09 Early Earth and Big History

The cooling cracked crust in the second panel was a pleasure to draw, and I spent quite a while on it and then ended up putting a big old text bubble in front of it!  Maybe when I make a digital version there can be an option to make the text bubbles disappear to reveal the entire illustrations (I got the idea from the Wormworld App by Daniel Lieske).  This page reminds me of my Brown Book, which I made in an illustration class at RISD, and which is in many ways a direct ancestor to these books, and one of my favorite pieces of artwork from college.

Today was a good day!  A few days ago my good friend Branko sent me a link to David Christian’s TED Talk about Big History.  “Big History” is the history of everything, so his talk was basically the Universe Verse in a super slick slideshow.  In just 18 minutes he covers the history of everything and why it’s important.  It’s incredibly well done and I highly recommend watching it. Apparently Mr. Christian has been teaching Big History  for some time now, and has even made available an online version of his course which then caught the attention of one Bill Gates.  Apparently Bill loved it so much that he contacted David about starting an organization that would create a Big History curriculum for highschoolers, and then make it freely available to anyone who’s interested.

This all sounded incredibly cool so I went to their website: http://www.bighistoryproject.com and found an email address.  I figured they’d be interested in my Big History / Universe Verse comic books so I wrote them a message.  They downloaded the books and gave them a read and I guess they liked what they saw because this morning I got an email asking me to give them a call.  I did, and after they had verified that I wasn’t a wacko or PR liability they asked me if I would sketch a storyboard based on one of the 20 units that make up their curriculum.  For which they’re going to pay me!  And then, if they like the storyboard they might ask me to complete the illustrations so that it can be included in their curriculum, which is scheduled to launch in a handful of schools this September.

And it seems like this curriculum is going to be awesome, both because of the content, and the cutting-edge software they have the resources to produce.  After the first few schools, they’ll get feedback from the teachers and students, then expand to another couple dozen schools before releasing it to the public as a free online course.  And the unit they want me to try illustrating is about agriculture and the dawn of civilization, which I cover in Book 3 of the Universe Verse, and is something I would have therefore been illustrating myself.

So my understanding is that Bill Gates co-founded this project and so he probably funded it.  Which means that indirectly, one could maybe say that I just got hired by the second richest person in the world to draw comics!  Hopefully I can give them what they want!


About jldunbar

An artist and science-enthusiast who loves making books
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