a few illustrations along the way

The purpose of this exercise was to experiment with the process of stylizing and simplifying an object then projecting human qualities and emotions to it.  Our solutions were to be black and white only. There were eight objects to choose from.  I tried to work with a bus at first, even got my son Kevin involved for the sketching process. He drew a very sweet bus rendition that I considered bouncing off of and I love anything with wheels, however, it was the artichoke that tugged at my own emotions the most.

Artichokes also happen to be one my favorite veggies and since this project I have started collecting them.  I stumbled upon a beautiful white ceramic artichoke at ZGallerie and a few baby silk arti’s at Pier 1 Imports. My favorite is the hyper version — those who know me might attest to this connection particularly when deadlines loom.


This Tennis Event signage project was another result of creating a cohesive series of icons using the simplification and stylization process. I designed six icons for signage and display that would help direct people to specific areas, stations and shops — no words or letters allowed. I had to speak through all languages using black and white images only.


I loved exploring the various ways to ‘redress’ a subject while keeping it the same; still recognizable, yet each with a different message.  One idea generated another and another, yet it did take a bit for me to get to my very first valid idea.  I really wasn’t sure how to take a tennis ball and create a different use for it without being hokie, but once I started playing the ideas just came bouncing through!

2 thoughts on “a few illustrations along the way

  1. Belinda

    I realize this is a previous post but I just stumbled onto your ‘typepad’tonight and this project with the tennis balls as icons for familiar haunts is AWESOME. SUCH TALENT. I hope you have employment doing this sort of thing because talent like this should not be wasted. Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

    • barbara davidson miller

      Aww, thank you very much for the complimentary feedback — I am so glad to hear that my tennis ball icons caught your attention! They were fun to do and one of my favorite illustration projects to date.

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