Just when everyone thought that Association Football couldn’t get any bigger in the US, in comes the Indy Eleven, Indianapolis’ first professional soccer team. Indy Eleven joined the ranks of storied Indiana sports franchises this past summer, and my, has it caused a raucous. Soccer fever is at its all-time high in the Hoosier state, thanks in large part to the organization’s aggressive PR and the city’s small, yet ferocious band of die-hard soccer supporters. Believe it or not, the team has already gained a huge following even before its first kickoff (they start their season with the NASL in April of 2014), sending a message to the sports world that “The Beautiful Game” has officially found a home in Indiana.
Being a fan of the sport myself, I was fortunate enough to be approached by Indy Eleven to do some illustration work for them. They wanted to add another layer to their campaign, and to offer fans a unique dimension of their brand. One of my first assignments was to produce one for their first head coach, Juergen Sommer. The instructions were simple: create an illustration of Mr. Sommer alongside text that features highlights of his career that will be used for autograph sessions.
A few weeks ago, I received another assignment similar to the first one. But this time, it was for the club’s first official player, German native Kristian Nicht. To start things off, the client sent me several photos of Mr. Nicht for me to examine and use as reference.
Kristian is a goalkeeper, and athletes that play that position are usually taller and have wider wingspans. I chose an angle and pose that highlighted his imposing figure.
In the photos that were sent, Kristian had 2 hairstyles: a faux hawk and a mohawk. I asked the client what their preference was on which hairstyle to use, since I wasn’t exactly sure which of the two he currently has on. Regardless, I expressed that we should go for the mohawk, since it adds an intimidating, yet cool element to his character’s look. With input from Kristian’s agent and Kristian himself, we decided to go for the mohawk. The client also asked that I give him a goalkeeper’s uniform, along with the corporate sponsors’ logos and the official NASL football.