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George Washington App BTS

Confession: a major reason I worked on this app project was to collaborate with an artist.  

David Nielsen is a like minded artist—also an illustrator—sharing many of my faith and ideals.  But at the same time we have major differences.  Our styles, for instance, are very different.  In fact that was one of the things I was going to see if we could overcome over the course of this project.  

Here's our process:

After reading the story, I started with a sketch.  This is from a moment in young George Washington's life, when he first encountered military combat.

Second, David created value and color studies based on my drawings.

Of course it's slightly more complicated than paint by number....  

I took his color study and finished out all the details to make the finished painting.

This scene is from the American Revolution as the Colonial forces fought some of the best military powers in the world.  In the battle at Trenton, they fought against German mercenary troops in house to house combat on a snowy morning.

Preston Cone, one of the founders of the Founding Fathers Project, modeled for this shot in colonial garb!

Daniel worked on this, changing the perspective and creating some cool harmonies.  I took it from him before he could really get going though...

The finished shot.  Played with the perspective a lot more.  (Yes, I have both the walking and getting-shot Hessians on this pic.  It's a little confusing right now, but it's not in the app.)

At the end of the American War for Independence, Washington gathered his troops together for a very moving dinner together.

David's value and color study... 

And the finished painted.  

We did a lot more work that didn't make it into the app.  Maybe at some anniversary in the future, we can come back and hit some of these really interesting moments in the Washington saga....

Young George Washington and his Native American allies.  Color study for an illustration which did not make the book.

The Hessians surrendering at Trenton.  I'd love to see this finished with the falling snow and all.

Perhaps at that later date, David and I can go back and touch up some of the artwork.  But on the whole, I'm very satisfied with what we got done here.

I think we were successful, but you be the judge.  Try out the app.  What do you think? 


  1. Thanks for the write-up Matthew! I really enjoyed working on this project with you.

    The link above is mostly my Graphic Design work. If others would like to see some more illustrative work for me, I have a separate portfolio with some game development samples as well:

    1. Yeah, we should like totally team up on something like this in the future. ;)