Wednesday, September 8, 2010

San Diego is Underwater

Lee Partridge, San Diego's CIO of Retirement Fund for ai5000. Illustration: Graham Smith

Art Director, SooJin Buzelli for Asset International's ai5000.

When the assignment to illustrate a portrait of Lee Partridge came in, I already knew the story. Lee Partridge is San Diego's newest Chief Investment officer for the cities underwater retirement fund, and he has a very complicated path ahead of him.

The article was not compete at the time of the assignment and the photo reference was super tiny and low res - so my first round of ideas danced around the idea of a straight up portrait and revolved around symbols of San Diego and business icons instead.

Art Director, SooJin Buzelli gave me "navigating a minefield" as the lynchpin to solving this problem. And upon review of the first batch of thumbnails, reminded me she wanted a portrait, not a complex scene. She also sent me a nice big fresh pile of hi-res photos to work from. Yes!

thumbnails for ai5000. Illustration: Graham Smith

Pencil sketches for ai5000. Illustration: Graham Smith

Using the sea mines symbols, and the waves that represent San Diego (and the condition of the retirement fund) from the first round of thumbnails, I quickly sketched a few portraits of Lee Partridge and sent them to SooJin.

A sketch was selected within minutes and I began working on developing the illustration right away.

The assignment was for a full page illustration, and I like to draw things pretty large. The sketch was done in non- repro blue pencil and inked on 11" x 14" Strathmore paper. Even though I sketched the the whole scene in one piece, I decided to ink the portrait and the sea mines separately. That way I could have a little wiggle room when it came time for final cropping.

Sea Mines ink detail for ai5000. Illustration: Graham Smith

Lee Partridge ink detail for ai5000. Illustration: Graham Smith

Original inking for ai5000. Illustration: Graham Smith

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