I had the pleasure this past August to illustrate a Thanksgiving article for this month’s issue of Clubhouse Magazine published by Focus on the Family. It tells the story of Sarah Hale, the woman responsible for convincing Abraham Lincoln to make Thanksgiving an official holiday.
Sarah was an accomplished writer of books and the author of Mary Had a Little Lamb, and she was also the editor of a very popular magazine based out of Philadelphia. Her persistent letters over the years to several U.S. presidents finally got results with Lincoln.
I wanted a bit of a hand drawn quality to this illustration, so the final line art was a black Prismacolor pencil drawing on bumpy watercolor paper. It was then colored in Photoshop.
Here is a detail of the newspaper with some headlines that may or may not be historically accurate. I’m particularly fond of the Thanksgiving day sale ad in the lower corner of the newspaper that is announcing the first official Thanksgiving holiday. Silly is what I do, even in the midst of a history lesson.
When researching the details for this illustration, I found this great image of an older Sarah Hale who was in her later years during the events of this article. So, I based my drawing of her on this.
While in the middle of working on this piece, I visited the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia to find Mrs. Hale’s grave. The cemetery was LOADED with historical figures both factual and fictional. While it boasted Civil War generals, Titannic survivors, baseball players, and even a signer of the Declaration of Independence, this was also the cemetery where Adrian Balboa, the wife of Rocky Balboa, was buried in the Rocky movies.
May you and yours have a very blessed Thanksgiving, and remember to give thanks to God for all you have in this brief life He has granted.