Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lost In Translation

Lost in Translation - Illustration by Graham Smith

Art Director SooJin Buzelli, asked me to illustrate a story for PlanAdviser Magazine. The story is about finance planners difficulties in reaching out to the Hispanic market with guidance related to retirement saving. The article explains that different cultures look at retirement goals differently, and their current sales pitch is falling on indifferent ears.

There is no way I was going to illustrate this in literally - with a dude in a suit talking to people supposed to look Hispanic. So, I pitched birds talking to llamas instead. Somehow that made sense to me.

Lost in Translation - detail. Graham Smith

Llamas are from Peru, and the bird is an American Blue Jay, and they both seem to have a love of the color pink. The article advises to look for things in common. The Blue Jay sits on his "nest egg" while the snow falls. This illustration was for the January /February issue of Plan Adviser, out on news stands now, so I thought adding a seasonal element would be right.

You can read the Lost in Translation article in PlanAdviser's first digital online issue.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pay Up Sucker

Illustration by Graham Smith for The Washington Post

Marianne Seregi, the Topic Designer for the business section of The Washington Post, called last week with an illustration assignment for an article about debt collectors, and how they are trying to change their perceived negative image.

For this section cover illustration, I presented a number of ideas ranging from vague and safe, to scathingly editorial.

This was the safe sketch, paper sharks circling a debtor cut from paper money.

I was hired based on my ability to draw people well with pen and ink, the irony is, that I didn't use pen and ink in the final execution. Inking her made her into a specific person, instead of generalized debtor, so I thought it better to present her as receipts and money.

This sketch was a bit too much for The Washington Post, and I can see why. A giant cockroach on the section cover, on Valentines day, just might put folks off their breakfast. The writer, Christian Davenport, came up with new headlines to fit each new round of sketches. This rejected sketch would have potentially been paired with, "Debt collectors: We're not just here to bug you. We promise."

What do you folks think, is it better to present a safe sketch, an edgy concept, or both?
Related Posts with Thumbnails