Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs || an illustrated/designed short story

Print/Photoshop/InDesign

Our assignment was to create a bound book using both text and imagery that matches and enhances the content of the book that you choose or create. For this project, I chose Leonard Richardson's short story, "Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs," an awesome story indeed about motocross-riding dinosaurs from Mars. I used this as an exercise in visual storytelling in conjunction with prose, both in terms of design and layout as well as actual illustration.

These are some of my initial thoughts and sketches on the grid I would use, page size, and layout. I settled on a square layout, as I felt that a standard portrait-sized book would feel a little too conventional for a story about dinosaurs from Mars, but that a landscape size would be too cumbersome to flip through for something that is not predominantly 'cinematic'. I used a single, simple manuscript grid with two columns and three rows so that I could shift content in a consistent and organized manner according to what changes i wanted to make to the text. With these decisions in mind, I started working on my first version of the layout, using quick sketches as stand-ins for my final illustrations. Here are some selected pages:

I focused strongly on the way the content was organized alongside the images and in general. For example, I tried to have the different chunks of the story end on one page so that the next would start on the next page, allowing the reader a natural pause to bring their eyes back up to the top of the page or turn the page over, so as the story skips over a period of time, the reader experiences it as well. However, some parts remained greatly under-formatted, such as the pages introducing the "Destructoraptor", containing largely unformatted chunks of capitalized text from a narrator, making the spread look both harder and more uninteresting to read, as well as looking very amateur. In my next iteration, I worked on integrating the images and the text more, having images be immersive, full-page works with the text arranged over it, or having text wrapping. I also tried to make the written content more visual as well, such as taking the capitalized shouting quotes about the Destructoraptor and actually enlargening them visually for emphasis. I also made other changes, such as adding the smallcaps to denote a new chunk of the story and making the page numbers less distracting by making them smaller. Here are some of the final spreads:

I formatted the interview such that it would be easier to read the content without the names of the person/dinosaur speaking creating a rag that causes the eye to search for where the dialogue starts.

This spread caused me the most trouble... I tried to keep it aligned, organized, and formatted, but in the end I still don't think there is enough white space. The quotes might also be excessive--having so many of them might diminish their impact, but I wanted some sort of special punch for the Destructoraptor's introduction, and needed to keep the formatting of it consistent so as not to cause confusion about the formatting and hierarchy. In the end, this page is a compromise.

An example of how the images and text were combined. I wanted to illustrate what it looked and felt like from Tark's point of view as he began to pass out/wake up, in silhouette, since he is losing/regaining his comprehension.

I wanted this page to have a huge 'wow' factor with the illustration and layout, as I feel it is a very important moment in the story, the first moment where the point of the story becomes starkly clear, with the large text quote supporting the image's purpose. I also paid a lot of attention to the cover, as it would be the 'hook' of my story.

My audience, I figured, would probably be guys in their teen or college years, so I focused heavily on the "DINOSAURS ON MOTORCYCLES" aspect with some 'radical' lens flare to make it appropriately cool. For the title, I knew that the title was an alternative based on another book, titled Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, with even older origins, so I made the first segment of the title as "prim and proper" as its origins make it appear, then adding a more stylized broken text to show the difference. "Awesome Dinosaurs" also happens to be larger, bolder, and more attention grabbing which, combined with the image, makes for a good hook.

(To see all the illustrations and more photos of the final book, or to read the illustrated story in full, please see the posts here.)

Tea-Riffic || interactive coffee shop design

Spring 2013

Created by Russel Andrews, Lisa Imas, and Susan Wang.

Retired (Obsolete)

July 2012, digital.

Inspired by Caravan Palace's "Cotton Heads".

VIA || a mobile app for the mobile person

Spring 2013

A mobile app for the mobile worker, aimed to help them find the things they need on the go!

To try out the HTML prototype, click here.

Come On and Slam

December 2012, digital.

An illustration of the Barkley, Shut Up And Jam series of video games.

The Shut-In Clock || a mini-game

Fall 2012

Created with Processing and a massive lack of sleep. Playable here.

The Naked Truth || MOSAIC gender conference poster

Print/Photoshop/Illustrator

I was asked to create the poster to advertise MOSAIC's 2013 gender conference called The Naked Truth focusing on taking a revealing look at sex, gender, and sexuality through a variety of discussions, each offering the hard-hitting truth about social and cultural realities. Specifically, I was asked to do this in my constructivist soviet propaganda style, something I've established in my other posters and illustrations. I started out with a series of thumbnails to explore various concepts and ideas for what to do with the poster.

I personally was leaning towards either the the top design on the first image, or the left design on the second image. The committee decided they liked the left design on the second image the most, though, so I began working with that one. I wanted this to be like the Lenin photocollage propaganda posters, mixing clear and simple design with photography. This is double because these propaganda posters were great for communicating to the audience, getting across a clear message, and more or less advertising Lenin's greatness to the population. I wanted the same thing (with less regime) to garner interest and attention to the event. My first iteration of the final design was close to the final.

I was unpleased with the bottom text and how it broke the flow and rhythm that the entire piece had going for it. I originally thought there was no space to possibly curve them to the rest of the piece, and compromised. However, the committee returned to me with minor adjustments that they wanted (i.e. different hair, no gender symbol, less feminine figure), and I decided to fix these problems while I was at it. In the final piece (shown at the top of the page) ,I not only adjusted the text to curve with the rest of the text and the entire piece, but also made the text formatting and hierarchy more consistent.

Tithe

January 2012, digital.

Depersonalization, part 1

October 2011. Gouache on paper.

Rubicon

June 2013. Digital.

Inspired by VNV Nation's "Rubicon" and Rebuild of Evangelion 3.0

la Vida sigue fluir

July 2013. Digital.

Widowed

October 2012. Digital.

Depersonalization, part 2

February 2012. Digital.

Wraith

July 2012. Digital.

Deluxury

August 2012. Digital.

An illustration of a typical propaganda poster found in Detroit Deluxe from the Motorcity TV show.

The Katana Segway

July 2013. Digital.

Created for the first issue of Smosh magazine!

Nanites

February 2012. Digital.