Ninth Letter

Full page illustration for the fiction section of Ninth LetterHere you’ll find a series of illustrations and fictitious advertisements for the Winter 2014 issue of 9th Letter Magazine. Selected can be seen below, or you can browse the entire booklet above.

At the start of the semester all of the designers were split into two-person teams and tasked with creating a theme for the issue. My teammate Dan Harmon and I focused on imagery of rain, cityscapes, street signs, and bokeh lights. It’s an aesthetic I’ve wanted to work with a long time, so I enjoyed working on the project even though our theme was not chosen for the final publication.

Many of the pages are illustrations dead or half-dead animals. This is because most of the stories in this issue featured dying animals, and not because I am a sociopath, as the illustration of a dog’s melting skull may lead you to believe. To give you a better idea of the tone in this issue, the most light-hearted story featured shooting a mouse with a nail gun.

These images were drawn in pencil and lightly shaded in watercolor. The colors were then digitally enhanced by placing the original artwork on a multiply layer over nighttime photographs of cars. The wonderful photos were taken by my friend Emily Ogden.

The theme selected for this issue was based on the amusingly awkward magazine ads of the 1960s, which were sometimes racist and almost always sexist! Our job was to create advertisements based on the literary submissions. I decided to go for that sort of 50s/60s propaganda poster aesthetic that I like so much. I spent an embarassingly long time repainting that terrifying Rocky Chunks child from a spaghetti advertisement.

The nailgun ad was based on a story about several construction workers shooting at a mouse and the Rocky Chunks ad was based on a story about agate stones. Bostitch did not make the final issue but Rocky Chunks did, albeit with none of the copy. Which would’ve been fine if they had told me they were going to remove all of the copy. Better than nothing! Sort of!