Grab Back Women’s March Poster
Project Type: Illustration for print
Skills: Illustration, Concept, paper cutting, Photoshop, the ability to harness rage into something palatable for mass consumption
Project Length: 4 weeks
Challenge: Come up with an idea that captures the strength and anger of the women’s movement.
Project Overview: In late Fall of 2016, my Intro to Design instructor tasked us with designing a poster for an upcoming event. She warned to be careful when designing a poster for an event that we felt passionately about, as this was our first poster assignment ever, and she didn’t want us to feel too married to our concepts if they were rejected. Donald Trump had just been elected, and everyone in my class was feeling pretty raw and anxious. The first Women’s March on Washington was coming up that January, and I decided to make a poster for that event. Although I was taking a risk by designing for an event that was close to my heart, I believed that my anger and frustration could be channeled into something positive through design.
The Finished Product: A poster that is playful, bold, and empowering. Women of this country will grab back their rights, their lives, and their bodies. Donald Trump can suck it.
Bonus Content: My school interviewed me about my poster here!
Process: So many things about Donald Trump disgust me, but his comments about grabbing women “by the pussy” really took the cake. I have been exposed to misogyny throughout my personal and professional life, and seeing a sexist, racist fool like Trump get elected was completely demoralizing. I felt that every man who had ever disrespected me was being validated. I tapped into that sadness and rage to brainstorm ideas, and the first idea that came to me was a MAGA-esque hat that read “Grab Back.” I wanted to use a call to action that made women feel empowered to fight back. I also wanted to include women of color in my image to show what the Women’s Rights movement really looks like.
I did several iterations of the poster before settling on paper cut-outs. I painted one version in gouache, made another in Adobe Illustrator, and sketched another in pencil. None of these iterations felt powerful in the way I wanted. Before entering my school program, I had a background in hand-cut paper art, and I decided to use that method for the final iteration. I cut out all of the shapes for each figure in the image and glued them together. I also cut out each letter I would need. I based the letters on a free font I found called The Bold Font (I tweaked it a bit). I then scanned each of my elements and uploaded them to Photoshop, where I was able to clean up any glue marks or dirt, and play with scale and repetition.
I was really happy with the result, and I ended up submitting this poster to a publication called Resist!, which was a limited edition magazine being printed for the day of the march by Desert Island Comics in New York City. The magazine was guest-edited by Françoise Mouly, who is the art director at The New Yorker. Several weeks after I submitted my image, I got an email from Françoise letting me know that she would like to use my image for the back cover of the magazine. It was shocking and extremely exciting! I worked with her to tweak the copy a bit, and it was a wonderful experience. The magazine ended up being distributed globally on the day of the march, and 58,000 copies were printed. My illustration was featured on Vogue.com, The Daily Beast, and across social media.
Resist Vol. 2 Back Cover
Project Type: Illustration for print
Skills: Illustration, Concept, paper cutting, Photoshop, drawing Donald Trump as a hot dog while operating on very little sleep
Project Length: 2 weeks
Challenge: Complete a back cover in a very short turnaround time while balancing school work.
Project Overview: After Resist! Vol. 1 was such a success, the editors decided to publish a second volume of the magazine to be released on July 4, 2017. They sent out a call to artists for submissions in April, but I was so inundated with school work that I just didn’t have time to submit something. A week before the final deadline, I received an email from Françoise letting me know that she hadn’t received my submission yet, and she would like sketches by the end of the week. I was shocked once again! I scrambled to come up with an idea, and I landed on the image of a group of women at a barbecue, roasting the wiener that is Donald Trump. I came up with this idea after brainstorming things that remind me of summer and freedom. I wanted to capture the vibe of a cookout, with popsicles, fireworks, a grill, and people coming together. For this image and the first Women’s March Poster, I was inspired by films about rebellious and fearless youths, like Over the Edge and The Warriors, and I wanted to convey a tone of confidence, power, and attitude.
Françoise was intrigued, and asked for more sketches. I rushed to build out a more detailed proof of concept, and submitted my final sketches at the 11th hour. When Françoise gave me the green light to go ahead with this concept, I had to drop everything to create the image out of paper. The turnaround was very fast, and it was simultaneously nerve-wracking and thrilling to be getting feedback on my image from Françoise. Thanks to her guidance, I was able to create this image in about 2 weeks. Once it was completed, she let me know that she’d be using it for the back cover again! I think I cried when I found out.
The Finished Product: Resist! Vol. 2 was released in book stores and comic shops throughout the United States on July 4, 2017. I got to attend a release party at a local comic book shop in Seattle, where my mom embarrassed me by loudly introducing me as an artist featured in the magazine.