< 2021 Capstone Gallery

Letters From the Insect World

Letters from the Insect World is a collection of 18 essays or “letters.” These are first-person accounts written from an insect's point of view that share their various life cycles. By telling facts in a narrative format with related imagery, the aim is to capture the young reader’s interest and give the stories a light-hearted twist. We share our world with a lot of interesting creatures, this book delves into a handful and explores their lives. The novel is accompanied by a brand system, advertising, and proposal. The stories are written by Margaret J. Anderson and illustrated and designed by Gillian.

Final Book

Letters of the insect world front cover Blue book cover with insect wings
Letters from the Insect world back cover. Contains Insect logo, book summary, quote, about the author.

Selected Excerpts

You can read a few sections of it and get a feel for what it’s like! I’d be thrilled if you took the time to check it out and I hope you enjoy!

Page Spreads

The Curse Of A Name Spread. Earwig painting on left page, text on right
Chapter Transition demonstration. Line of tent caterpillers, firefly painting, and text
And The Winner Is Last Page. Heavy text page and painting of a fruitfly.

Branding

Animated gif of the branding. Wordmark of a simple insect showing the 2 parts of the body and typical 4 wings set over a blue then green, yellow and orange background. Demonstration of simple line work illustration, Typefaces Nimbus sans and Utopia std. 6 different insect wings silhouettes. looping.

For the overarching branding, I took inspiration from insects and their environments then broke those down into simpler styles and elements. I did this so they could comfortably co-exist with the high levels of illustration already present in the work. Overall I kept the branding elements relatively straightforward while being colorful to draw the eye and match the audience while allowing for the primary focus to be the book.

Advertising

Advertising poster. Hear from a Honeybee. Read letters of the insect world. 18 short-stories telling the life history of insects. painting of a honeybee and honeycomb.
advertising poster two. Meet a monarch. Read letters of the insect world. 18 short-stories telling the life history of insects. Painting of a monarch butterfly and chrysalis. Monarch graphics.

Collaboration

Author Interview

This project inspiration started with my Gran’s writings. When she shared some with me, I was immediately fascinated. Last summer I proposed designing and illustrating them as a complete book and everything progressed from there.

We also had to make a book prospectus, which is a description and general analysis of a written work. It’s used as a proposal to give potential publishers a better understanding of what the book is about plus its audience, length, other printing demands, and more. It covers the conceptual portion and market understanding during the initial stages of working with a book. Margaret and I worked on this portion cooperatively to make sure we were on the same page in terms of what the audience would be and what optimal outcomes for someone reading the book would be. This was a major step of development for planning Letters from the Insect World.

Development Process

The development had a lot of variation within style and presentation. Initially, I was planning on a more stylized illustration plus working on several concepts and exploration. After getting a very positive response on a painting of mayflies (pictured in the slides) I went for a realistic yet whimsical route for the insects and their environments.

What’s the future of this project? I’d love to connect with a publisher that likes the work and is connected to our audience. We’ll reach out to publishers and look for a good fit. Hopefully, we can get this book out to readers.

Video Summary

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Gillian Stephenson

As a graphic designer and artist, I work in several different mediums. I’m currently based in Corvallis Oregon but I hope to explore and potentially relocate.

I enjoy gaming and staying active (a slight dichotomy) recently I’ve been most into climbing and skiing. I also love plants and take a lot of inspiration from nature!

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