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Pipeline RailsConf Illustration

LATE FRIDAY I received a message from David Heinemeier Hansson, requesting a slide illustration for his RailsConf 2011 keynote.

David is a partner at 37signals, co-author of REWORK (the book I illustrated) and creator of the Ruby on Rails development framework.

David provided his talk title The Asset Pipeline and our Post-Modern, Hybrid, Javascript Future, along with notes about pipelines and a Jetson-like spaceship he envisioned. Beyond that, I was free to have some fun with the illustration.

iPad Concepting

I grabbed my iPad for concepting, using Penultimate with my finger and Stylus Sock Pro to sketch several concepts. This is the final, approved sketch:

Pipeline Concept Sketch (iPad)

The iPad and Penultimate worked well for these rough concepts. I was able to get several ideas down quickly and email them directly to David from the iPad for review.

Inking and Production

With the concept and general direction set, I brought out my large Moleskine sketchbook, penciled in the rough imagery and began inking the pipeline, landscape, space ships and several bits of hand-drawn typography.

Pipeline Moleskine Inked Illustrations

Here you can see the pages where I inked the illustration. Note how pieces are spread out on the page and not in any specific order — that's because I scan the pieces and assemble them in Photoshop. This approach provides control and lets me make changes quickly.

Once the pieces were scanned and assembled, the final slide looked like this:

Pipeline Sketchnote Illustration

I was very happy with the end result. Having just finished watching Mad Men Season 4 last week, I was definitely channeling 1965 into the final illustration.

David was very pleased with the results as well:

I'll be keynoting tomorrow morning on this topic at RailsConf: (illustration by the wonderful @rohdesign)less than a minute ago via Tweetie for Mac Favorite Retweet Reply

Thanks David!

UPDATE - David mentioned this article on the 37signals blog, Signal vs. Noise.

Reader Comments (5)

I treasure your posts where you shed insight to your process. You are an amazingly talented artist Mike, and I love seeing that I'm not alone in thinking so. Congrats buddy.

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMashby

Thanks Mike! I'm happy you're enjoying these process description articles — I'll keep 'em coming!

May 18, 2011 | Registered CommenterMike Rohde

Very nice illustration! What type of pen are you using with the Moleskin? I have tried several, but they all seem to streak.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

I'm with the other John. What kind of pen is that?

I use Pilot G2s which work pretty well on Moleskine paper, but can be rough on other paper.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Uhri

John & John - that's a Pentel EnerGel 0.7mm gel pen. Reality loving the lines and coverage of those pens lately.

May 25, 2011 | Registered CommenterMike Rohde
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