Healthcare, The Supreme Court, And The Incredible Shrinking Crystal Ball
Behind every successful illustration stands a humble rough sketch. Or two. Or ten. Here’s
a look at a case where a client knew what they wanted– or thought they did. I did a series of sketches that helped bring the concept into focus.
The United States Supreme Court is currently deliberating on The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as Obamacare. At issue: the law’s individual mandate which requires individuals who are not covered by either an employer or government plan to buy their own health insurance, or be forced to pay a penalty. Is such a mandate constitutional? There are other controversial provisions in the law, but
the individual mandate is the main point of contention at the moment.
Healthcare Finance Magazine asked me to do an illustration on the subject. They asked specifically for “a crystal ball with the Supreme Court Building inside.” They wanted the words Health Reform on the base of the crystal ball, and “one person looking in, trying (unsuccessfully) to glean some knowledge as to which way the court will rule.”
Here’s the final:
In my initial rough sketches, I made the crystal ball quite large. I thought that would make it easier for readers to see and recognize the Supreme Court Building, and understand what the illustration was trying to say. Here I have the usual stereotype of a fortune teller trying to see what’s happening:
I always invite clients to “mix and match” elements from the different sketches. Here’s the feedback I received in this case:
We’d like to work with #3, but use the guy from #2. We like the idea of #3, but would
like to see a less cartoonish version. Also, could you add a little definition to the Supreme Court building? Lastly, we want the guy to be looking into the crystal ball but would rather not have him actually leaning on it, so let’s have him take a step back and be looking in with the perplexed expression on his face.
Here’s my revision based on the above feedback. I just pasted in a photo of the Supreme Court Building, then added some clouds on a separate layer in Photoshop.
The client liked the revision, but expressed concern about the building not being defined clearly enough. I had planned to enhance the image, giving it an illustrated look, when I did the final. However, this was a first-time client, and they needed some reassurance. I went ahead and “Photoshopped” the building. Here’s the new version. I’ll show how I achieved this effect in a followup post.
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