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Minimalist Illustrations of Notable Headpieces Worn by Pop Culture Icons


Beginning life as an experiment, illustrator & designer Miguel Camilo’s series of comic book and pop icons in their notable headgear, grew up into a full blown series. The idea was born after he revisited the films The Rocketeer and Dick Tracy, in turn, inspiring him to recreate the Dick Tracy marketing campaign from the movie.

His fixation on headgear came as he began to appreciate the great design of Rocketeer’s helmet. This led to the exploration of other well-known comic characters, and the design of their particular headpieces, i.e. Tracy’s yellow fedora and Cliff’s Art Deco inspired helmet.

Miguel helped us get our heads around all this gear:

The Plus: How long does it typically take you to complete each image?
Miguel Camilo:
It depends. I tried to set up a “head template” for most human characters, but that proved helpful only in certain cases like with Mario and Link. Now I start many of the illustrations completely from scratch. Those can take several hours. Some have taken a couple days to complete; some have taken weeks, but not all in one sitting.
However in some cases, like with Radical Skate Guardian X, that took about 30 minutes. 20-30 minutes is probably the shortest amount of time a single illustration has ever taken.

TP: Why did you limit yourself to a muted 9-colour palette?
As the series went on, I thought it would be much more challenging to limit myself to a 9-color palette for all the characters, with no exceptions. So “violet” would also be navy blue but also dark grey, and orange would also be red, depending on the circumstance, and so on.
The palette is off-white, peach, red/orange, golden yellow, light blue-grey, dark teal, violet, brown, dark green.


TP: Do you have a favourite among all those icons?
That’s a really tough call! I suppose I have a few. The first two are up there (Tracy and Rocketeer). I really dig those. If I really had to pick one, I’d have to say Speed Racer. The checked background, the ascot, the visor. It’s so simple but all the elements are in place to make him immediately recognizable and I think the colour balance is pretty eye catching.

TP: Are there any characters you would like to add if you have chance?
Most notably, there is an absence of female characters in the series but that was not by design or intention. Some that I planned and started to do but never got around to complete for one reason or another, were Samus from Metroid, Wonder Woman, and Princess Peach from Mario Bros. There’s still plenty more I haven’t mentioned but I’ll keep those secret for now.


TP: What are you working on now?
I’m a freelance illustrative designer, so I’m usually working on something to that end. I’ve found that pop culture illustration can get you a lot of buzz on the internet, which I’m very grateful for, but I’d also like to put stuff out there that’s totally created by me. I still love superheroes, cartoons, films, and video games and I’m sure some of my future work will still incorporate some of that.


See more of Miguel’s work.