As some readers may know, I'll be spending the holidays hammering out a book, also called Human Transit at least for now, to fulfil a contract I have with Island Press. The book will try to lay out some of the core ideas of transit geometry that the general public tends not to understand -- points like this, and this, and especially this -- but in a friendly and humanistic way. I want it to be readable and enjoyable for any reasonably intelligent general reader who doesn't understand transit and knows that they need to. For that reason, I need some pictures. And I basically can't draw.
The geometry I'm explaining is pretty simple, as you'll see from the links above. What I need are two kinds of image:
First, I need illustrations that humanize these ideas. I need images of people, and transit vehicles, and buildings, and whatever else it takes to convey that while a point about geometry is being made, the point governs the lives of real people in a real city. One obvious idea is that instead of looking at a geography directly from above, as my own sketches usually do, you might view the ground plane from an angle so that the geometry on the land surface is clear but you can also convey that there are people and vehicles and buildings moving around in the space. That's just one possibility.
Second, I will also need a few specialized maps that are more precisely detailed. For example, I'll need a much-simplified map of part of the San Francisco transit system with only certain lines shown, and drawn in a way that illustrates a particular point about how the system functions as a grid (I did what I could with the available images here.) I may need some similar focused drawings of other bits of geography.
(UPDATE: Sorry for forgetting to mention this, but I need the book to be inexpensive, so I'm currently visualising black-and-white illustrations! If you can make a black line sing, you're in.)
You don't need to be in Canberra, Australia, where I currently am. If you were in eastern Australia it would make it easier for us to meet in person, but I'm happy to do that part by Skype as needed.
Alas, I cannot afford to pay you. You would need to want to do it for the same reason I'm doing it, namely to have it on your resume or CV, and as part of your professional reputation. If the book does well, it will be a credit to the illustrator(s) as well as to me. If you are a university student and would like to configure the task as something that earns academic credit for you, I'm happy to talk about that.
The work needs to happen mostly in December and January.
I am open to the possibility that this task could be divided among several people, who may be good at different aspects of it or at different kinds of drawings.
If you're interested, especially in the "humanizing drawings" task, please do this. Go look at this post and at the rough drawings in it. Read the post carefully to be sure you understand the point being made. Then send me a quick sketch that gives some idea of how you'd convey the same information in a way that's more compelling and interesting. (If you think of this as a tiresome "audition," you're probably not right for the job. On the other hand, if this kind of challenge is fun for you, you may well be perfect for it.) One thing to think about, especially, is how to help people grasp, visually, the role of frequency -- which may well be the single hardest visualization problem confronting the whole book. The artist of my drawings did it with width of lines. Is there a better way?
Finally, if you've seen professional illustrations that strike you as the kind of thing I might be after, please send them along so that I can select the best and post them as future guidance.
Please reply by email (link under my photo at right) rather than in comments. This is a temporary post and it will vanish when it has served its purpose.