I’m a big fan of Frank Chimero. His state illustrations are fantastic (when’s New York, Frank? Or Vermont, or Indiana??), and I used to have this inspirational poster as my desktop at work for a while (the “Aw, Damnit” part got to me, eventually). Anyway, Grain Edit interviewed Frank recently, and it’s really fascinating. I’m not even a graphic designer or much of an artist (though I’m known to doodle geometric shapes on notebooks at work).
The whole interview is a great read, but my favorite part is when Frank describes how he comes up with the ideas for the states. Here’s an excerpt:
Here, I’m trying out a few ideas. Something long and curling? An alligator? A fish? A manatee? Nah. That manatee doesn’t look like one. It’s too skinny. Not cowish enough. Doesn’t work well with the shape. The alligator is nice, but too predictable? His legs don’t integrate in very nicely into the shape. A train? Oh. Wow. That’s nice. Maybe we can use the smoke to trail off to the left to fill that difficult space. Ok. Bingo!
So cool. Anyway, Frank also mentions this great video he did for Good Magazine. I hadn’t seen it before and I suggest you watch it both for his great drawings and for the info.