Iconize Me will create a hand-drawn caricature of a picture that you supply to them, for $15. See samples here.
Iconize Me is the creation of Paul Sahner and Shalimar Luis and is based in New York.
The service was launched two years ago, but was re-launched recently. They use Adobe Illustrator to draw and color, Adobe Photoshop so make JPEGs and GIFs, and IconFactory IconBuilder Pro to make the icons. In their FAQs they state that they’ve created over 1,200 icons.
No real technology here, but the design is very, very good. The results are fun to view and the price is right. In fact, the price might be too low. The service seems to be in a perpetual backlog – every time I’ve checked they are not taking any additional orders.
The concept behind Iconize Me! is pretty simple: After sending DV Graphics an order and a photo of yourself, we start off on creating a custom caricature of you (or friend, or relative) based on the photo. The end result is then sent off to you as an icon file (for use on the computer), a GIF file (for use on the internet) and you also have the option of ordering fantastic, high-quality JPEG and PDF files.
Using a fairly basic hand drawing and coloring technique that we call Digital Ink, we are able to provide you with an amazingly high-quality portrait. Every inch of every icon is hand drawn and hand colored in vector format. It’s as if you were sitting in front of us and we created your portrait on the spot using natural tools. Unlike our old system, we don’t use the paint bucket tool to simply fill in vast areas of color, using tints and shades. Each color now is mixed and created for each individual spot. We do the best we can to replicate real-life drawing.
You can pay an additional fee for high res jpeg and vector pdf files of the caricature.
There is a sister service called Vectorize Me that costs a little more – $35 – and creates a full “portrait” based on the picture you supply them. Portraits are delivered as vector files, which are endlessly enlargeable without pixelization and can therefore be blown up to any desired size.
JD Lasica blogged about Iconize Me way back in 2003. Dan Costa wrote about them more recently.