Power Publication: Illustrations

I and another Illustration student were grouped together with three Graphic Designs students. Our mission was to make a publication of some sort, based on our research based on power structures. One major influence was the Disobedient Objects exhibition at V&A, which had DIY instructions, Squatters handbooks and more. We decided to do a pamphlet with a cover and spine, which would enable it to be part of a Library collection. The text and design was inspired by hacking, the idea of showing power structures/relationships and inspiring the reader to act.

These are some early spread sketches I made when we still hadn’t figured out how we should mix text and images. I was inspired to be more creative and hacking our own disciplinary boundaries (baseline, grid, limited colouring, pixilation, stuff like that), but we eventually toned down on that idea.

Since my essay focused on gender hacking by contemporary artists, I went back to last year sketches and earlier works. I made these illustrations before I realized that they needed to be cut back. I think maybe only one or two of these made it to the final book, without the accent colour. Maybe I will return to them and rework them as stickers? Or maybe I can use them for an actual poster/flyer?

Editorials: Part 2

The second article was an essay about social media addiction. It was written by a first-time father who realized that he spent more time online than with his wife and newborn. Sine I to is addicted to social media since I moved to London; I really wanted to make this story justice. I spent some time writing down everything I thought was interesting and then analyze it. I wanted the final piece to show the authors doubt on his fatherhood, existential anxiety and the digital comfort.

I tried out different ideas, like profile photos hanging out in a lounge bar, hiding a tablet behind a children's book or even to homage Orthodox icons. However, I decided to go with the male in a foetus position, connected with a tablet through a symbolic cord. It expressed the themes of the essay and also put an emphasis on the newborn. It was then time for colour schemes!

I decided to do the elements separately and then combine them digitally. The figure was painted with acrylics on a cardboard to prevent buckling paper. I wanted a minimalistic character that stood out and was easy to read. I also added scars that hinted on past mastectomy surgery, but only for those who know where to look.


I felt that the original colour scheme did not work, so I changed it to better fit my earlier sketches. I also did some digital retouches so the background sphere would be a bit more translucent. I really like the outcome, but I kind of want to repaint it digitally and play more with the background.

Editorials: Part 1

Second year started with two editorial illustrations. The first article was about the different living conditions of USA’s richest and poorest. It was heavy on the statistics, but the summary was a bit weak and I had to re-read it several times until I got it. Anyway, we started off with sketching and experimenting with materials and texture. The idea was to make collages that we could improve upon.


Because the article was so focused on statistics, I kind of wanted to use them to create geometric shapes, cityscapes, or skyline. However, the infographic theme in the first collage was hard to read and most classmates thought they were shark fins.

I and my tutor thought this piece has most potential. Sitting on a shadow’s edge felt like a fitting metaphor for the lower classes’ situation, and it also suited the tone of the article.

I really, really like this guy! He is inspired by Paul Coker, an illustrator most famous for his contributions to Mad Magazine. His main problem was that he did not strike the right tone: He was just too funny for the subject.

The article used the word adrift in such a way that I immediately thought about Huckleberry Finn. I imagined people from the lower classes steering an unsteady raft on a sea of debt.


It was a close tie between the second and fourth collage. It was first when I did some colour thumbnails that I chose the second collage. I also chose to work with warm and cold colours and put some efforts to make the shadow and figure a bit transparent. I wanted to add extra uncertainty to the final piece.

I really like the contrast between colours, use of gradients and shapes. I just wish I added more people in the shadow to underline that this is a structural and not a personal problem. I also wonder how it would look like if it would look better if I added a skyline or not