From the Brains of Babes

In September, I created this half-page illustration for California Magazine. It accompanied an interview with Alison Gopnik who was discussing her new book "The Philosophical Baby".

My first instinct was to show an x-ray of a baby's brain, and the humor would come from all the crazy stuff packed within. This solution has the added benefit of letting the baby and the reader in on the joke, while leaving the medical profession somewhat in the dark.

Here is the original sketch, with physics equations.

Here is a second concept with a focus more on philosophy. I spent more time figuring out what to call this baby, than I spent naming my own children.

The editor liked the first option, but wanted to take the text from sketch two to shift the emphasis to philosophy. Sometimes playing mix 'n match with sketches gets dicey, but she was absolutely right. I gotta say that coming up with the infanto-aphorisms on the wall was half the fun.


Dennis Porter said…
Hey Chuck, nice project. I like the whole thing but I also notice the odd effect of the original pencil somehow having a bit more life than the final. I get that a lot in mine as well. Frustrating. Hope to see you at a lunch sometime soon.
Chuck said…
Sorry for the delay, Dennis, good to hear from you!

I think every illustrator has that problem. It's almost impossible to recapture the appeal of the original spontaneous sketch. (Even the brilliant Peter deSeve admits this) Part of it is the fact that we inundate ourselves looking at tons of final art, and the sketchy stuff is a bit fresher to us.

Another theory I have is that all the search lines amount to a vague indecisive design, allowing the viewer to subconsciously "pick out" the character most pleasing to his sensibilities. It's one of the reasons I dislike working in vectors so much. The more we can imply, the better, and vectors make that harder.