The theme for this particular August 2011 issue was “Reaching Students” in schools-based practices with the assistance of newer technologies and systems. Due to workload demands, I was only able to spend one day executing the illustration for this cover. Initially, we were only considering a photo, but I had doubts as to whether or not we would find exactly what we wanted in our stock library (and I knew we didn’t have time to arrange a shoot). The editorial team responded positively to the idea of an illustration.
The style and part of the concept are very heavily influenced and borrowed from the IBM Campaign. I really liked the idea of the dual imagery in that campaign, and immediately recognized a chance to pull off something similar with the hand shapes in this illustration. I was able to incorporate the negative space into USB plugs to reinforce a vague idea of technology (the USB shapes were generic enough to represent broad sweeps of technology, as just about anything could be plugged in via USB) into the hands of the reaching students. If I had more time, I probably would have experimented with adding other shapes into the hands (computer mice, tablets, etc) — but otherwise, I was happy enough with the results (even though it is a bit derivative).