at the edge of Greenwich Village in the Soho district.

I was there for a week and the agency put me up at the Washington Square Hotel in Greenwich Village. Back in the 1960’s the musician Bob Dylan used to live here at the beginning of his career. The Rolling Stones also would stay here while playing in New York.

My room had a big photo of actor Gregory Peck.
The view through the screen of my bathroom window. There is a very narrow space between buildings. See the spikes on the window air conditioner? I’m guessing that’s to discourage either burglars or pigeons.

Every morning I would walk about 8 blocks through Greenwich Village to Merkley and Partners. It was a visual feast. Check out these photos, all taken on my morning commute.

This building reminds me of the Flat Iron Building over on Broadway.
I was here in February and temperature was in the forties.

I spent about 9 hours a day at the ad agency working. Due to a nondisclosure agreement, I can’t show you what I was creating for them. The work basically consisted of drawing comic strips, designing characters, and drawing a one page advertisement. It was quite a chunk of work. I was surprised that I maintained tight focus throughout the week and ended up doing more than I thought I could. The agency was on the 12th floor, and I could view Manhattan from the Freedom Center in the south, to the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building in the north. Everyone was very nice to me, and it seemed more like fun than work.

A large part of what I know about Manhattan comes from reading thousands of Marvel Comics when I was a kid. After all most of the heroes, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created, lived in New York, but the creator that was on my mind, during my stay here, was Steve Ditko.

Steve Ditko HS Yearbook Credit: Alamy
Steve was the co-creator with Stan Lee of Spider-man and
Doctor Strange.

When Spidey was webbing his way across the city Ditko would draw these round wooden water towers with their low conical roofs.

Ditko water tower cover!!!!
These rooftop water towers are everywhere in Greenwich Village.

As a former Civil Engineer, I’m fascinated by water towers, especially the ones here in New York. There is something so cool about them. If you’re an illustrator and are attempting to draw one, keep this in mind. See the steel bands encircling the wooden vertical boards that comprise the tank? Near the top of the tower the bands are spaced widely, but as you near the tanks bottom they get closer and closer together! That’s due to water pressure, which increases as you get lower on the tank. Drawing tip, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Civil Engineer! ha.

Bleeker Street in Greenwich Village.

Bleeker Street is in Greenwich Village. It’s where Doctor Strange’s house is. 177A Bleeker Street was the address of his Sanctum Sanctorum.

Ditko draws Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sactorum!
Thor seeks Doctor Strange.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Sanctum Sanctorum

I looked for the specific address. The street runs into a park and ends before 177A can be reached. Or is this some sort of protective spell cast by the Sorcerer Supreme?

One Response to “Illustration Adventure: Greenwich Village”

  1. Great post!!

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