I was recently asked to illustrate the poster for Yahoo!'s Master Inventor ceremony for the third consecutive year. Yahoo! chocks up a lot of patents. This yearly event recognizes the most innovative software engineers within the company who develop these patentable technologies. This job is a worthy challenge because patents and software engineering isn't as easy to pin down visually as say, a White Stripes show. Plus there's the challenge of getting the likeness of 8-12 engineers who live all over the world.
For this year's poster, my concept was to do something inspired by 80's electro-pop acts and imagery, specifically, Kraftwerk. The idea was to recall the excitement for computer technology that accompanied this time in musical history.
I put together some quick instructions for getting reference photos which were sent out to everyone being recognized. When I got all the photos back I laid them out in Photoshop, trying to keep perspective and their (estimated) heights in mind.
Then I Google Image searched "Mens suit," etc. to find dressed up bodies that loosely matched the engineers' bodies and poses. If you're wondering, I think this is fine because I didn't use any specific details of these pics. They just helped me flesh everything out in my mind. Photoshop's distortion tools helped with this step too.
Using as many layers of tracing paper as necessary, I drew all the dapper dudes (Yes, women are recognized too. This year, not so much). For a job like this I have to use my lucky pencil, a violet Col-Erase. Yes, I drew hands for no reason.
With the pencil drawing done and scanned I created the line art in Adobe Illustrator. I have to say thanks to Clay Butler for his Youtube tutorial on "inking" in Illustrator. Last year's poster was created with real-life ink on illustration board and colored in Photoshop. I went the vector direction this time because the folks at Yahoo! may ask me to re-arrange, or otherwise change the caricatures. Creating the final piece in Illustrator makes changes a lot easier.
Under the line art, I added another layer for basic shapes to fill out the suits and create some highlights bringing out the guys faces. Add some basic shapes and titles and Boom! the poster is ready to print.
Thanks for reading.