I created this illustration for Bay Area News Group to go with a Dana Hull story on lock down technology used by Apple and other smartphone makers to thwart thieves from stealing private information from a cell phone. In print the illustration ran in the San Jose Mercury News and in the Contra Costa Times in the TechMonday business section. I few months later I was delighted to learn that my artwork was also picked up by The Huffington Post and ran with this story: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/16/smartphone-kill-switch_n_5158926.html
The illustration was created with pencil, photocopy and Photoshop. I wanted to really push the threatening feeling of the hands trying to snatch the iPhone. I did this as a separate drawing, xeroxed it to push the blacks and texture and then worked back into it some more. On another piece of bristol board I drew the hand and the lock with chains wrapping around the iPhone to keep it locked down. I scanned both in and accented the hand and phone with color in photoshop. Keeping the background black and white was more striking and sinister. This approach harkens back to my love for printmaking and etching.
October 14, 2014 | Categories: Apple, Business, Chuck's illustrations, Comic Art, Science Fiction / Fantasy, Security, Silicon Valley, Smartphones, Social Media, Technology | Tags: Apple, art, artwork, Bay Area News Group, chain, Chuck Todd, Contra Costa Times, directory of illustration, drawing, etching, fantasy, fantasy art, graphics, hand, horror, Huffington Post, illustration, iPhone, kill switch, lock, newspapers, pencil, photocopy, photoshop, printmaking, private information, San Jose Mercury News, Sci Fi, security, smartphone, stealing, storytelling, technology, thief, thieves, visual journalism, www.chucktodd.net | Leave a comment
I was honored to be part of a group asked to give a presentation at the Alliance for Innovation “Transforming Local Government Conference in Atlanta on April 10, 2013. Our presentation was entitled “Think Outside the Bar Chart! Creating Compelling Budget Communications for Public Engagement” Walnut Creek Assistant City Manager Lorie Tinfow, , Multi-Media Producer Liz Payne and I were joined in spirit by Communications and Outreach Manager Gayle Vassar in spirit though she could not be at the presentation in person.
Last year I was asked to work on a project that grew into “A COMMUNITY CONNECTED: THE 2012-14 BUDGET STORY” for Walnut Creek, CA. The project grew out of a desire to create a more visual, informative and engaging publication than the typical large budget binder. To create something with more context and to also help the public understand the work the city is doing…and the tough challenges and choices ahead. Gayle and Lorie assembled a team that included Finance Manager Cindy Mosser, Liz Payne, Blue Ribbon Taskforce member Karen Majors and myself.
As a visual journalist on the project I was brought in to find visual ways to tell the story. And in the presentation I got to discuss what a visual journalist does and the process of working on the publication, cover and the Priority Based Budgeting infographic. A visual journalist takes complex information, data and ideas and turns it into a visual story….focusing on key messages and what is important to connect to the reader. Visual Journalism is visual reporting using illustration, infographics, design and/or sequential art.
Priority Based Budgeting is a process where a city establishes goals and with input from The City Council, city staff and citizens rank programs and spending in how well they met the goals. It is new, innovative way for cities to aproach budgets and the city of Walnut Creek is one of the first to embrace the process.
The graphic and publication has been well received by the citizens in Walnut Creek and has garnered national attention. It was a great honor to be asked to give our “Think Outside the Bar Chart!” presentation at the TLG conference. I’m including here the cover and a two-page spread from the Budget Story.
It was a great experience and I even got to meet the folks who came up with the idea of Priority Based Budgeting. Getting compliments from them on how well the graphic described the process was high praise indeed! For more about their work go to ( For more on Priority based Budgeting go to: http://www.pbbcenter.org)
April 10, 2013 | Categories: Alliance for Innovation, Business, Chuck's illustrations, Comic Art, Infographics, Political Art, Politics, Priority Based Budgeting, Social Media, Technology, Transforming Local Governments, Visual Journalism | Tags: art, artwork, Chuck Todd, clarity, design, drawing, graphics, illustration, illustrator, infographics, photoshop, sequential art, stories, storytelling, visual journalism, Walnut Creek, www.chucktodd.net | Leave a comment
How do you illustrate the concept of Investing in Ideas? One of the two startups highlighted in Peter Delevett’s story called MOTIF aggregates companies into motifs or ideas. Say an investor likes PETS. Yup you can invest in a grouping of PET companies. Or GREEN companies, or FAST FOOD companies or MOBILE TECH companies, etc.
I thought of an idea taking off, earning money. The concept of turning light bulbs into a flock of ideas flying up and away popped into my head. After a couple of thumbnails the idea gelled. I used $100 bills to construct the wings, which created some fun, bird like patterns. I kept this one loose and fun, I painted up one light bulb and incorporated the finished wings all in photoshop. Then I duplicated the ‘light bulb with wings’ image on multiple layers and made the smaller ones more transparent. I used my artistic license to keep an old style of light bulb…allowing me to leave a subtle birdlike beak on the bulb.
This appeared in Monday print editions. To read Peter’s story online go here:
July 23, 2012 | Categories: Business, Chuck's illustrations, Comic Art, Investing, Science Fiction / Fantasy, Silicon Valley, Social Media, Technology, Video Games | Tags: art, artwork, Bay Area, Bay Area News Group, birds, Chuck Todd, clarity, comics, connecting, Contra Costa Times, design, drawing, facebook, fantasy, graphics, illustration, infographics, music, newspapers, San Jose Mercury News, Sci Fi, sequential art, stories, storytelling, visual journalism, wildlife, www.chucktodd.net | Leave a comment
With the recent Facebook IPO and a lot of venture capital spending going for the quick return of social media companies, there is a growing concern that the pursuit of the quick buck is killing real innovative technologies (in medical, robotics, clean energy, etc.) that take longer for a return on investment. This is my illustration for a Chris O’Brien column in the Sunday (May 27) San Jose Mercury News and Bay Area News Group papers and websites. O’Brien quotes entepreneur Steve Blank as saying that it is “pushing real innovation outside of our country. And it might be the demise of what we do in Silicon Valley.” O’Brien explores the ideas on solutions to the problem that Blank and others have, including the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps. program. You should pick up the paper or go to the story online to read the article…link is below:
For this illustration I used a landscape to depict innovation and contrast that with an opposite. The futuristic landscape is an abstraction of Silicon Valley. Innovation is like a bright light…so the sun represents the light of innovation and ideas. Massive clouds gather, casting a shadow over the valley and buildings and starts to block out the light source of innovation. In the cloud I had fun layering in swirls of money, a few social media companies…and even an eye from the back of a dollar bill. The cloud is building energy and momentum as it pulls in more money.
Here is how the page turned out with a great design by Daymond Gascon.
May 27, 2012 | Categories: Business, Chuck's illustrations, Comic Art, Investing, Political Art, Science Fiction / Fantasy, Silicon Valley, Social Media, Technology, Uncategorized | Tags: art, artwork, Bay Area, Bay Area News Group, Chuck Todd, clarity, comics, connecting, Contra Costa Times, design, drawing, facebook, fantasy, graphics, illustration, illustrator, national science foundation, newspapers, painting, pencil, photoshop, San Jose Mercury News, Sci Fi, sequential art, silicon valley innovation, storytelling, technology, visual journalism, www.chucktodd.net | 1 Comment