Retro people: a family of mid-century inspired characters

Across the site I've used characters inspired by mid-century illustrators and artists. Here I bring together these different characters, and share a little of the history of how they came about.

Where it started: Jim Flora

A chance image in a book on mid-century design set the ball rolling. Jim Flora's work struck me as particularly appealing, with its deceptively simple lines and bold outlines. My first effort was, to be honest, little more than a copy across.

Illustration of a woman holding a basket in the style of Jim Flora
My original (unoriginal) character

As I played with different ideas and took inspiration from other illustrators, my "style" started to appear.

Sally and Karl

The first two characters were created for an oddball Valentine's match. Sally, the refined and elegant model and Karl, the less-than-tidy middle aged bloke.

Carlos, Moesha and Bazza

Somewhat belatedly I considered launching a series of NFTs. These three characters were to be the vanguard, testing the waters so I could see what worked - and didn't. They're designed to work with an image generator engine coded in PHP, which could produce more than 1,200 combinations for each character.

The self-portraits

Carlos was based on a rough sketch I had for a self-portrait. When I put this site together, I decided to use that sketch to create the self-portraits that used to be dotted around the site.

Along comes Nina

I wrote a couple of articles on Influencers, one about content theft, and the other pointing to the huge supporting cast behind the "I did this on my own" posts. Nina was a character tucked away in the background, and I brought her into service as the "star" for my influencer posts.

More to follow?

Every few weeks I'll create a new character just to keep my hand in. Most are bare bones, ready to be called into service the way Nina was. Others get fleshed out. These are few from the latter camp.

Illustration of a city gent in a suit running along with money flowing out of his hands
Nigel, the city gent, in happier times.
Illustration of a city gent looking depressed for losing all his money
Nigel not looking so happy (this might have been a comment on my NFT excursion)
Illustration of an Indian woman in a saree
Illustration of an Indian woman in a saree riding on the back of a motorcycle driven by a portly Indian gent with a balding head
Rekha and Raj

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction. Find out more.