Twitter 2

Here is an illustration for a Chuck Barney story; another contribution to the Twitter frenzy. In particular it is a story about celebrity twittery, which is a rather robust topic at the moment. Our story has been on the burner for well over a month but it hasn't made it into the mix until now, so it might not be as cutting edge as it could be but sometimes the crumbling of the cookie happens in this way.

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.

The End.

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