I did another Twitter illustration last year (here) and I toyed with the idea of doing this one in the same style (a sort of cartoony cubism, if you don't feel like clicking the link), but it had been a challenging project. The amount of effort may not show in the final product but I took an improvisational approach to it and there was a lot of searching and erasing to do before I came to the happy end (I really enjoyed that one.)
When I found an afternoon to spend on this illustration I decided to do it in Illustrator. Why? I don't know, I don't really care much for Illustrator as a drawing tool. I haven't worked with it enough to be able to impose my will on it. I feel like I spend most of my time trying to figure out how to undo what I just did on accident; but I wanted to achieve the flavor of Twitter's design style and I decided that could be done more easily with vector art, and I had time to wrestle with it. So what the heck1
I kept it simple, mostly just circles and ovals. It took a while to create a bird that looked like a bird but once I got there it was pretty easy. It was just like moving little cutouts around on a table. I did several layouts and gave the page designer 3 or 4 options to work with. This is the one that made it.
I didn't have the word balloons around the photographs at first, so it kind of looked like the big bird was vomiting celebrity photographs onto the smaller birds. Not a totally inappropriate visual interpretation, but probably too obvious to be subtly funny.
In another display of obviousness, I turned the eye of the large bird to a star to set it apart as the celebrity, leaving the other birds with simple dots for eyes. I remember reading something about a simple dot being used as a symbol for the common man. Was is Dostoyevsky? Nietzsche? I know that Woody Allen used that symbolism in "Crimes and Misdemeanors," but I forget where it originated. (A quick google didn't give me an easy answer-- that's all the research I'm up for at the moment.) Anyway, it works as a good incidental but probably unimportant use of symbolism, adding a deeper, pretentious layer of meaning to what seems, at first, a rather pedestrian composition. I'm reaching, I know.
So, here's the latest thing. It does not look like something that I would do, which I take as a sure sign I'm not in control of the tools I'm using.