The Baffler is a quarterly magazine with left-wing cultural analysis, short stories, and poems that prides itself on its unexpected opinions. The articles are accompanied by illustrations in a wide range of styles that intrigue readers and draw out key concepts from the article. This was a self-directed student project.
Project Category: Illustration, Layout Design
Timeframe: 12 weeks 
Collaborators: Solo Project
Roles: Illustrator, Layout Designer
Tools: Procreate, Adobe InDesign, Figma 
Explore new illustrative styles and learn Procreate while developing editorial illustrations for The Baffler.
by Scout Brobst,
August 17, 2022 edition of The Baffler
Article Summary: 
The article details the experiences of a community of former Jehovah's Witnesses who have found solace and support in an online forum. The article talks about the difficult process of leaving the religion and community as well as the limits of an online forum for providing support. 
What stood out to me was the description of the Jehovah’s Witness concept of heaven as a perfect golden cube, which can only be accessed after a bloody apocalyptic war. My design was inspired by the image of this perfect golden cube combined with the group's use of the term “The Borg” (a totalitarian hive-mind species from Star Trek that flies in a cube-shaped spaceship) to refer to Jehovah’s Witness elders.
Skills Learned: Isometric drawing and digitally painting metallic objects.
IIterating & Moodboard:
Iterating, mind-mapping, and forced connections exercises helped me break through my immediate associations and obvious solutions into something more creative.
by Barbara Ehrenreich, 
March 2018 edition of The Baffler. 
Article Summary:
In “Body Work”, the author shares her personal reflections on fitness culture as a woman in her 50s. She compares it to a job or a religion and delves into the adversarial relationship between the mind and body that fitness culture can create. She calls the gym an “almost utopian space,” but one with no spontaneity.  
Drawing on the references to religion, the phrase “Your Body is a Temple” came to mind. While this phrase usually is meant to encourage people to treat their bodies well, I thought about the incredible weight of carrying all that marble on your back as a metaphor for the weight of society's expectations for women's bodies.
Skills Learned: Developing Illustration Concepts
Iterating & Moodboard:
Nathan C Martin
June 2016 edition of The Baffler. 
Article Summary:
In “Where the Wild Things Aren't,” the author argues that despite their widespread popularity, National Parks are a flawed concept. Their creation was based on the forced removal of indigenous peoples from their land, and National Parks now face a range of challenges such as climate change, underfunding, overcrowding, and privatization. Rather than serving as a means to protect nature, the author argues that National Parks serve to preserve a small portion of it, while the remainder is left vulnerable to destruction
Through quick sketching, mind mapping, and forced connections exercises, I came to the imagery of pressed flowers and taxidermy. These methods of preservation are only possible by killing that which you found beautiful. The article focuses on the destruction of nature all around these perfect bubbles of preservation, and I found fire to be the most compelling visual to express that danger. 
Skills Learned: Blending modes, Clipping Masks, Procreate Brush Creation

Iterating & Moodboard:
Joanne McNeil
July 2019 edition of The Baffler. 
Article Summary:
In “Big Brother's Blind Spot”, the author argues that despite the breadth of surveillance we are subjected to in the modern world, those networks are more flawed than we might think. Specifically, the author examines how surveillance systems are biased and fail to include and accurately represent marginalized groups such as people of color, women, and the LGBTQ community. For instance, facial recognition software has failed to recognize people of color. The article argues that the flaws in the system are a benefit to marginalized and persecuted communities and that rather than striving for equal treatment under surveillance, these communities should seek refuge in the privacy afforded by the system's inherent imperfections.
This article posed an interesting challenge for me. The topic of surveillance has clearly defined imagery associated with it: security cameras, eyes, tv screens, overhead shots, etc. I wanted to honor The Baffler’s dedication to the unexpected and avoid these cliches, while also honoring the reader's need for an illustration to accurately hint at the article's topic. I used facial recognition patterns as the metaphor for surveillance, showing that when patterns distort, people are hidden.
Skills Learned: Liquify tool, blending modes
Iterating & Moodboard:
Final Insights:
I was excited to take on this challenge of trying out a new tool (Procreate), new illustrative styles, and a new field of design all in one project. I learned about the role editorial illustrations play in drawing in readers who are just skimming headlines, and therefore the importance of adding visual interest to a long article, and reflecting the emotional tone of the piece. Trying out new illustrative styles stretched my drawing skills. And through this project, I have grown to love using Procreate and have used it in many projects since. 
Thank you to my friend Rosie Daniels who picked out the articles for me to work with, to more closely mimic the real-world process of being assigned articles.

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