Tom Whalen in a poster
- 3 weeks
- Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Figma
- 19.25 inches x 31.75 inches
Exploring Designers to study
Picking two designers to research in-depth: After looking through several pages of designers and their work, these two illustrators caught my eye for their interesting vector graphic styles and relatable content.
Initial Pages (Quote, Portrait, Artifact)
Studying and Analyzing the Designer's work
Consolidated work from his website, news articles, google
Selected the most distinctive from different categories including diff medias
Left: Posters (some series, some individual with similar styles)
Right: Other Media (Pins, toys, branding, shirts) & Info Design (Spreads) w icons
Developing Moodboards (Print vs Other Media)
Researching the Designer
~1500 word Biography (Link to full paper)
Creating 11 sketches of potential avenues to pursue with the poster design
Requirements: Body copy text, timeline, portrait of designer, images of their work
Creating Initial Posters
Poster 1 Process Images
Jon & Leigh Hicks
Graphic Design, Iconography, UX Design
"We are most known for our logo work for Firefox, MailChimp and Shopify, but our skills cover a much broader spectrum of services and mediums. We prefer to call ourselves simply Graphic Designers, as that encompasses everything we enjoy doing. As well as our digital skills, we still enjoy the buzz of making something physical, whether it's with ink, paint or clay."
"I really try to keep it simple as possible. Not to over-complicate it, or get bogged down worrying about fashion, but hopefully still have enough personality to avoid being bland."
"I call it practising ‘input and output’. Digest as much as you can and from different disciplines; books, articles, YouTube videos, podcasts or viewing source on webpages. Keep a scrapbook of all the interesting things you see. Trace artwork you like and work out how it was put together. Then output it: write about what you find or have learned about and experiment. This process will improve you as a designer."
Vector Illustrator, Graphic Designer
"What I really loved seeing were the variations and colorways next to each other, and seeing those come to life during the process. Usually, it’s about the end result, and that's where I normally get my satisfaction. But seeing the piece completed and knowing what the watch took from the box art to become a watch was something else. Having to add and subtract to then learn where art should be, or shouldn't be, and where imagery should land so that it all comes together to create a piece that looks really cool, was a process."
"countless sunday afternoons were spent sitting next to that squeaky old spinner rack of comics in my grandmother's candy store. i loved the stories, but it was the art that stuck with me. armed with well-worn issues of character guides like "who's who in the dc universe"and "the official handbook of the marvel universe", it was sometime around sixth grade when i started to take drawing seriously. multiple trapper keepers full of my own character designs would follow. an 11"x17" drawing pad and a pencil were staples of my high school existence. a few thousand drawings (give or take) later, my own style started to emerge. now, nearly 20 years later, i relish the opportunity to mesh my passion for design and love of illustration for clients like disney, marvel, the beatles and target."
Creating Initial Posters
Poster 2 Process Images
Posters Day 1 Critique
Posters Day 2 Critique
Changes/ Decisions Made
Changed compositions of the images, made some of them vertically larger to break out o the strict horizontal row grid
Made "Tom Whalen" more dynamic, moving to the top and extending the letters downwards to sit behind the city, masked with the grid behind the letters
Drew in miniature cities for inside each of the letters - appear like a story inside the counters
Drew planets and clouds that flow off the page, breaking the boundaries of the box, match the gradient with the color scheme
Experimented with wrapping the quote around the curve on the bottom of the page
Integrated quote into the body of text instead
Drew in more buildings for the bottom of the poster to replace the location of the quote
Shortened body copy text to increase the type size and change it from a condensed typeface to normal for readability purposes
Photoshopped some of the images to have solid backgrounds and increase resolution
Posters Day 3 Critique
Changes/ Decisions Made
Reduced the body copy by half, increased type size, made it left aligned instead of justified to increase legibility and fixed the rag. Changed the quote to medium weight to decrease contrast between bold and light.
Experimented with removing objects that go out of the grid, decreasing the sizes of those objects to decrease the disorganized chaos- not take away from the geometric form, changed the colors to match better
Moved the vector art downwards to show more of the letters in "Tom"
Reduced the amount of graphics within the letters to minimize confusion
Increased resolution of images/ switched out some of the blurry ones
Tom Whalen in a 16 page booklet
- 3 weeks
- Adobe InDesign, Figma
- 16 page booklet, Each Page: 8.25 x 10.5 inches
Day 1: Sketching
Top Left: Experimented with collaging round shapes with his work and contrasting colors in each of the shapes.
