The assignment was to bring Cumuli's Characters Cards up-to-date, but still keeping the black and white graphic style of the original ones. Depicting some of the worlds most famous and infamous people in politics, movies, music and science, the 20 character cards have been used for various workshops to help people to come up with new ideas. As the company has gone international and some of the characters have become less known than just 8 years ago, it became a wish to revaluate the old and select new ones.
Phase 1: Finding Candidates
Over 60 persons from around the world, historical and contemporary heroes, inspirators, vilians and a lot in between were suggested. Apart from being internationally known, the criteria were: the persons should have strong characteristics and not just be famous for being famous.
Phase 2: Narrowing it Down to (almost) 20 Characters
It became apparent that the characters should be those we find inspiring not jus today, but also those whom we think will be remembered 15 years or more from now.
We cut it down to 20 characters - 9 from the old cards (Picasso, Mephisto, Queeen Margrethe II, Buddha, Gandhi, Madonna, Einstein, Bono og Charlie Chaplin) drawn by Heidi J. Petersen and 11 new ones (Mohammed Ali, Lady Diana, Angela Merkel, Andy Warhol, Steve Jobs, Jon Stewart, HC Andersen, Lars von Trier, Barack Obama, the Pope Francis and Coco Chanel)
Phase 3: Finding their Pictures
Portraits, official photos, magazine covers, people in action, like President Obama speaking and so forth.
I hold no rights for the pictures of Warhol above. None of the Photos has been reproduced besides in the process. But I thank the very exceptional photographers for without them I could not have done my portraits.
Phase 4: Selecting the Right Version
Our deliberations were like: Do we perceive Andy Warhol as young or old? Hans Christian Andersen with or without a top hat? The Pope Francis I with or without glasses. How to find both the sweetness and toughness of Lady Diana? Some were easy, some were hard. Some were discussed for some time and some we will never agree on ... but had to decide on anyway.
Phase 5: Drawing (finally ...) both by hand and in Illustrator
What facial features or accessories make a person recognizable? How prominent should the beard be? Or the curls? Or the nose? A black and white portrait leaves you with not drawing something, drawing something or just hinting at something like an eyebrow. My assignment was to choose the right lines so to speak.
Phase 6: Fine-tuning
The last adjustments were made in illustrator like should the lines be thicker or thinner? And where to crop the pictures and where should they be placed on the cards?
Phase 7: Adding Names
How much of a name? Should it be only the star or also the person? First name, surname and should there be a title? We went with no titles, because a lot of the people are known for a lot more than just their title. And in what language should their name be in? Yes we chose to use the Latin version of the Catholic Pope's name.
Thanks for Watching !
This photo just above is made by Lasse Wamsler