I had the opportunity to work with O'Connor Design in the Chicago area (James O'Connor/Creative Director), on a project for The Options Clearing Corporation 2009 Annual Report. (The Options Clearing Corporation (OCC), founded in 1973, is the world's largest equity derivatives clearing organization)
The images were to reflect a handful of themes used to create the thrust of the report: Strength, Growth, Development, and "Behind the Scenes." Since the process of clearing options is very detailed and high-tech driven, I chose to go low-tech and monolithic with the nature of my images allowing the readers to immediately understand what the core themes were, at a glance. I came up with the idea of using a monolithic financial-esque building as the visual handle throughout all the images, and a repeating the same male character who adds the action and human value.
Several variations ensued in the sketch stages... first a simple approach, then exploring a more textural background and even trying composing the building shapes out of just financial data, but ultimately we went back to the basic approach as I initially envisioned.
Usually, most of the illustrations I do these days all have layered digital Photoshop enhancements, but all these final illustrations for OCC were done the "old fashioned" way, with just brush and paints, without benefit of the computer, in part because the client also wanted to purchase the originals to display in their Chicago offices. The final artwork was created with gouache, watercolor, and pastels on Arches 260 lb hot press watercolor paper.
The sketches posted here show one image from sketch through to the finished art (man lifting building over his head) -and I also have shown one of the other final images, too. (building as hot air balloon)