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2B pencils and a 9" x 12" Canson Artist Series sketchbook with 65 lb. paper. The graphic essay is behind a paywall. I urge you to register to fully immerse yourself in the story, but if you are unable, you might consider these two interviews about how and why this project began: the Poynter.org interview; and this with visual journalist, Charles Apple on his personnal blog. Client: Chicago Tribune

I love those hard bound black sketch books! I often carried a five by seven inch copy in my back pack. I've filled six or seven of these guys. Many drawings began with a few lines and no clear destination in mind. Quite a few developed into a variety of ways to poke fun at my rather distinctive nose. I used to post these on my old Facebook account. I decided to categorize these as 'Alternative Universe Rick Tuma's.' I've never counted but I would guess I've created close to fifty of these odd ducks.

When the Cubs made their 2014 run at getting to the World Series, data wizard and reporter Nausheen Husain and I were sent to the friendly confines of Wrigley Field with a variety of questions to ask fans standing around waiting for the gates to open. Nausheen would ask the questions and I would gather iPhone photos of the fan(s). The plan was to rush back to the Tribune Tower and create sketches to be posted with Nausheen's interviews. Initially I was to sketch as Nausheen inteviewd, but the realization that jostling and ever moving crowds could make this nearly impossible pushed us towards shooting photos for references.

We both found the process to be unnerving and exhilarating. Cubs fans are great. Hard for them not to be humble when your team hasn't won a World Series in more than 100 years! Heck, the last time they have even made it to the game was 1945, losing to the American League's Detroit Tigers!

To preserve the flavor of sketching I used 2B, 4B and 6B pencils and tracing paper along with colored pencils on a second sheet. The paper's translucent and heavily textured surface kept the lines soft. Scanned and assembled in Photoshop I made every effort not to loose the energy of sketches.

Wouldn't it be fascinating to compare the fans, then and now, after the Cubs have won a few World Series? Will they be cocky and a little shrill?

Here are the four sets of interviews/sketches on chicagotribune.com. All are behind a paywall and will require registering for first-time visitors: Cubs vs. Cardinals (WIN), Cubs vs. Cardinals (WIN), Cubs vs. Mets (LOSS), Cubs vs. Mets (LOSS. End of series). Client: Chicago Tribune

Soft pencil on sketch paper. A fascinating story of a kidnapping and rescue by the Chicago police suffered from a lack of photos. A proposal was offered to provide a graphic novel flavored sequence of drawings telling the story. I created these four comps showing how I might tackle the challenge. The idea made it's way all the way up to the editors office before she pulled the plug. Despite my disappointment I've always liked the energy contained in these sketches. Client: Chicago Tribune

Pencil and digital color. Mascot concepts for a department's online identity. Client: Chicago Tribune