Initial Ideas

After researching some articles, I re-read ‘About a Boy’ and began drawing some initial sketches out. At the moment, my main idea is playing ar20170418_164208ound with bold text to use within the article. Even though the article will be done digitally, I like the idea of writing/drawing out part’s of the text, whether that be with pen or print and then combine it with the whole article. I also like the idea of using photography with hand-lettered text over the top.

There’s a few conversations and parts of the text that stand out to me so these were the parts that I have initially started to draw. One part that I really want to include was a part when the writer explains ‘The Genderbread person’:

The Genderbread Person, shaped like a gingerbread man, has a cartoon heart denoting “sexual orientation”; a cartoon brain, for “gender identity”; a crotch area that represents “biological sex”; and a dotted line, surrounding the figure, that signifies “gender expression”—how you present yourself to the world, in behavior and dress.

I think that this could be displayed as some really powerful imagery. Instead of drawing it as a gingerbread man – exactly as described – I had ideas of how else I could show it:

  • as photography:
    • photograph naked person
    • cover biological cover parts – e.g. digitally with black marks
  • take images but then illustration parts over it
    • illustrate brain/heart/genitals/looks
    • point to meaning of each
  • illustrate parts of the body (brain/heart/genitals/looks
    • label what each mean

The idea of this is to explain that body parts are just biological sex and do not express your gender identity and to point out what does define gender identity as well as sexual orientation.

At first I began sketching what it could look like as a photography or illustrations which then led me onto expressing it as typography. I used illustrative typography for each word and then labelled what they mean. I like the typography idea and this would be easily transferrable onto the article however I still want to experiment with the photography idea because I think that this would be quite a radical thing to have on a spread of an article.

There is a part in the article where she explains the look of Skylar – the boy who the article is written about. It’s a very detailed description and could be interesting to photograph someone in the same description of clothing. When I was reading the article one of the first ideas that came to me was that I definitely wanted to use portrait photography within the work. Using a description of Skylar and photographing a man in the same clothing, could be an interesting portrait to have in the article as it would relate well to what is being spoken about. Thinking about my previous idea with illustrating ‘ The Genderbread person’ I could combine both ideas and have it as one image on a double-page spread. I could take a photo of a man in the description of Skylar and on top have illustrations of each part of the ‘Genderbread person’ and label what it means. Combining the two together could produce a powerful piece of imagery and stand out on the spread. If I did this, I think it would be quite a full page so I would use little body text so it wouldn’t distract it too much or make the page look overly full.


The article as a whole has a very positive tone and tells a story of a boy who’s been able to be himself as has had a lot of support around him from his family. However, there is one part of the article that show’s a potential dark side to his life and I think it could be something to highlight and have in bold lettering in:

Skylar said, “I do think about situations I could get into—like what if I tell the wrong person.”
“I’m sorry you have to worry about that,” Roger said.

It’s a reminder than unfortunately there are people that respond badly to transgender people and I think they are very powerful words that would go well if written largely across the page. I started with some initial sketches, thinking about how it could be written and in what style.

Next I want to try writing these phrases in paint and bigger across large paper. I will also scan them in and see what they look like alongside text from the article.


Author: ellenreiddesign

First year Graphic Communication student at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

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