The image above was done for McSweeny's for an essay about the difficulty several novelists had in recapturing the the photograph of a man falling from the World Trade Center on 9/11 in words.
These are the sketches I did in preparation:
With the first one I was trying to capture the epic proportion, and the multiple points of view of the event.
In the next sketch I was dealing with the way writers were trying to invert the event. One author presented the a series of photographs of the man falling in reverse so instead of falling he appeared to be floating upwards. I wanted the figures to appear to be floating safely giving the viewer the ability to look on the event and not be threatened by it.
In the final sketch, I wanted to freeze the falling man before the the most terrible part of the fall happens, allowing for safe contemplation of the event.
After I gave these to Jordan I told him that they were still flexible, I could splice different elements of them into one. He suggested that I take the figure of the first, and place it in the setting of 2 and 3, and keep the same man in the foreground. That sounded good to me, so
I did this drawing with ink graphite and watercolor:
And added this color layer in Photoshop:
I was told that the finale would print darker than the original so I lightened the mid-tones in Photoshop using levels.