Bottom Left: Experimenting with city and rigid shapes including parallelograms and squares, heavy contrast
Top Right: Experimenting with different schemes for every page- using inspiration from the specific pieces of work
Bottom Left: Space, circular orb themed, where each circle contains a different work, use a triangle grid to create shapes
Thumbnails of my sketches
Day 2: Categorizing Information & Choosing Spreads
Day 3: Booklet Rough Sketches
Initial Iterations 1: Blocking images with solid shapes
Iterations 2: After Feedback
simplified cover to contrast detailed inside, removed all the objects, blow up the one cityscape, incorporated timeline of clients in the center, need to find a better way to incorporate top and bottom of city
Space orb theme, have text curve around the work it corresponds to, integrate page numbers into the circles
Made this page simpler by making all the text horizontal instead of facing different directions, made the shapes have 90 degree angles, incorporate quote in top left
Inserted work according to color gradient, have inspirations across the page, each of the 3 boxes discusses a different influence
Incorporate quote into the images of the work on the left. The only page with text written out. Wanted to have a page that doesn't have crossover between spreads
Use parallelograms to separate categories of work to refer to in the timeline
Iterations 3: Inserting images, editing spreads, After Feedback, inserting body copy
Removed the top city to simplify the cover, tried incorporating a drop quote, changed the client timeline to the ToC instead so that it makes more logical sense
Inside back and Inside front should parallel each other, one light mode one in dark colors. Made 2 versions with one including circles of solid color in the background to cluster objects
Inserted work that corresponds with the text for each section of the timeline, added triangles to the background to highlight the shapes and cluster sections together
Design Style: Experimenting with text and image colors (splitting image in half) and adding bright circles as light
Inspirations: Changed background colors, size of text and rag
Inserted work on the left side, created a grid for the caption system in the bottom left, wrote quote using colors from the work. Two iterations- one has text in white with white lines in between the work
3 versions one with grid, one with outline and solid color, and one with split color. Leaning towards grid one since the pullouts can be in the color of the work
Iterations 4: After Studio Feedback Revisions & Moving to InDesign
Redid the cover going back to a previous version
Removed the quote since it doesn't seem like a cover
Scaled down the letters, moved "Tom Whalen" to be on the front cover so it doesn't read Whalen before Tom
Experimented with different placement and sizes of the letters,
Drew another city for the top that fades from red to orange to complement the bottom cityscape
Moved all of the text to InDesign to properly curve along the circular shapes
Shifted the constellations and companies text to not overlap with the center gutters
Fixed page numbers inside the circles
Changed background color to better match the other page
Shifted text to not overlap with center gutter
Experimented with triangle shapes in the background
Reduced the size of the text in InDesign
Fixed rag on text
Made the quote much larger (same size as the next page) and take up more space
Minor changes in placement of title along line
Redrew line in Indesign to prevent being fuzzy
Fixed rag on text
Added more circles for the background
Page numbers and folios in white
Decided on this shapes gridded background version over the others for consistency and because of the heavy contrast between the two different colored ones and the outline appearance of the other version
Decreased size of headings and text when inserted into Indesign
Fixed placement of text boxes and lines to avoid overlap with the center gutter
Added smaller shapes around the larger blob to make the page less center heavy
Decreased size of text to match the other pages in InDesign
Changed the text back to left aligned for consistency and breathing room
Moved the dates from the center gutter
Made the diagonal colors in the text boxes line up with other images around it
Changed captioning system to take up 4 boxes rather than half of 2 boxes so that it is more easily visible
For the future, incorporate other designers work into some of the boxes and reduce the size of the text in captioning system
Edited the colors of the quote (chose version 2 that has lines in between the boxes) so that I can make the quote the same cream color as the background and blend in
Removed page numbers/ folios and added copyright in the bottom right corner (might be too small?)
Shifted timeline so that the constellations don't overlap with the center gutter
Added portrait of Tom Whalen to the back inside cover so that it appears like the "story is ending"
Chose version with colored circles in the background to increase visual interest versus plain version
Iterations on the Front/ Back Cover
Initially too crowded, too much going on with the background grid and the multiple buildings so reduced the illustration to only 2 cityscapes on the bottom and top
Large space in the middle so included a timeline with Tom Whalen's clientele
The list of clients doesn't belong on the front cover so removed it and drew more of the illustration on the bottom o it takes up 3/4th of the page.
