Gadgets, Games, Robots and the Digital World
6 illustrations for a book by Dorling Kindesley Limited, a Penguin Company

It's no secret that I'm a devoted fan of computer history and cyberculture. I have this passion for more than 20 years now. Been studying, collecting old machines, retro gadgets, especially old Apples but also Sinclairs, Amstrads, Bulls, Commodores... I am considering this computer archeology passion one of the more romantic activities I ever had.
When Smiljka Surla from DK publishing contacted me about this project I was more than happy to be involved.
"Gadgets, Games, Robots and the Digital World" is a very well written and detailed educational book. It can serve as a great introduction to the world of smart machines. Written by
Clive Gifford, a journalist participating in more than 120 titles in the field of computing, robotics and everything tech. Dr Mike Goldsmith, another veteran of popular science literature has contributed to the book.
The book uses illustrations and information graphics by I Love Dust (a studio I really admire), James Carey, Infomen and me.

I have been asked to create 6 mosaic portraits of 6 IT giants: Grace Hopper,Cynthia Breazeal,Bill GatesMark Zuckerberg
Tomohiro Nishikado: The invader.

When Taito saw the prototype (of Space Invaders), they said, 
"You can't shoot people! And you must create the image of war".
So I changed the characters into monsters. 
At the time, I was trying what the focus would be,
and had heard of a sci-fi movie being produced in America called Star Wars.
I thought a space fad might be on the way and decided to focus on aliens.
And that's how the monsters became the invaders that are known today.
— Tomohiro Nishikado

Tomohiro Nishikado is the legendary Japanese video game developer who rocked the world of personal entertainment with Space Invaders back in 1978. My generation remembers the addiction we got in our childhood with these evil alien monsters...I created a mosaic portrait for Mr. Space Invader using a large collection of space invader graphics, all of them original even if I have included some from later versions of the game. I wanted to limit the color set to 7 original colors in order to be as close as possible to the real atmosphere of the game.
Some details of the mosaic portrait including the original cannon:
Mosaic portrait by Charis Tsevis.
Based on 2 photos by Peter Brooker, REX Features.
Video Games graphics by Tomohiro Nishikado, various developers and artists.
Bill Gates: The Windows 1.0 portrait

I have never been and I am still not a Bill Gates fan. I respect his charity work and I admire him as a business man. I believe he had invented a brilliant business model for the first software company but at the same time I believe that he kept the tech world behind because of the mediocre aesthetics and the "me too" (or is it just copycat) culture.
Still Bill Gates is a very interesting subject if you decide to study his face and expression. He is keeping a hidden smile that makes me sure that he is an extremely smart person. Probably not my type but for sure a good object of study.

This is the first mosaic portrait I created. I have used just the set of icons of the very first (1.0) and unpopular version of Microsoft Windows. This set is so badly designed that becomes interesting.
Some details of the mosaic portrait.
Mosaic portrait by Charis Tsevis.
Based on a photo provided by DK books.
Icons from Microsoft Windows 1.0.
Bill Gates: The Windows portrait
Hiring Susan Kare, the designer of the first Mac OS was a huge step for Microsoft Windows. I have used the 2.0, 3.0, 95 and NT icons for this version. I really think the expression of Gates is timeless.
Some details of the mosaic portrait:
Mosaic portrait by Charis Tsevis
Photo by Dino Vournas/Reuters/Corbis
Icons by Susan Kare and other Microsoft designers.
Grace Hopper: The gifted mathematician and pioneer.

We're flooding people with information. 
We need to feed it through a processor. 
A human must turn information into intelligence or knowledge.
We've tended to forget that no computer will ever ask a new question.
Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper has been a legend. First woman programmer of the Harvard Mark I, a pioneering computer based in Harvard University. But what Hopper is famous of is the first compiler. She developed the first tools that made programming to pass in a more easy era.
I know I had to deal with code but mostly with pure mathematics for the Grace Hopper mosaic. I have surpassed the idea of Courier or any other fixed width typeface because I wanted to create something more heavy and powerful. Grace wasn't just any programmer. She deserved the multi awarded PF Centro Pro designed by my dear friend Panos Vassiliou of Parachute Fonts.
Some details of the mosaic portrait:
Mosaic portrait by Charis Tsevis
Photo by AP/Press Association Images
Typeface by Panos Vassiliou, Parachute Fonts
Cynthia Breazeal: The Robots whisperer

Robots have been into the deepest oceans. They've been to Mars.
They're just starting to come into your home. 
You could think of your living room as their Final Frontier.
Cynthia Breazeal

Cynthia Breazeal is a pioneer in Social Robotics and Human Robots interaction. She is leading the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab. 
The idea of hardware parts came natural to me while staring at Cynthia's work. I wanted to assembly simple elements and gave them life like her. The magenta background was another easy choice. For a children book trying to promote some role models I thought it would be a good idea to connect this portrait with the feminine side of Cynthia and her robot Kismet. Cynthia created Kismet during her studies in the early 90s.
Some details of the portrait:
Mosaic portrait by Charis Tsevis
Photo by Sam Ogden, Science Photo Library
Hardware photos by various photographers.
Mark Zuckerberg: The international portrait

Once every 100 years, media changes. 
The last 100 years have been defined by the mass media.
In the next 100 years, information won't be just pushed out to people: 
it will be shared among the millions of connections people have.
— Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg is the hottest person in IT and media of our times. The Social Network movie helped the masses become more familiar with his character even if art does not always represent the truth.
My art tried to represent the global language of Mark's Facebook. Icons and words are used as stars or planets in a clear night sky, forming something like a social galaxy.
The original file of this illustration is huge ( and this is why I always like to navigate through it with ZoomIt
Some details of the mosaic:
Mosaic portrait by Charis Tsevis
Photo by Francois G. Durand.
Icons and interface elements by Facebook.
Sir Clive Sinclair: The PC pioneer

The idea that an inventor can come up with some brilliant idea and somebody else will make it happen is nonsense. It the idea is good enough, it's going to appear pretty crazy to almost everybody. Either you do it yourself or it ain't going to happen. 
— Clive Sinclair

The first personal computer ever made it to our family house was a ZX80 that my father bought. I still have this beauty in my collection. Clive Sinclair has been a pioneer in electronics long before computers. His calculators were so powerful and yet so affordable. 
Since I was very young I was particularly fascinated from the Sinclair computer keyboards. They were probably the most beautiful industrial design outside the Apple universe. So all these nice keys would be my brush strokes for this portrait.
Some details from the mosaic:
Mosaic portrait by Charis Tsevis.
Photo by Central Press / Getty Images
Industrial design by various designers and Sinclair Research Ltd
The Book 
All quotes from the book.
You can read more about it here and buy it here.
Many thanks to Smiljka Surla and everyone at Dorling Kindesley and Penguin Books in the UK.

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