Essentially, by creating illustrations from Second Life® environments and characters, I make hybrids. Believing that every avatar is a self-portrait, to capture the personality of what is already an expression, takes collaboration to a new level. Like a business card, an avatar represents the person behind the keyboard. My avatar better shows my self-concept than my real-world self! So working on portraits in a already hybrid world adds another layer of visual craft.
In portraying Amy Nevilly of Second Ads, I wish to capture her total dedication to concepts that will appeal to the largest markets possible. She observed quickly that new avatars had few options to make virtual money, relying instead on real world credit cards to fund their in-world lifestyles. Rather than approach the challenge like an artist (looking first to oneself for a solution), she approached it like a marketer: what will appeal?? What will sell?? Then she and Wili came up with a fishing game that bridges the newcomers with existing businesses. So to express their innovative strategy, I wish to match with innovative illustrations—something that does not exist in SL but represents.
Another thing happened this month that surprised me: my design is being copied by another (not to be named here) magazine! I guess that is the highest form of flattery. And it inspired me. It makes me ask: what sets my work apart?? If they can copy something I have done, I must stop doing that. Only what is difficult to copy is worth doing. Further, my visuals should not look like a visit to locations—they should not be substitute. They need to express subjects in a way that the visitor can not see by following in my footsteps! It is not a documentary but a portrayal of experience. My strength is to give visual what is not, in a way that represents without repeating. I think I accomplish that here. My favorite illustration in the issue is (see the whole issue of Bowler Business Review #8):
Like any successful business owner, Wili Clip is a bit of a control-freak. How he earns a real full time living in a virtual world where the currency is pennies on the dollar, is right there amazing. And to lead a staff of five or six that can also do the same (like Amy) is even more remarkable. So in this illustration, I had captured a photo of Wili outside my virtual office, on his way to play his own fishing game. For those in the know, that little red comic character on his shoulder is an assistant (fisherpeople can buy one) that helps increase catching fish. His pole is the deluxe-version, of course, also for sale. The hat???…. for free on Marketplace!
This issue also stretched my Photoshop skills. Learning new techniques in that program everyday, my visual vocabulary grows, along with creating more illustrations of illustrations—to bring a hyper reality to an already unreal world—yet one that often feels more real than the one I sit in now, typing this entry.
Always inspired, Liane