Moved "Tom Whalen" to be sitting on top of the buildings to better integrate with the illustration
Added a quote to fill in the space on the top of the front cover using different weights and colors
Increased contrast between the background and the illustration
Decreased some of the styles in the text
Chose a blue to orange gradient for the text
Feedback that the quote is out of place, doesn't belong on front cover, and too much going on
Best Iterations for the cover
Iterations 5: After Studio Feedback Revisions
Captioning System Iterations
Need to increase the size of the box- maybe expand to take up the bottom 6 modules
Don't combine similar work with a series of letters, make separate lines for each letter
Increased size of box to work with the grid
Increased size of text, separated work
Added more letters
Added other designers' work not Dave Perillo
Added more letters and decreased font size (since the number of lines doubled since designer name is labeled)
Changed colors of the diagram to match the work
Final panel, shifted to fill the ending an used space at beginning to add title
Cut out bottom modules from the diagram
Changed subheads to not all caps
Increased size of quote
Shifted some of the paragraphs
Decreased the size of the subheadings when they are capitalized
Added images from other designers so it is not just 1 other designer's work
3 versions of the impact spread one that emphasizes the quote rather than the header
Also experimented with adding some colored shapes to complement the background since the space seems too empty
Similar modular grid applied throughout the pages with consistent margins
Tom Whalen Mobile Experience
- 3 weeks
- Figma Prototyping
Rough outline of what pages will be navigated to on the app
Home page wireframes
Every page wireframes
Intermediate Iterations of each page
Final Page Designs & Prototyping
After finalizing my prototype, and getting feedback during lab, I screen recorded by the prototype on Figma, and moved into After Effects to draw and animate the background scene behind the phone to make the final video more engaging. Each object had to be individually animated to move in the background after I masked out the video in the shape of the phone outline.
Video of Final App Prototype
Tom Whalen Animation
- 3 weeks
- Figma, AfterEffects
- 1920 x 1080 pixels, 1-2 minutes long
Day 1: Listening to Audio
I began by listening to several of Tom Whalen's interviews, including podcasts and drawing videos. After compiling my favorite audio pieces, I thought about what story I wanted to portray with my animation. Since I've already created many pieces on his biography and life, I wanted to try something different where I capture his unique style and technique in the animation. Since he is a vector illustrator, the bulk of his work is done in Adobe Illustrator. One of the videos details him walking through drawing one of this pieces, which would be interesting to create a storyline along. I also hope to incorporate the bulk of work he has done through his career into the animation.
These are the top 4 videos I listened to for audio and hope to incorporate pieces from.
Picking Audio & Noting Scenes
This audio piece has the most relevant information for the storyline I mentioned about his drawing process using Illustrator. The audio is also fairly clear and in the video, there are some nice snippets of when he is actually editing his work in real time in Adobe Illustrator which would be interesting to incorporate.
The audio includes Tom Whalen demonstrating his process for his Robocop drawing and I found some scenes from the video nice to include from the animation. I screenshotted some of them for future reference and for time stamps.
12 minutes long- need to also clean audio
Day 2: Transcribing Audio and Narrowing Script
The original audio is quite long- 12 minutes. I began with transcribing the audio to create a script
STEP 1: Get 5 second interval transcript from Youtube, Paste into Google Sheets, Use a formula to merge alternate rows together, Then use formula to merge all the lines together vertically
STEP 2: Initial transcript of the recording, I bolded all the quotes that I think were useful for my video
STEP 3: Separated only the useful parts of the transcript, its much shorter now, narrowing the text
STEP 4: Categorized the script by the content (no longer chronological) into Intro, Process, Conclusion, Background/ biography. Ordered the script into the sections I want to discuss. Red = times in the audio that have relevant videos
STEP 5: Narrowed down the script to 1 page, including only the relevant information for the process animation
STEP 6: reordered and categorized the quotes into multiple sections for the animation
Creating an initial storyboard
Bright colors, vector illustration style, interactive with a cursor
Editing/ Consolidating Audio Clips
Combed through the audio and trimmed out the clips that correlate with the script. Shortened the audio from 12 minutes to 3 minutes of the best audio. Still need to shorten the script more.
Background Music Search
Searching for Background Music; I'm looking for something more upbeat and friendly to go along with the vector illustration feel with bright colors. Something with lots of beats/ somewhat dramatic so that each step can align with the music
Integrating Audio with Music (Chose Sliding Scale)
- Music is repetitive so try to integrate some other noises to it (mouse clicks, dings)
- Cut the audio from 3 minutes to 1 minute (take out the details about the layer organization/ more tutorial like things)
Removing background music from audio
- Using Adobe Audition, watching videos on Youtube, tried to edit out the background music
- First clip too loud, Langston helped me capture noise clips to reduce the sound
Choosing new music (Chose Summer Melt)
- As I started to animate, I realized that I wanted the beat of my music to be faster and for it to have more variety so I tried integrating new music and cutting down the script
First attempt with the new music: still have too much audio script, need to add more pauses to just hear the music, remove bg noises, increase levels during speech
Final audio track
Finalizing Script - with the audio, the script is now 1 minute and 3 seconds
Starting the Animation
Scene 1: Cityscape Illustration
For the first scene, I wanted to introduce the illustrator with a drawing of a vector illustration cityscape slowly being drawn on the screen. I started by drawing the cityscape in Illustrator. Then I separated all of the shapes into different layers. Layers for the background buildings, the curved buildings, the mountains, and each of the lights. I then exported these 80 layers into after effects and staggered when they would appear based on the music. This scene was only 5 seconds long so in hindsight I shouldn't have made so many different layers.
