Client: University of Alberta
Services Provided: Digital Illustration & Story Boarding
While working in-house as a graphic designer for the University of Alberta, I was approached by the management of Ed Psych to illustrate a set of characters that would be branded across various print and digital platforms for elementary schools.
With a very particular audience in mind, the client provided me with a handful of stock illustrations that she was drawn to. I stylistically mimicked line, color, proportion, and aesthetic from the provided reference images and added a bit of my own flair to the characters using texture and creative attire.
Before I dove into sketches and doodles, the client and I sat down and thoroughly discussed the project — particularly reviewing each character's personality, attributes, name, and strengths. The client specified that each character visually showcase their purpose and superhero power; Tryhard was the average kid who wasn't the smartest, but when working his hardest he thrived with success; Smarty was the student who naturally got all A's; and Mistakes was the student who didn't always get everything right at first go, but learned from his errors in the end. Individually each character told a story and collectively they taught kids problem-solving and learning tactics in the classroom setting.
After I gained an understanding of the project, the client's vision, and each character's superhero power, I ran to my sketchbook and began doodling like crazy. After a few days of storyboarding, I sent off my pencil sketches to the client, where she approved each character's direction at first go — with the exemption of Mistakes (she requested that mistakes be standing on two legs, rather than all four).
Once the conceptual proofs were officially approved, each pencil sketch was imported into Illustrator and the rough basis of the character's form took shape on a separate layer. When I felt confident with each character's structural foundation, I then began applying stylistic line, apparel, texture, and color — bringing each character to life in their own, yet unifying way.
The illustrations were anticipated to be used as the face of the course's brand. The client planned to print the characters on print and digital course materials such as letterheads, instruction manuals, and course books.