Underwriter Laboratories and the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition

Digital Illustration, Editorial Illustration, Watercolor Painting

The world renowned Underwriter Laboratories (UL) of product safety testing and standards fame, contracted Randal Birkey to create an illustration out of an old historical print depicting a scene from the Chicago Fire. It was to be reproduced in a company publication having to do with fire safety.

In this unusual project, Randal Birkey was provided a faded copy of a historic illustration that was unusable for reproduction. He was asked to enhance it and turn it into a new and reproducible illustration. The image depicts a fire fighting team at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Randal scanned a copy of the original damaged print, then used Fractal Painter software on a Macintosh computer with a Wacom tablet, to “retouch” adding color, texture and contrast to the image.