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The Artwork of SEO Boy: From Idea to Villain, Dr. Schwarzerhut Comes Alive

December 17th, 2008 | | SEO Boy

If I were pressed to choose my favorite part of the SEO Boy blog, it would have to be the artwork. The content is great and all, but I love using the artwork to give readers a peak into our quirky personalities from ‘behind the scenes.’ Of course, the artistic journey began with PPC Hero. But when it came time to launch this blog, we had to give new life to an old character (SEO Boy himself), and create a new villain. Thanks to some very creative input from my co-workers and the writing staff, Dr. Schwarzerhut (s-vart-sur-hoot) was born. Today I’d like to give you insight into the process we go through when developing the illustrations that grace these pages by walking you through the creation of Dr. Schwarzerhut.

It all started with an email from Eric. Somewhere along the line, he learned that schwarzer hut was German for black hat. Once again, otherwise useless trivia saves the day! When considering an SEO villain, what better moniker than black hat, right? Soon thereafter, Joe and I sat down and brainstormed on what this evil dude should look like. Instantly, both of us envisioned an ancient evil genius. My thoughts leaned towards a doctor. Joe wanted an evil Mad Hatter. Either way, he needed to be old, look crazy evil and wear a black hat. Since we work with an artist who lives out of town, we have to communicate our ideas very well. At this stage, Joe and I wrote out our ideas and also passed along these images for inspiration:

The first step after submitting an idea to our artist is receiving back a pencil drawing. This allows us to provide feedback before it gets to the inking stage. Here’s Schwarzerhut version 1:

Dr. Schwarzerhut Pencil #1

Oh so close! We actually got quite a chuckle out of this one. My first thought was, “Oh my God, our villain is the Planter’s Peanut!” Was I wrong?

At this stage, we decided it was prudent to point out the peanut catastrophe and try to find a workable solution. The awkward Dr.’s smock seemed unappealing and the gut had to go. Additionally, we felt that the monocle was distracting. We responded to our artist by asking for a suit, a slimmer waist line and no monocle.

Dr. Schwarzerhut Pencil #2

Now that’s more like it! Our artist added his own touches with a glass eye (on the left), and a fantastic suit with an S tie. Only thing left to do is give it some color!

Dr. Schwarzerhut Final Version

And after a few fun weeks of brainstorming and working with our artist, the perfect SEO villain was born. Wherever there are deceitful cloaking strategies being made, unscrupulous links being purchased and keyword stuffed text being hidden on a page – Dr. Schwarzerhut was the likely culprit! Thankfully, SEO Boy is here to save the day. Do I have a fun job, or what?

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