The Marathon Illustrations - Behind the Scenes

I always love reading other peoples “behind the scenes” articles to see how they come up with their ideas and how they bring their work to life. So I thought I would share how I work through my marathon drawings and how they come to be from start to finish.
Once I pick a marathon to draw, then the real work begins! My goal with each drawing is to include points of interest you run past on the marathon route, along with any significant images I think represent the city. Most of the cities I haven’t personally run, so there is a lot of research that gets put in to this portion to get it right.
Step 1 - Learning the course
First, I find a course map and learn where the marathon runs through. 
LA Marathon Map
Since I haven't run every marathon I draw, I find a course video to watch and note any highlights I want to include in the drawing. This also gives me a sense of what the runners will see from their point of view. 
Then I research points of interest along the course... Lucky for me, the LA marathon has a "Landmarks" section on it's map, which saves me literally hours of time researching.
Step 2 - Gathering Images 
Next I spend my time gathering images from the web of all the things I want to draw. 
LA Marathon Course Attractions
Step 3 - Sketching 
And then we start sketching everything out.
LA Marathon Illustration Sketch
First draft sketch... loosely laying out from mile 1 to mile 26 (in order of what you run past from left to right). 
LA Marathon Sketch
 Listing out, in order, the skyline of LA, I research the heights of the buildings to get it right, and sort out  which buildings to include.
Los Angeles Marathon Illustration
Painstakingly measuring and drawing out the letters
Step 4 - The Drawing
It takes days to get to this step, but once we are finally here, it starts coming together nicely! I do a pencil drawing first, then go over it in pen. 
From here, we take a high rez image and clean it up in photoshop and voilà! Final drawing 

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