Drawing cityscape on Illustrator, Seperating shapes into 80 layers
Animating layers on Adobe After Effects, synced with the music beats and rings
Scene 2: Mouse Click & Name Shapes
Wanted to create a vector interactive style to the animation so included transitions animating cursor using motion sketch with clicking noises. Began with breaking apart the name and emphasizing "art and illustration"
Drew shapes to make up the name Tom Whalen in Illustrator, making each shape a different layer
Toggle the 60 layers as the shapes make up the name in Illustrator
Animate the layers in After Effects to form the name, then draw away, and rearrange to create a new composition. The word "art" then pops up composed of the same shapes synced with audio "artist."
Scene 3: Login Screen
Before introducing the different concepts he discusses, I wanted to have a quick intro login scene to Illustrator since this is the platform Whalen uses the most and often mentions techniques for. I used the colors from the adobe cloud logo palettes to draw these scenes.
Illustrations for login and computer drawn on Adobe Illustrator
Putting the screens on seperate layers to animate later
Clip of the animated scene in after effects with cursor
Scene 4: Illustrator Screen & Pencil Sketches
I redrew the Illustrator interface in a similfied, more animated, and colorful way to imitate a step one would do in illustrator to upload their pencil sketches. I drew windows for each of these sketches to imitate this concept.
Illustrations or the AI Interface drawn in Illustrator. Made different sized and color windows for the sketches.
Drew several different versions of the AI interface (each on 1 layer),
chose the colorful one in the end for its simplicity
Clip of Pencil Sketches scene in After Effects synced with audio
Scene 5: Illustrator Tools
I wanted to break out of the traditional Illustrator pallette, so created this clip with little icons of illustrator tools in different colors to incorporate into a new scene as Whalen discusses his primary tools.
I chose what I thought were the top 14 most important tools in Illustrator. Created different colored versions to later animate switching between them. The sphere city illustrations served as polka dots.
Layers in Illustrator- 60 layers where there is one for each tool of each color to easily switch between them
Animation clip of the tools changing colors and moving in a line
Clip of entire tools scene in AE with the city polka dots
Scene 6: Illustrator Windows & Live Video
I wanted to find a way to incorporate live video into the animation, so had it appear in the white box that expands. While that plays, to make it more interesting I abstractly animated all of the illustrator windows I drew.
Illustrator, creating layers to change tabs and windows in the graphic
After Effects animation of the AI window with the live video
Scene 7: Color Palettes & Work Examples & Door Illustration
Whalen often creates different colored versions of the same work. I wanted to zoom into 2 pieces of work, reveal their color palettes, then zoom out and compare it against other of his work that consists of multiple colored versions. He mentions "[he's] never done with work, until its out the door" which is why I illustrated a door for the work to go through.
Door illustration and frames drawn in Illustrator
Scene 8: Live Video & CMYK Window Illustration
Trying to incorporate more live video including a clip of his face this time, through the door enters a video clip. In order to make the clip more interesting, I drew a simplified CMYK panel with 4 toggles which will move while he is talking.
Scene 9: Biking & City Illustration
To incorporate some of my own illustration style and break out of the Illustrator theme, I drew and animated a cityscape where the small shapes float around, and a bike that will ride through the city.
Drew illustrations of a cityscape and a bike in Adobe Illustrator
Animating the cityscape by putting all the shapes on different layers in Adobe Illustrator
Animating the bike illustration so the wheels/pedals spin and the seat rises
Clip of the animated city in After Effects before adding the bike
Final clip of the cityscape and the bike in AE
Scene 10: Bouncing Balls & Bird Flying Animation
This scene discusses the details in Whalen's work which I hoped to emphasize by isolating all of the circle animals and then having them interact with each other like bubbles. I also drew frame by frame of a bird flapping coming out of the bubble.
Illustrator, Isolating the circular animal illustration and drawing 10 frames of an owl flying to animate
Bouncing circles animation in AE
Illustrator layers with the bubbles and bird
Flapping owl animation compositionin AE
Full clip in AE of the scene
Scene 10: Night City Illustration & Bird Flying
For the conclusion scene, I wanted something more cohesive and memorable so I drew a more colorful cityscape illustration with shapes that also move around slowly as the bird flies through the sky.
Each shape gets it's own layer in illustrator
Final clip of bird + background in After Effects
Overall Progress Videos
Videos of the complete animation exported for studio crits (specific details about scenes mentioned above)
Feedback from April 14 In Studio Crit.
For the later 40 seconds of the video, I decided to break out of illustrator frames completely and drew full-screen illustrators matching his style, and animated sections of Whalen's work to highlight. I also drew other illustrations of objects to animate and tried to incorporate live video into scenes to transition them with shape masks.