Virtual Robbery

This illustration accompanies a story about the problems arising around the imaginary economies which are a component of many online games. In some games the virtual currency can be exchanged for actual money or merchandise, so –– of course –– hackers and thieves are finding ways to steal gamers' make-believe money and trade it for real-world loot.

Wow. The shriveled, sleepy portion of my brain that recalls the pre-internet world thinks that's a weird thing to try to explain. What strange things the 21st century hath wrought!

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I received the assignment on an already busy Thursday. There was a concept that the art director and page designer had tentatively pitched, but they weren't really enthusiastic about it. I started to flesh out that idea at the very end of my shift, but I paused and did the rough sketch below, on the left.

I've never played World of Warcraft but that's what I think of first when I hear "online games," so I pushed in that direction. "Almost there," I thought. But would anyone else see the connection?

Gosh, that second one looks like a Sergio Aragonés gutter drawing. That's cool!
I had a cookie, went into my thinking trance and solidified the drawing. Then, I put those health-bars over the characters' heads. DING! Whew. That's it.

I pitched the thumnail in an email before I went home and it was given the thumbs-up. When I arrived at work the next day, I only had about 5 or 6 hours to get it done, so I sprinted forward without straying much from the roughs. The drawing part was pretty swift but I explored a couple of different coloring approaches, which was fun and I'm glad I took the time. I like how it came out.

I didn't mean to make it so cute. I try to save that for my features illustrations, but it was crunch time and not wholly inappropriate. 

Here is what it looked like in the paper:



The End