Conceptual Illustration Project

Conceptual Illustration Project

2001: A Space Odyssey inspired conceptual illustration for a magazine story on the internet-connected home.

I read through each of the story prompts for this project, but wasn’t moved by any of them aside from the DIY home. The first thing that came to mind after finishing it was HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and I quickly devised a scene in which the idyllic automated kitchen experience of the future takes a sudden turn. I thought through a few more ideas, including one where a baby or toddler is accidentally throwing the connected house into chaos by playing with a phone, and another that was sort of a Beauty and the Beast theme, with a Belle-like character being formed from the logos of Apple, Amazon, and the Wi-Fi symbol. I ended up sticking with my initial reaction because as I was searching for visual inspiration for HAL, I found that the movie had actually just celebrated its 50th anniversary the day before. I figured this perfect timing was indicating that it was meant to be, so I decided to go for it.

I recognize my limitations as an illustrator, and so I knew that I was not going to be able to come up with any kind of detailed or realistic kind of illustration. What I wanted to focus on was cleanliness, to match with the visual style of the movie. I avoided outlines, and made everything in a kind of modern cut out style. To add detail without making things feel cluttered, I added highlights across a few of the appliances.

I had never really worked with the 3D effects in Illustrator, but I thought that it could add to the futuristic identity of the illustration. I think it added a lot, and was not too difficult to achieve after playing around with the perspective and depth to make sure things matched. My original layout was more bright and colorful, because I wanted to get across the idea that the house is normally an average happy place, and that perhaps the moment of the illustration is a turning point. But I do think that it is much better with a color scheme closer to that of the movie.

I looked up the typefaces used for the film cover (Futura) and titlescreen (Gill Sans), and used these as my main display types, tightening the kerning some to help it match more. The headline came pretty easily when I had decided on using the movie as my inspiration. The movie’s title lent itself well to the wordplay, and I thought it worked well to tie the story to the illustration. One of my final touches was to add one last HAL monitor as the dot over the “I” in oddity, which served as one more tie in, and a good way to bring in a touch of the red to the left hand side of the page.

I had envisioned the illustration being an oval shape, for no real reason at first, but later thought that maybe this could help give the impression that we are viewing the scene from another one of HAL’s eyes from the other side of the room. To strengthen this effect, I drew a circle over the illustration and filled it with a black-red-clear gradient and lowered the transparency. I also resized the illustration to be less of an oval shape so that it would look more like one of the monitors, and by doing so I also solved my text spacing issue, because it filled the page better and pushed the text closer together.

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