This month's graphic for WWII Magazine looks at the lesser known MP3008. It was a German submachine-gun, drafted into minimal use at the end of the war. It was an insalubrious end for the fine craft heritage of German WWII weaponry - although this attention to technical detail was not tenable.
The graphic started life as a general family tree of many other submachine guns. This type of weapon was invented in WWI, but many variants were used in WWII. I wanted to show the main developments, color coded by country.
As soon as i decided that the MP3008 was th focus I deleted all guns not related. This meant getting rid of the US Finnish and Russian guns - which i am sure i will come back to.
I then thought to add data on the global resources available to build weapons, but it split the page too much.
The magazine editor Bill and his staff felt that the page needed a focus. They felt that a system diagram such as a family tree did not give the reader enough of a starting point.
Al these are trying to resolve the need to point at the Main Object - the MP3008 - which is on the left - not the normal place people start to read.
Then, I decided to add detail on the operation of the gun - this added a new variable to the graphic - already tense with competing focal demand - especially the UK and German Timelines, which were not quite working out - until below:
This piece had people in it like many of the newer ones. I wanted to show the progression from static warfare to mobile SMG warfare - to the fellow crouched down, waiting for it to stop. I quite like the place-holding sketch - maybe i should have kept it?
Drawing the weapons
I started off doing line drawings with a plain white fill.
I then wanted to fill them, bringing them a more informal style, with some fairly broad brush strokes - away from the technical illustration gradients and 3d renders that permeate elsewhere.
I kept some of the principles of the assigned colour following the relevant parts throughout. I also started to use 'bitten' lines - with white either side to direct the label better.