Shippen-Davis Family Tree

-Illustration, Projects that alter your mental fortitude forever


My client, Henry, came to me via a recommendation from another client at Volunteers of America. Henry was trying to recreate a family tree/family wheel that was first produced in 1956 for what might have been described as a 50th reunion.

Years prior, the great grandmother arranged for a cute picture of her children. All seven children were decked out in matching dresses and suits appropriate for the 1900’s. At that time, she assigned a color to each child. The 1956 wheel was entirely hand-painted and in bright colors. The family cherished, loved and took care of these wheels, but wanted to update them to reflect the subsequent generations.

Henry came to me to design a wheel that included all six generation, keeping the color-coding and creating it digitally so it could be updated for future reunions.

The project was an mathematical and organizational challenge, as the second generation did not yield and equal number of children, but some generations in the 3rd row yielded many.  The entire wheel was laid out by hand and each name was rotated to the appropriate radius of the circle. Many iterations were made to adjust for divorce, deaths, and family hierarchy.

The client was a joy to work with and loved the end result, which was a hit at the reunion.