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45 artists illustrated every song in Hamilton, and the results are stunning

Daveed Diggs as Lafayette leaps into the war on a mighty white stallion, sword drawn, gobsmacking the British forces against a blinding ray of sunlight. Claire Hummel
Aja Romano writes about pop culture, media, and ethics. Before joining Vox in 2016, they were a staff reporter at the Daily Dot. A 2019 fellow of the National Critics Institute, they’re considered an authority on fandom, the internet, and the culture wars.

Arielle Jovellanos, a New York–based freelance comics artist and illustrator, did not throw away her shot when a Hamilton cast member, after seeing some of her work, granted her a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet the cast and crew of the award-winning musical. To show her appreciation, Jovellanos decided to create a special compilation of Hamilton fan art to present to the company.

But to do it right, she needed a little help. So she summoned a cadre of artists to join her project — 45 contributors total, one for nearly all of the 46 tracks on the best-selling Hamilton original cast recording.

Jovellanos dubbed the project Ham4Pamphlet, a stylization she borrowed from the musical's supplementary weekly street performances, which are hashtagged #Ham4Ham on social media.

Jovellanos printed only enough copies of her art-filled zine (the fandom term for a low-fi printing of fan art, fanfiction, or other fan writing) to give one to each member of Hamilton's cast and crew. Modeled after the Revolutionary-era hand-distributed pamphlets that Founding Father Alexander Hamilton himself once wrote, it also featured a frontispiece that paid homage to the distinctive design of the "Hamiltome," a.k.a. composer Lin-Manuel Miranda's annotated, extra-detailed publication of the musical's libretto.

Inside were 47 stunning pieces of artwork.

Daveed Diggs as Lafayette leaps into the war on a mighty white stallion, sword drawn, gobsmacking the British forces against a blinding ray of sunlight.
Illustration of the song "Guns and Ships" from Hamilton, by Claire Hummel.
Illustration of the women of Hamilton's ensemble by Arielle Jovellanos.
Illustration of Hamilton original cast actors playing Madison, Jefferson, Burr, and Hamilton. Two ravenous dogs are lunging toward Hamilton as he reads the paper trail associated with their accusing him of embezzling government funds.
Illustration of the song "We Know" from Hamilton, by Jasmine J. Batista.

The illustrations, which are arranged chronologically as they are performed in the musical, represent a gorgeous array of art styles and offer a surprisingly detailed look at the widely varied moods and dynamic emotional range of the show itself:

Illustration of Aaron Burr's fantasy of being in a room debating issues with Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Each of them wear eyemasks and full party regalia and the table is covered with shattered dishware and wine glasses bleeding red wine.
Illustration of the song "The Room Where It Happens," by Mari Costa.
Eliza, her hair in front of her face, looks forlornly at the letter Hamilton left behind for her. On his desk a solitary candle burns.
Illustration of the song "Best of Wives and Best of Women," by Stef Masciandaro.

In an email to Vox, Jovellanos said she'd been a big fan of Hamilton since it started previews in February of 2015. "I come from a family of immigrants so I really connected deeply with [Miranda's] lyrics. Seeing a diverse cast completely killing it on Broadway meant so much to me."

A few months after Jovellanos's artwork featuring one of the cast members drew attention on Twitter this past January, Hamilton ensemble performer Seth Stewart contacted her and offered to bring her backstage to meet the company the next time she came to see the show; at the time, she already happened to have tickets for June.

With only six weeks to devise something truly special for the occasion, Jovellanos realized it was the perfect moment to reach out to her community of Hamilton friends and artists. "It was clear I wasn't the only artist who had the cast recording on repeat, that Hamilton meant so much to so many people, and that the range of artists who love Hamilton is just as diverse as the cast itself," she told me.

The full list of artists includes well-known pros like Kate Leth as well as fan artists like @maeng. The zine is not for sale to the public — it was a gift for the cast only — but Jovellanos has posted the entire thing on her website.

"I'm forever grateful to the artists and the cast for making magic happen," she said.