Tuesday, May 18, 2010

 Anatomy Of An Editorial Assignment: These are some of the original sketches I submitted for an editorial assignment about how algorithms used for high speed trading are actually learning to become smarter, faster and even unethical and need to be policed somehow. The article really scarred the hell out of me but my instinct was to portray the mind that is now in the machine rather than spook the audience with a hellish portrayal. The comments from the art directer were that the sketches were too metaphysical, the piece was more about the sleuthing and that the 0's and 1's were good.

These are some of the revised sketches. Art director and editor loved 'em but there was an article about China a few pages deeper in the mag and asked if I can change the color scheme away from a China red and also change the large 0's and 1's to Stock Symbols.

Here's one of the the revised final sketch before final art with a different color scheme.

This is the final art I turned in except that I got an e-mail asking if I could delete the whiskers on the dragon because and editor thought they made it not look like a dragon so...

Here's the final art that was published. Very spooky that the week I was working on this piece the very subject of this article about algorithms going out of control in the markets actually caused a pretty intense event in the markets that made worldwide news. I had a friend who actually programmed some of these and when asked who he worked for he would joke, Skynet...

One of the things I do enjoy about editorial and the process of editorial is how plastic and malleable ideas and images are. I thought this was a good example of how a final piece of illustration goes through this process of manipulating form and idea to get to a specific communication through a dialogue with several individuals. This, in contrast to the "this first sketch is brilliant, we love it, go to finish" thing.

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