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DeTorres-Carl-USOpen09

(Above, an illustration by DeTorres for a Tokyo theatre festival.)

Carl DeTorres plays ping pong a lot. At least, that’s what he answers after being asked to talk about his tennis experience. It might be safe to say the guy is a little green when it comes to the sport of racquet and net, but that didn’t stop him from rolling out two eye-catching illustrations (one seen via the link) for the U.S. Open issue of Tennis magazine.

The San Francisco-based DeTorres has actually played tennis twice in his life, and says when he got the opportunity to do work for the mag, he studied up on the game he knew so little about. Surprisingly, it was the color of the court that got this illustrator’s utmost attention.

“The blue tennis court fascinated me – I’ve never seen that before,” he told TSF in a phone interview. “I never knew that there was clay and grass and all that. I had no idea!” 

Wait until he sees the purple courts in Miami, huh? And let’s not even tell the guy about the mutli-colored things they play on in WTT, right?

After the color, then came the heads. The heads of the fans, that is. DeTorres was mesmerized by their mesmerization. 

“They all move in perfect unison, it’s pretty cool,” DeTorres, 32, explains. “Back and forth, back and forth.”

DeTorres used that image for his illustration, his first work for a sports magazine. As senior art director for Wired, DeTorres does a lot of illustrating with his art team on stories that don’t necessary have the pop and flash that a U.S. Open-preview image would, which is what excited the illustrator about the challenge.

Asked who in tennis he might want to do an illustration of, DeTorres said he’d like to nab an up-and-comer, someone who “hasn’t been branded yet.” 

Much of his work for Wired is done with his in-house art team, and a few years ago they got so many inquiries about the mag’s uncredited illustrations that they came up with a pseudonym to please their growing fan base.

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“We thought it would be funny to create this fake name,” DeTorres recalls. “It signified the work that I had done as art director and our art team had done as a whole. We called ourselves the Department for Information Design at Copenhagen.”

The team even created a web site (linked above) for the DFIDAC. And as DeTorres puts notes, it “quite possibly might be the longest URL in history.”

(images courtesy of Carl DeTorres)

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